Our Seminary Scholarship Fund
The NT-NL Fund for Leaders is a scholarship fund created by the NT-NL Synod to support seminarians from our synod who are studying for vocations in ministry. The NT-NL fund is housed within the larger ELCA Fund for Leaders and benefits from their professional management and careful investments.
The Challenge There is a great need in the church and the world for leaders who are thoroughly equipped for mission and ministry. And, it is the responsibility of the whole church to identify, train, and support those whom God calls to this important work. This preparation for leadership and service is the mission and responsibility of the eight seminaries of the ELCA throughout the United States. A continuing challenge in theological education is to provide qualified students with the financial resources needed to meet the costs associated with their education.
Seminary Enrollment Each year, ELCA clergy retirements are at least double in number to newly ordained clergy. Although there is an increasing number of students attending seminary, we need more people to serve in existing and new congregations. To prepare for rostered ministry, traditional students spend three years in academic preparation and one year on internship.
Seminary Tuition As the cost of running our seminaries climbs, so do the debt loads of new pastors. The average annual tuition at an ELCA seminary is now $16,000, and the typical student also incurs living expenses ranging from $20,000 to $30,000, depending on their family situation. That brings the cumulative cost of attending seminary (three academic years) to a range of $80,000 to $117,000. The average debt load for graduating Master of Divinity students is over $40,000.
Graduates with Debt Students make tremendous sacrifices to answer God’s call. Over eighty percent of ELCA seminary students take out loans to fund their education, and many anticipate a typical monthly loan payment of $300 to $600. Many pastors who feel called to serve smaller or struggling congregations simply cannot accept such calls because the salaries will not allow them to meet these loan commitments.
The Opportunity Today is a pivotal time to be involved in the church. The spiritual hunger in our world offers Lutherans a special opportunity to speak and act boldly in witness to God’s steadfast love and presence in these times of great change. Domestically and globally, the ELCA reaches out to millions of people who hunger for the life-giving message of salvation. Whether at home or abroad, in cities or rural communities, among the wealthy or the poor, the ELCA needs faithful leaders who can share the Gospel with seekers and lead communities of faith.
Leadership RISING The ELCA created the Fund for Leaders to provide financial assistance to seminarians and encourage excellence in ministry. In partnership with seminaries, synods, and congregations, the Fund’s mission is to insure full-tuition support for the projected 1,400 ELCA students annually enrolled in the ELCA seminaries. We are grateful for the generous gifts that have made it possible to provide scholarships to over 135 seminary students. Click here if you feel led to donate to the ELCA Fund for Leaders. (Please choose the designation for our synod: N. Texas – N. Louisiana Synod Fund for Leaders.)
This award is given to (a) seminary student(s) from the NT-NL Synod who is/are currently enrolled and who demonstrate(s) a great potential for faithful and gifted leadership in the church. Award recipients are selected by the Bishop and Synod Council based on the recommendation of the NT-NL’s Candidacy Committee. There is no formal application process.
NT-NL Fund Award Recipients
2016 Jose Francisco “Frank” Salvador (LSPS/Wartburg) and Edintzon “Edy” Santos (Wartburg)
2015 Miles Holder (PLTS) and Mark Hadley (PLTS)
2014 Kathryn Saunders (Trinity)
2013 Irma Bañales (PLTS, San Francisco) and Dan Nelson (Luther Seminary)
2012 Janice Heidlberger (LSTC – Chicago) and Rosalina Rivera (Wartburg Seminary)
2011 Michelle Greenwald (Wartburg Seminary) and Rebecca Mehl (Luther Seminary)
2010 Jesus Escamilla (LSPS, Austin) and Jealaine Marple (Wartburg Seminary)
ELCA Fund Award Recipients
Both Libby Buuck and Chris Michaelis (both from Calvary, Richland Hills) have received Fund for Leaders scholarships from the ELCA Fund.