As a group, incoming students are saddled with over $85,000,000 in educational debt BEFORE they enroll.

Since 2001, the percentage of incoming students that enter seminary with more than $25,000 in educational debt has increased by 143%.

The majority of incoming students will find seminary to be nothing like (or at least very different from) their undergraduate experience.

We have reached the third and final infographic! Like the first and second installments, today’s infographic is based on the 2011-2012 ATS ESQ. During the 2011-2012 academic year (the mostly recently fully completed academic year), 6,900 students at 161 ATS schools completed a survey for incoming students. Today we are looking at what they bring with them to seminary – debt, experiences, degrees – the results are interesting. Student debt is a huge issue and will require creative approaches to making theological education accessible, affordable, and relevant. Also important to note is the fact that incoming students, for the most part, haven’t experienced anything like seminary. This should be taken into account when developing programs, teaching courses, serving students, and much more.

What do you think? What stands out to you?

NOTE: The leadership reference is related to a subset of students (MDiv), not ALL incoming students. The important thing to note is that students are coming in with leadership experience and we could more fully integrate that experience than we already are – that could have profound impact on the entire system of theological education.