Theological Seminary Offers Free Tuition, Less Enrollment

by Devin Katayama on November 3, 2011

The Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary is shrinking enrollment in order to give all students full-ride scholarships beginning in 2015.

The change will encourage the school to focus on quality over quantity, and build a diverse student body, said professor Susan Garrett who helped prepare the plan.

“We are very interested in training men and women who will be able to go out and minister in different kinds of contexts and so we want out student population to reflect that diversity and so we’re going to be hoping to craft our classes so that they do reflect the kind of diversity in which our students will serve,” said Garrett.

Some seminaries have begun to address religious diversity, she said. Louisville Presbyterian has made efforts to teach students how to work across religious lines.

The seminary has considered the idea of tuition-free education for a few years, said Garrett. The idea is similar to Kentucky’s Berea College, which offers low-income students free tuition. But Garrett said all students will be eligible for the Covenant Scholarship. The college just wants the best minds, she said.

“That doesn’t mean strictly high GPA it means rather people who have a number of qualities and traits that we think would lead them to be extremely affective, energetic, self-starting kinds of ministers, which is what the church needs,” she said.

The scholarships will be available to all students regardless of income, and will be open to both part-time and full-time students. Enrollment will be capped at 130 students.

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