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Confusion Over Student Loan Repayments for Clergy

9 February 2012

urlA new ruling came out from the Department of Education that affects many young Bible college and seminary graduates.

The College Cost Reduction and Access Act in 2007 stated that law enforcement, public schools, public interest law and emergency management, among others, would qualify for loan forgiveness.

The Act stated that if students took public service jobs at nonprofits and made on-time loan payments for 10 years, their remaining debt would be wiped out.

The law also stated that faculty at nonprofit universities and employees of 501(c)(3) organizations, which includes most churches, would qualify.

Financial aid officers at some religious schools told students of this program and a number of ministry students made education and financial plans accordingly.

Last week the Dept. of Education ruled that any employees of 501(c)(3) organizations who work in “religious instruction, worship services, or any form of proselytizing” do not qualify for the program.

You can read more about the article http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/08/student-loan-forgiveness-clergy_n_1261334.html.

I don’t know how I feel about the student loans of clergy being forgiven (I can see points on both sides), but it does seem a bit unfair to state in 2007 that employees of 501(c)(3) would qualify for the program and then five years later in 2012 to exclude them.   Thoughts?  Those who are in Bible college or seminary or newly graduated need to be made aware of this change!

Ministry

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