Debt-free education is within reach

By Jenny Williams

Educational debt is an issue for many students across the country, and seminary students are no exception.

At Bethany, recipients of the Pillars and Pathways Residency Scholarship can complete their seminary education without incurring additional educational or consumer debt.

“No student should be limited in following God’s call by financial debt incurred during his or her seminary education!” says Jeff Carter, president. “What started as an audacious goal to eliminate additional educational indebtedness for Bethany students has become the Pillars and Pathways Residency Scholarship program.”

The scholarship is built on a spirit of mutuality, with the student and the Seminary working together in to fund the educational experience. Students who are approved as Residency Scholars commit to:

  • Residing in the Bethany Neighborhood;
  • Actively engaging in community living and campus life;
  • Maintaining eligibility to receive the Academic Excellence Scholarship and covering the remainder of their tuition through Bethany financial aid;
  • Contributing a set financial amount per year, which can be earned with a certain number of work-study and/or outside employment;
  • Volunteering eight hours per month at a local nonprofit;
  • Living within their means.

The Residency Scholarship covers the gap between the expected cost of attendance for residential students and the combination of Bethany financial aid and the amount students earn per year. The results of this student-Seminary partnership can best be conveyed by the students who have benefited from the experience.

“Seminary (among other things) is about transformation, and the freedom to put aside all those financial concerns really allowed me unique focus. No concerns about rent, utilities, or any of the rest. No need to work many hours each week just to pay the expenses of living. What an expression of God’s generosity to me! What a clear demonstration of God’s abundant life.”

— Chuck Jackson

“As the future becomes more immediate and I look for jobs and begin planning the repayment of my loans, I understand how crucial programs like PPRS are. The unfortunate reality is that our higher education programs are driving students deep into debt, borrowing from a future that seems less certain today than it was for our parents and grandparents … During my time as a Residency Scholar, however, I was able to work enough to pay any bills not covered by the program without incurring additional debt.”

— Karen Duhai

“Living in the Bethany Neighborhood has taught me so much about being in a community with others and what my individual role is … We are all different, and that is okay!”

— Thomas McMillan

“For me, a student from Germany, the Pillars and Pathways Residency Scholarship program provided the great joy of living in close community not only with Americans but also with other students from around the world … I had never wanted my time at Bethany to be “just” a time of theological study. Instead, I wanted to understand these studies in the context of the culture in which they happened. I wanted to be immersed—not only into American theological traditions but into life in a nation that is a conglomerate of many cultures and faith traditions. PPRS made that possible … I’ve grown at Bethany not only as a theologian but as a person and in faith — and that I owe, in large part, to PPRS.”

— Martin Jockel

Information about the Pillars and Pathways Residency Scholarship can be found on Bethany Seminary’s website or by contacting or (765) 983-1828.

Jenny Williams is director of communications for Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind., which is the graduate school for the Church of the Brethren, one of the three Historic Peace Churches.


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