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Minister Educational Debt Assistance Grants

The Minister Educational Debt Assistance Program helps ministers repay educational debt. This relief makes it easier for ministers to accept a wide range of positions and wholly commit their best gifts to ministry.

Eligibility

To qualify, you must

  • be a PC(USA) minister enrolled in Pastor's Participation in the Benefits Plan;
  • have completed a CREDO conference or the Healthy Pastors, Healthy Congregations program*;
  • have an effective salary below $80,000 and a total household adjusted gross income** of less than twice the national median for pastors (currently $116,000) as reported on the most recent income tax return;
  • meet criteria established by the Board to ensure the need-based nature of the program;
  • meet a student loan debt coaching requirement;
  • repay your debt by a specified monthly amount based on your effective salary and the amount of debt (see Grant recipient educational debt repayment commitment); and
  • make application through and receive permission from your presbytery.

Presbyteries that approve applications are expected to have a policy on student/clergy indebtedness.

*If the minister also receives a Ministerial Excellence Fund grant through Healthy Pastors, Healthy Congregations, the combined grants may not exceed $25,000.

**Adjusted gross income — This is the total income you and your spouse report on federal tax Form 1040, line 37; Form 1040A, line 21; or Form 1040 EZ, line 4 that’s subject to income tax. It may include earnings from your and your spouse’s job, self-employment, alimony income, and interest from a bank account — minus specific deductions, or adjustments, you’re eligible to take.

Amount

Grants of $5,000 per year, for up to five years, are awarded. Total awards may not exceed $25,000 over five years.

The funds available and number of grants awarded each year is limited. Awards are at the discretion of the Board of Pensions. The Board considers your financial means, the nature and amount of your debt, and other factors, as appropriate.

Participant contribution and coaching

The Board’s contribution of $5,000 a year for five years or until your debt is eliminated, whichever comes first, is contingent upon your paying your loan servicer a specified amount monthly and your receiving student loan debt coaching from PeopleJoy, a financial wellness/educational debt reduction firm with which the Board has partnered. The amount you must commit to pay is based on your effective salary and the amount of your educational debt, as shown below:

Grant recipient educational debt repayment commitment
Effective salary Debt up to $28,000
You pay the lesser of:
Debt > $28,000
You pay:
< $40,0003% or MMP*MMP
$40,000-$49,9994% or MMPMMP
$50,000-$59,9995% or MMPMMP
$60,000-$69,9996% or MMPMMP
$70,000-$79,9997% or MMPMMP
> $80,000not eligiblenot eligible
*MMP = minimum monthly payment

Participant contributions will be verified.

How to apply

Complete the Minister Educational Debt Assistance Application. Approval from your mid council is needed before submitting the application and required documentation to the Board of Pensions for review and decision.

More information

For more information, call the Assistance team of the Board of Pension at 800-773-7752 (800-PRESPLAN).