Minister Educational Debt Assistance

Ministers may receive help to repay student loan debt through Minister Educational Debt Assistance. The grant amount is up to $25,000 over five years.

Relieving the burden of student loans

Student loan debt can make it challenging for ministers to accept a wider range of positions and wholly commit their best gifts to ministry. Minister Educational Debt Assistance helps eligible ministers repay educational debt through debt coaching and grants totaling up to $25,000. This coaching is offered through PeopleJoy at no cost to the participant.

Amount

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

The funds available and number of grants awarded each year are 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.

Note: Assistance grants received from Healthy Pastors, Healthy Congregations; Seminary Debt Assistance (Minister Educational Debt Assistance's predecessor); or Minister Debt Relief will reduce the maximum award amounts of this program.

Eligibility

To qualify, you must

  • be a PC(USA) minister enrolled in Pastor’s Participation or Minister’s Choice;
  • have completed a CREDO conference or online education learning paths (Terms of Call Series and Personal Financial Planning Series);
  • have an effective salary below $80,000, excluding manse value;
  • not currently be enrolled in school; 
  • meet criteria established by the Board to ensure the need-based nature of the program;
  • meet a student loan debt coaching requirement; and
  • repay your debt by a specified monthly amount based on your effective salary and the amount of debt.

To remain enrolled in the program, you must

  • repay your documented, interest-bearing educational debt by a specified monthly amount based on your effective salary and the amount of debt (see Assistance recipient educational debt repayment commitment chart); and
  • continue to meet the qualifications outlined above.

Guidance on online education modules

Minister Educational Debt Assistance applicants may complete the Terms of Call and Personal Financial Planning e-learning series through Board University in lieu of completing a CREDO conference. Learn more about these e-learning offerings and how to access them in the Board University e-learning content library through our benefits portal, Benefits Connect.

Once you have completed these series, you can download a certificate of completion to attach to your Minister Educational Debt Assistance Application. In the Board University e-learning content library, select Achievements from the top menu bar. A list will appear of all the courses and learning paths you have completed to date. Click Download certificate, in green text to the right of the learning path tile, to download a PDF of the certificate of completion. We recommend renaming this file with your name before attaching it to your Minister Educational Debt Assistance application.

How it works

Participant contribution and coaching

The Board will contribute $5,000 a year for five years or until your debt is eliminated, whichever comes first, if you pay your loan servicer a specified amount monthly. Additionally, you must receive student loan debt coaching from PeopleJoy, an educational debt reduction firm who partners with the Board.

Once accepted into the program, you will be connected with PeopleJoy.

The amount you must commit to pay is based on your effective salary (excluding manse value) and the amount of your educational debt, as shown below. Participant contributions will be verified.

Assistance recipient educational debt repayment commitment ​ ​
​Effective salary​Debt $28,000
You pay the lesser of:
​Debt > $28,000
You pay:
​< $40,000​3% or MMP*​MMP
​$40,000-$49,999​4% or MMP​MMP
​$50,000-$59,999​5% or MMP​MMP
$60,000-$69,999​​6% or MMP​MMP
​$70,000-$79,999​7% or MMP​MMP
​> $80,000​not eligible​not eligible
​*MMP = minimum monthly payment ​ ​

How to apply

Need help?

​Call the Board at 800-773-7752 (800-PRESPLAN).