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Increases should boost student loan debt forgiveness program

Restructure reflects commitment to becoming a Matthew 25 church

by Paul Seebeck | Presbyterian News Service

 

The Presbyterian Mission Agency board has increased the impact on the PMA’s Student Loan Debt Forgiveness program.

LOUISVILLE — At its recent spring meeting, the Presbyterian Mission Agency board unanimously voted to increase the impact of Presbyterian Mission Agency’s Student Loan Debt Forgiveness program.

Under the Financial Aid for Service (FAFS) plan, which came through the PMA’s Nurture the Body Committee, the maximum loan available to pastors will increase to $5,000 with a lifetime maximum of $25,000.  The term of service after which the debt is forgiven is reduced from 18 months to 12 months.

The PMA program pays down the student loan debt of pastors serving small churches and new worshiping communities in part-time, designated and temporary roles. Many of these roles are filled by people of color and women — especially second-career women. These pastors have been found to borrow more to attend school and are less likely to be called to full-time positions.

Employees with the PC(USA)’s Financial Aid for Service said the changes will bring the program offered by the Presbyterian Mission Agency into parity with a similar program offered by the Board of Pensions.

“This restructure aligns more fully the PC(USA) vision to become a Matthew 25 church,” says FAFS coordinator Laura Bryan. “It reflects our commitment to dismantling structural racism, eradicating poverty and supporting congregational vitality,”

The annual budget of for the Student Loan Debt Forgiveness program is $300,000, enough to serve 70 pastors per year. Currently the average number of applications received is 28 per year.

To find out more about the program, contact Laura Bryan or Melonee Tubb at finaid@pcusa.org, or  click here to download the application.


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