Here’s something we often hear from our students: “My friends and I would not be able to attend Perkins if it were not for donors – most of whom I will never meet – who provided scholarships.”

Similar sentiments come from prospective students. As Margot Perez-Greene, Associate Dean for Enrollment Management, notes, “Financial aid is the greatest determining factor as to whether a student can or cannot come and enroll as a student at Perkins.”

Ministry Discernment Associate John Lowery echoes that.

“I don’t believe it’s an exaggeration to say that for 95% of the students with whom I interact, financial aid is the subject of the first question that is asked,” he said. “Indeed, I have never had a conversation with a prospective student in which the topic was not discussed.”

Lowery adds, “I have been repeatedly told that the decision about whether or not the student will enroll at Perkins is based on how much financial aid we offer. Just last week a high-achieving student was waiting to hear back from us about financial aid, and he told me that the decision between another seminary and Perkins hinged on our financial aid offer.”

Similarly, Director of Recruitment and Admissions Stephen Bagby said, “The desire to attend seminary is there for so many people, but money is the big challenge. However, since I came on last summer I have been impressed by the support from the school and the United Methodist Church in helping these students attend seminary.”

It is hardly surprising that financial aid is the key. Many prospective students explain that, after accruing a fair amount of debt in undergraduate studies, the prospect of significantly adding to that debt load in order to go into ministry (not a lucrative career!) feels extremely daunting. One student at a nearby college currently has a 3.91 GPA but is still reluctant to apply to Perkins because of the stress and difficulties he has endured due to accumulated undergraduate debt. Insufficient financial aid is keeping some extremely qualified people out of ministry.

As the end of the fiscal year approaches, Perkins still has financial needs. Many of you are aware that Perkins is emphasizing current-use giving through an initiative called Pony Power. As I write this, Perkins is still $184,000, or 7 percent, short of our $2.5 million goal. We need your help.

Every dollar helps! We need your support to fund the SMU Fund for Perkins, which is the dean’s discretionary fund, and the Student Financial Aid fund. Please take a minute and click here to ensure that qualified students can come to Perkins and complete their studies. A gift of any amount is important and appreciated.

John A. Martin
Director of Development
Perkins School of Theology