Princeton Theological Seminary

Endowment Records: PC(USA) Has Money, SBC Has Students

on November 14, 2019

Records of America’s mainline Protestant denominations show that the Presbyterian Church (USA) wins the endowment award, just short of $2B total across nine seminaries. Remove Princeton Theological Seminary‘s endowment ($1.038B, more than four times higher than its closest competitor, UMC’s Candler School of Theology, with $225M), and the number shrinks to just over $900M. The Southern Baptist Convention, though, easily posts the highest number of students across its seminaries. Its seminaries hold three of the top five spots on the list of schools with the most students enrolled full-time. For more information, see the charts below.

  1. Comment by Lee D. Cary on November 14, 2019 at 10:42 am

    Thanks, Josiah.

    So, the liberal progressive seminaries will continue to crank out graduates for whom the clergy job market, in those venues, are declining? Why? Because they can.

  2. Comment by JR on November 14, 2019 at 11:32 am

    What are the annual tuition costs at the various seminaries? My understanding is that the SBC ones cost about 1/3 of the UMC ones.

    That cost differential is significant when it comes to making decisions, as it’s not like becoming a pastor is an extremely lucrative profession.

  3. Comment by Lee D. Cary on November 14, 2019 at 1:36 pm

    Good point, J.R.

    Once upon a time, say, in the 70’s-80’s, UM seminary students either graduated with no, or very little, indebtedness. And for most, there were opportunities for appointments in, at least, the minimum salary small churches. But many of those have transitioned to local pastor, part-time appointments, multiple church circuits.

    I’d like to know the average indebtedness of graduates from UM seminaries. Anyone know?

  4. Comment by Stuart Sherman on November 14, 2019 at 6:46 pm

    In the Louisiana Annual Conference, our UM Foundation will cover seminary costs in exchange for a five year commitment to serve in the AC. If the five years are not fully served, the difference will be prorated and payable by the clergy person

  5. Comment by Steve on November 15, 2019 at 12:13 pm

    Re: tuition costs at the various seminaries: see:
    The link for that came from:
    As I mentioned in the comments to that article, I suspect the first consideration of the average average student is going to be what denomination they want to work in; if one gets into the right seminary, one will find the money.
    If you don’t think being a pastor can be lucrative, you haven’t checked out Episcopalian salaries; I assume an entrepreneurial megachurch pastor can make much more.

  6. Comment by Tom on November 14, 2019 at 2:32 pm

    So why would anyone attend a PCUSA seminary? If only from a crass marketing perspective, jobs prospects have to be dismal in a denomination shrinking as rapidly as the PCUSA.

  7. Comment by senecagriggs on November 14, 2019 at 3:35 pm

    I’m under the impression that a female pastor will cost less.

  8. Comment by Lee D. Cary on November 14, 2019 at 6:31 pm

    Maybe they want to become a military chaplain.

  9. Comment by William H. Jennings on November 15, 2019 at 7:05 pm

    I used to have a rather anemic guilty conscience because years ago I discontinued giving part of my tithe to my Alma Mater, Princeton Seminary, but today, even that is gone – no regrets! My tithe goes to much worthier causes. PTS grad from the good old days (1960-1965

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