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Students at colleges and universities everywhere face significant challenges in affording the education in their chosen fields, and those at Aquinas Institute of Theology are no different. In fact, while graduates of engineering and medical schools can often look forward to well-paying careers, Aquinas’ alumni most often seek employment in ministerial fields where compensation can best be described as modest. Even though Aquinas graduates have been very successful at managing the costs of their educations – student loans are typically repaid without significant delays – debt loads and the challenges of financing advanced degree studies mirror those experienced by other students across the nation.

Recognizing the importance of managing educational financing, Aquinas Institute of Theology is stepping up efforts to understand its students’ needs when it comes to affording studies, and in offering the best possible help to keep costs from becoming burdensome. According to Aquinas’ president, Rev. David Caron, O.P., “We at Aquinas Institute of Theology are proud of our low level of default rate on loans: last year our students had no defaults. However, we are concerned because currently 12 percent of our graduates are reporting loans of over $30,000.00.” This information, viewed in the context of the employment landscape, with current average annual wage levels of $30,000 -$40,000 for full-time ministry positions, brings urgency to discussions of educational costs for Aquinas students and alumni.

In order better to serve the financial needs of their students, Aquinas successfully applied for a Default Prevention Grant from the Missouri Department of Higher Education. The funds from this grant award will allow the school to research the impact of loans on alumni and students, to understand their fiscal needs and the best options for financing their studies without placing undue burdens on their future fiscal situations. The grant will also enable the school to provide loan advising to students, increasing their financial literacy and to offer counseling regarding the array of options for repaying student debt in ways that are in the best interest of the students, including opportunities for loan relief through non-profit service.

For more information regarding Aquinas Institute of Theology’s academic programs, tuition and financial aid options, contact admissions@ai.edu, or call 800.977.3869.

Aquinas Institute of Theology, the only Catholic Institution in the world offering a Doctorate in preaching, is sponsored by the Order of Preachers, or Dominicans. Priesthood candidates at the school prepare for ordination alongside vowed religious and lay people pursuing careers in the Catholic Church or simply seeking a richer faith life.
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