Minister Educational Debt Assistance

​The Assistance Program of the Board of Pensions helps ministers repay educational debt through Minister Educational Debt Assistance. The grant amount is $5,000 per year, for up to five years. Total awards may not exceed $25,000 over five years.

Detailed below is eligibility and grant amount information for 2021. The Board of Pensions has announced extensive changes to the Assistance Program that support wholeness and broaden eligibility. Read more about these changes, which take effect January 1, 2022. 

Minister Educational Debt Assistance makes it easier for ministers to accept a wide range of positions and wholly commit their best gifts to ministry.​

Who's eligible

To qualify, you must

  • be a Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) minister enrolled in Pastor's Participation or Minister's Choice;
  • have completed a CREDO conference or the Healthy Pastors, Healthy Congregations program*;
  • have an effective salary below $80,000 and a total household adjusted gross income** of less than twice the national median for pastors ($122,400 in 2021) as reported on the most recent income tax return;
  • 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 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).

*If the minister also receives a grant through Healthy Pastors, Healthy Congregations, the combined grants may not exceed $25,000. Participation in the two debt-relief programs may not be concurrent within the same calendar year.

**Adjusted gross income is the total income you and your spouse report on federal tax form 1040 that's subject to income tax. It may include earnings from your and your spouse's job, self-employment, alimony income, and interest from a bank account — minus specific deductions, such as housing allowance, or adjustments, you're eligible to take.

Temporary amendment to grant eligibility due to COVID-19

Until in-person CREDO conferences resume, 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.


$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.

Participant contribution and coaching

The Board's contribution of $5,000 a year for five years or until your debt is eliminated, whichever comes first, is contingent upon you paying your loan servicer a specified amount monthly  and you receiving student loan debt coaching from PeopleJoy, a financial wellness/educational debt reduction firm with which the Board has partnered.

The amount you must commit to pay is based on your effective salary and the amount of your educational debt, as shown below: 

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 ​ ​

Participant contributions will be verified.

How to apply

Need help?

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