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.

About Minister Educational Debt Assistance

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

Important Limited PSLF Waiver Opportunity

The U.S. Department of Education has announced a temporary period during which federal student loan borrowers may receive credit for payments that previously did not qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) or Temporary Exanded PSLF (TEPSLF).  

To help ministers determine if they qualify for this waiver opportunity and to apply, the Board of Pensions is offering EdAssist through PeopleJoy at no cost to ministers enrolled in the Benefits Plan. Learn more about this resource to help reduce educational debt and how to get started.  

Amount

$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.

Note: Assistance grants received from Healthy Pastors, Healthy Congregations; Seminary Debt Assistance (Minister Educational Debt Assistance's predecessor); or the newly established Minister Debt Relief program will reduce the maximum award amounts of this program.

Eligibility

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, the Healthy Pastors, Healthy Congregations program, or the Terms of Call and Personal Financial Planning Series online education modules;
  • have an effective salary below $80,000;
  • have a total household adjusted gross income* of less than twice the median effective salary for ministers ($124,200 in 2022) as reported on the most recent income tax return;
  • not currently be enrolled in school; and
  • meet criteria established by the Board to ensure the need-based nature of the program.

Participants will then be connected with PeopleJoy for a student loan debt coaching requirement, at no cost to the participant.

To remain enrolled in the program, participants must

  • repay their documented, interest-bearing educational debt by a specified monthly amount based on their effective salary and the amount of debt (see Assistance recipient educational debt repayment commitment chart); and
  • continue to meet the qualifications outlined above.

*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.

Further guidance on online education modules

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.

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).