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FAQ'S

  • in the lives of students,

    Finances should never be a barrier for a student called to attend United. On average, United students graduate with an educational debt of $50,000. This debt is often higher than the annual salary of pastors, becoming a burden for many years to come. Scholarships provided by United while students are in seminary can reduce or eliminate their debt while they are serving in ministry, freeing them financially to follow God’s call on their lives.

  • in the needs of society today,

    United’s vision is “Spirit-led leaders, Christ-like Church, transformed world.” We believe that investing in Christian leaders will help the Church reflect Christ’s love to the lost and least of these reaching out to the world. Most United students are already active in ministry when they come to seminary and begin applying what they are learning immediately in their ministry setting. One of the common themes is the empowerment of laity within the church to reach out to their community, transforming society around them.

  • in renewal of the Church,

    Many of United’s students are already pastoring churches and many feel God’s call to congregational ministry. As students apply the practical skills they are receiving at United to lead the Church, renewal begins to take place. A recent graduate put her United education to the test in her church setting, and within a year, her rural church in West Virginia went from 0 to 30 professions of faith. The reason United’s tagline is “Spirit-led, Renewing the Church” is we have seen it happen through countless graduate testimonies.

  • and in bringing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to those in need?

    United is preparing leaders to make disciples of Jesus Christ. Discipleship starts with the Gospel. It is continuing the ministry of Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit in the world today.
The Fresh Wind Campaign is focused on growing the endowment specifically for scholarships. All gifts will be invested for long-term growth and the income generated will be used toward student scholarships in perpetuity. Gifts to the Fresh Wind campaign will impact future leaders of the Church for generations to come.
United’s scholarship endowment currently provides for an annual draw of approximately $150K. An additional $10 million in endowed funds will provide an additional $500K annually in scholarships for students. This increased scholarship funding will enable students to graduate with less debt and allow United to recruit more students who are ready to say “Yes” to God.
In 2021, the Board of Trustees engaged outside consultants to interview eighty donors, faculty, staff, trustees, and alumni/ae to explore a $10 million endowment campaign for scholarships. Among the United community, there was a clear need and desire to support students by expanding the endowment.
The Campaign will be conducted over the next 24 months. First, lead donors will be approached for gifts. Then, the campaign will enter a public phase in 2023. At this time, the entire United community will be invited to pray and discern what God is calling them to invest in support of leaders for the Church. Gifts and pledges may be made over a five-year period and/or through estate commitments.
The United board and leadership spent a year of prayer, discernment and study, interviewing donors, faculty, staff and alumni/ae. Having paid off the mortgage in October 2021 and having witnessed God move through the creation of new programs and partnerships at United in recent years, the United community has a sense of excitement and anticipation for what God is doing. When the feasibility study was conducted in the winter of 2021-22, there was some concern that it was too soon after the Burn the Mortgage campaign to begin a new capital campaign, but the Fresh Wind campaign will begin in Fall 2022 with lead gifts and will not extend to the broader United community until 2023. While the economy and markets can fluctuate during a campaign, the five-year timeline for Fresh Wind campaign gifts and the opportunity to plan estate gifts helps to even out some of the uncertainty.
One of the ways that United measures its financial stability is by tracking its Composite Score. This score is certified by the US Department of Education (DOE) and is the metric that the DOE relies on to measure stability and sustainability of educational institutions. United’s certified score for fiscal year 2021 was 3.0 out of a 3.0 maximum. The estimated score for fiscal year 2022 is 2.0-2.5. United’s biggest financial weakness is a lack of reserves and a small endowment for scholarships. The Fresh Wind campaign will improve the endowment, and United’s leadership is developing a strategy to increase reserves.
A cabinet of faithful leaders from the seminary and its community is guiding the campaign. Serving as co-chairs of the campaign cabinet are Jim Tharp, chair of United’s Board of Trustees, and Jim Holsinger, United Trustee, with Vicki and Rick James from Fort Wayne, IN, serving as honorary co-chairs. President Kent Millard and Vice President for Development Callie Picardo lead the campaign alongside the cabinet. Transforming Christian Ministries has been engaged as campaign consultants.
Students must apply for United scholarships. These students are required to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The Student Aid Committee reviews all student applications. Students with the greatest financial need according to the Expected Family Contribution calculation from the FAFSA receive additional consideration for United scholarship awards.
On an annual basis, United performs an analysis of its master’s tuition rates as compared to peer institutions and other United Methodist schools. Through this analysis, we find that United generally falls in the center of the total cost to graduate spectrum. While United’s Doctor of Ministry program is generally priced higher than industry average, its mentor- and peer-based learning model provides a unique learning experience that students say is worth the value. With the support of United scholarships, tuition is reduced for students so they can graduate with lower levels of debt.
At United, our mission is to prepare faithful and fruitful Christian leaders to make disciples of Jesus Christ. We believe in the transformative power of the Holy Spirit that occurs as students grow in their faith and live into their God-given purpose. Our curriculum is rooted in the power of the Holy Spirit and the biblical tradition, exposing students to God’s transforming work in their lives. Faculty who are faithful Christians and scholars guide the way for the academic and spiritual growth of future leaders of the Church. We hope that through study at United students will become bold, Spirit-filled leaders who make disciples of Jesus Christ and in doing so make a difference in the world.
United recruits and admits individuals who are faithfully answering God’s call to Christian ministry. Recruiting occurs through personal referrals, denominational conferences and events, and marketing outreach, allowing the enrollment team to reach people representing a variety of Christian denominations and personal backgrounds. A thorough admissions process ensures that admitted students are academically prepared for the process of theological education. Through the recruitment and application process, the enrollment team assists prospective students in choosing a program that will enhance their ministry and spiritual journey.
The uncertainty about the future of The United Methodist Church (UMC) has had a negative effect on recruiting new Master of Divinity students over the past few years. Students who may feel called by God to full-time Christian service seem to be delaying seminary preparation until the conflicts in The United Methodist Church are resolved. It is anticipated that a denominational separation will occur at the 2024 General Conference, after which there will likely be a decline in the amount of the apportioned funds United receives each year from The UMC. Currently United receives about $800,000 annually from The UMC which is based on the large number of UMC students educated every year at United and the number of faculty members from a Methodist or Methodist related denomination.
Yes, we are committed to serving God, our students and the Church universal as an official seminary of The United Methodist Church. United currently has students from 40 denominations with a wide variety of denominational backgrounds and viewpoints. As new Wesleyan and Methodist denominations emerge, United will welcome students from these traditions as well.
United will continue to be an inclusive seminary welcoming any Christian students who are inspired by our mission and our core values of teaching the historic Christian faith, practicing spiritual disciplines which lead to holy living and working for the spiritual renewal of congregations.

United prohibits discrimination against any individual on the basis of race, color, religion, theological perspective, sex, age, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, or veteran status with reference to the seminary’s admission policies, academic standards and policies, and in the granting of scholarships, loans and other financial aid.
United received nearly $900K from The United Methodist Church (UMC) in fiscal year 2022, down from $1 million in fiscal years 2017-2021. United anticipates receiving $800K in fiscal year 2023. A decline in this funding will impact United’s ability to provide scholarships. Additional funding from Fresh Wind endowed funds will replace funds lost from the UMC and allow the seminary to expand its scholarship offerings.
Dr. Kent Millard has been president of United since 2016, and he plans to continue serving as long as the Board of Trustees feels he is an effective leader for United. When the Board of Trustees or Dr. Millard feels the time has come for new leadership, the Board will conduct a nationwide presidential search. It is the board’s hope that Dr. Millard will continue to be the visionary leader of United for many years.
God is using United to prepare faithful and fruitful Christian leaders to make disciples of Jesus Christ. United graduates are overwhelmingly serving in pastoral ministry, with 93% of alumni/ae currently employed in or retired from ministry1. As a result, United focuses on practical education to prepare students academically and spiritually for ministry in the local church. We believe investing in Spirit-led leaders will lead to a more Christ-like Church and, ultimately, a transformed world.
United is committed to regularly sharing what God is doing through the real-life testimonies of students and graduates. Each one communicates part of the greater impact. Donors who give $20,000 or more to set up a named endowed scholarship will get information on the specific student receiving their scholarship and see the direct impact of their donation every year.
[1] The 2021 alumni/ae survey was sent in April 2021 to alumni/ae who graduated with a degree or certificate from United in years ranging from the 1940s to 2020, for whom the seminary had email contact information (2,169 of 4,412 living alumni/ae). Data collected represents a 13% response rate of the 2,169 alumni/ae contacted.

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