Project launched to address vocations and educational debt

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Friday 06, May 2011 | Category:   Vocation and Discernment

The first meeting of the working group of the National Religious Vocation Conference (NRVC) Educational Debt and Vocations Project took place at the provincial office of the Franciscan Friars, Holy Name Province, in New York City. (The NRVC is a copublisher of the VISION Vocation Guide and VISION website.)

The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation has awarded a $50,000 grant to the NRVC for the study. The goals of the project are:

• To assess the extent educational debt is hindering vocations to religious life; and

• To produce resources that will help address the problem of educational debt as it relates to vocations for various constituencies, including religious congregations, support organizations for vocations and religious communities, philanthropic organizations, and those considering life as a religious sister, brother, or priest.

A main impetus for the debt study was the finding in the 2009 NRVC/Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) Study on Recent Vocations to Religious Life in the United States that the average age of those entering religious life is 30 and that most entrants are college educated. In addition, feedback provided in the NRVC’s regular vocation trends surveys on indicates that debt has played a role in candidates’ readiness or eligibility for religious life. This project is timely also because the secular press is increasingly reporting on the growing issue of the overwhelming debt today’s college graduates face.

NRVC will contract with CARA to survey religious institutes regarding their policies, practices, and experience of working with candidates with student loan issues. After the survey results NRVC will develop resources for religious institutes, their treasurers and vocation directors, as well as for those who are discerning religious life.

Holy Cross Brother Paul Bednarczyk, C.S.C., NRVC executive director, is hopeful that the “study will better equip religious congregations to work with candidates who have student loans so that student loan debt isn’t an obstacle to religious vocations and the call to consecrated life.”

1 Site Comments

  1. Sr. Teresa Grace, C.R. 9 year ago

    Looking forward to this study. We are facing issues of candidates in debt with student loans. Thank you for your work in this area.

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