Study theology free of tuition fees in Friedensau
02. Jan. 2022
A decision by the leadership of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Germany makes it possible: starting in the Summer Semester of 2022, it will be possible to study Theology (B.A. in German Language) in Friedensau without paying tuition fees. The Northern and Southern German Association (NDV/SDV) of Seventh-day Adventists has reached an agreement with Friedensau Adventist University (FAU) to cover the costs of studying theology in the B.A. program in German. According to the official announcement, the members of the governing body confirmed the agreement at their meeting on December 5, 2021.
As a result of this decision, prospective students will be able to start studying theology in March 2022 without paying tuition fees, which are regularly charged to students at the FAU as a state-recognized but private university. This also applies to new students from the Inter-European Division (EUD), which includes Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain and Switzerland, as well as students already enrolled in higher semesters.
"It is our concern that all those who have a serious interest in working as a pastor for the Adventist Church should be able to complete their studies in the future without financial risk. That's why we want to take over the tuition fees in the future," says Johannes Naether, president of the North German Association of the Church. Students of theology will therefore only have to pay the registration fees as well as room and board in Friedensau from the summer semester of 2022. The previously applicable scholarship program, which supported students only from the second year of study and only within the limits of available funds; will be removed from the scholarship program.
This far-reaching decision was preceded by a decision made by the Adventist Part-Continental Church Leadership for Western and Southern Europe (Inter-European Division, EUD) at the end of 2020, which provides for a new master's degree program in theology and its fee waiver.
"After the Inter-European Division offers a full scholarship for the master's program in theology, which will be possible in Friedensau starting in the winter semester of 2022/2023, it was our concern to continue on this path consistently so that students who want to become pastors in our congregations are not prevented from doing so by financial issues," justifies Werner Dullinger, president of the Church of Seventh-day Adventists in Germany and the Southern German Association (SDV). The Church hopes that this will also attract those students who are still unsure at the beginning of their studies whether this is their calling.
At the same time, the courses of study in theology are also undergoing a renewal in terms of content and concept. Already in the winter semester of 2020, the bachelor's degree program at the FAU has been revised. With the B.A. degree in theology, students can now take up practical work as pastoral assistants in an Adventist church congregation. To this end, faculty members teach students important skills for entering practice during the first three years of study, so that they can be sent to work in congregations well prepared after a relatively short period of study. After two years of professional experience as a pastoral assistant, students have the opportunity to continue their studies. A master's degree is still required for fulltime employment as a pastor.
Since students can generally receive BAföG for their studies, the university and the church hope that more people will give the vocation to spiritual ministry a chance and take up studies. Career changers who cannot receive BAföG will continue to be able to receive funding for their studies through an association. With the new regulation, the so-called "late vocation program" will only provide support for living expenses, so all associations united in the federations will benefit from the new regulation.
Further information: www.thh-friedensau.de/studiengebuehrenbefreit/
Friedensau Adventist University is a state-recognized university sponsored by the Church of Seventh-day Adventists. Eight B.A. and M.A. degree courses can be taken here – some of them part-time – in the fields of Christian social work and theology, as well as a course in 'German as a foreign language'. Around 40 nations are represented among the students and teachers. Prospective students can register for taster days and get to know life in the lecture hall and on campus.