Here’s the executive summary: Enrollment across the Association of Theological Schools is slightly down. The population of North America is way up. And this sounds like trouble.
But the story of overall seminary enrollment is much more nuanced. For example, African-American and Latino enrollment is up, while Asian enrollment is down.
Middle-aged students in their 40s: Enrollment is down. But students in their 50s: Enrollment is up.
Overall enrollment of men: Down. And women: Also down.
What is a person to make of the numbers? Barbara Wheeler and Tony Ruger lay out the whole story in the spring issue of In Trust. You can read their article here.
Wheeler and Ruger, along with colleague Sharon Miller, designed this study as a follow-up to a 2001 report titled Is There a Problem? Theological Students and Religious Leadership for the Future. They analyzed data provided by the Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools, which collects the information annually from member schools. Then, to gain a deeper understanding of the students identified by their institutions as highly promising, the research team conducted more than 250 interviews at 24 schools, asking interviewees about their pathways toward seminary. A follow-up article based on these interviews will appear in a later issue of In Trust.
Read the full story.
Photograph by flickruser Peter Nijenhuis