Author Topic: ELCA Seminaries Enrollment  (Read 5088 times)

Dave Likeness

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ELCA Seminaries Enrollment
« on: December 15, 2017, 12:08:10 PM »
In the Lutheran Forum (Winter 2017 Edition) there is a interesting chart on the enrollment at
the 8 ELCA Seminaries for the 2016-2017 Academic year.

There was a total enrollment of 663 ELCA students studying for their Master of Divinity degree.
This compares to 1274  ELCA students studying for the M.Div degree ten years ago. This amounts
to a decrease of 611 seminarians in one decade.

The 2016-2017 leader was Lutheran Seminary, St. Paul with 238 ELCA students.  In second place
was the Lutheran School of Theology, Chicago with 91 ELCA students and Wartburg Seminary of
Dubuque, Iowa was third with 88 ELCA students.

DCharlton

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Re: ELCA Seminaries Enrollment
« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2017, 12:11:27 PM »
In the Lutheran Forum (Winter 2017 Edition) there is a interesting chart on the enrollment at
the 8 ELCA Seminaries for the 2016-2017 Academic year.

There was a total enrollment of 663 ELCA students studying for their Master of Divinity degree.
This compares to 1274  ELCA students studying for the M.Div degree ten years ago. This amounts
to a decrease of 611 seminarians in one decade.

The 2016-2017 leader was Lutheran Seminary, St. Paul with 238 ELCA students.  In second place
was the Lutheran School of Theology, Chicago with 91 ELCA students and Wartburg Seminary of
Dubuque, Iowa was third with 88 ELCA students.

Any numbers from 1988?  If I recall correctly, Luther-Northwester had three time the number it has today, while several seminaries had 200 students.
David Charlton  

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Dave Likeness

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Re: ELCA Seminaries Enrollment
« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2017, 12:18:24 PM »
The Chart in the Lutheran Forum (Winter 2017 edition) only goes back to 2004-2005 academic year.

Charles Austin

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Re: ELCA Seminaries Enrollment
« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2017, 02:26:39 PM »
The numbers show a 50 percent decline in the last 10 or 11 years. The percentage is higher than that if you go back more than 10 years.
Retired ELCA pastor. Iowa born. Heading home from Sioux City after three days and a reunion of the East High School class of - can you believe it! - 1959.

Keith Falk

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Re: ELCA Seminaries Enrollment
« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2017, 02:34:47 PM »
I graduated in the spring of 2006, so I'm in the first couple of years of included numbers.  It's rather jarring, particularly the incoming class numbers (Trinity sticks out to me, since that is where I graduated).
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Steven Tibbetts

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Re: ELCA Seminaries Enrollment
« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2017, 03:13:29 PM »

Any numbers from 1988?  If I recall correctly, Luther-Northwester had three time the number it has today, while several seminaries had 200 students.

Total enrollment figures (so this is all degree programs, not only MDiv) from The Association of Theological Schools Fact Book on Theological Education for the academic years 1988-89 and 1989-90:

                                      FTE          Headcount
   School                      '89     '88       '89   '88

   Luther Northwestern  603   599       755  731
   LSTC                        326   288       401  385
   Southern                  144   116       169  160
   Gettysburg               213   205       237  269
   Philadelphia              172   174       250  273
   PLTS                         126   112      123  124   [Yes, that's what the report says.]
   Trinity                       203   226      249  302
   Wartburg                  202   191       223  211

An ELCA News Service release from February 1996 reports:
Quote
              Enrollment figures are stabilizing for the eight seminaries of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.  The 1,548 students enrolled in master of divinity (M.Div.) programs is equal to the average enrollment each year since the church was formed in 1987.

        Statistics gathered by the ELCA Division for Ministry report 1,548 students currently working toward an M.Div. degree -- the minimum degree required of ELCA clergy.  That's a 4.33 percent drop in total enrollment from 1,618 in 1994-95.  ELCA seminaries have averaged a total 1,548 students each year enrolled in M.Div. programs during the past nine academic years.


Another ELCA News release from April 2002 says,
Quote
     The eight seminaries of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) report 1,211 students seeking a master of divinity (M.Div.) degree during the 2001-2002 academic year.  After several years of declining enrollment, the number of students preparing to become ELCA pastors has leveled off in the past three years, according to a report to the ELCA Division for Ministry board....     

     In 1994-1995, ELCA seminaries reported 1,465 students in their M.Div. programs.  That number declined through the remainder of the decade -- 1,405 in 1995-1996, 1,357 in 1996-1997, 1,323 in 1997-1998, and 1,284 in 1998-1999, said the report.  Enrollment began leveling off at 1,209 in 1999-2000 and 1,214 in 2000-2001....

     While 1,211 students are enrolled in M.Div. programs of ELCA seminaries, they account for 1,031 full-time equivalent students. "Part-time students now make up a significant minority of our M.Div. population," said Wilhelm....

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DCharlton

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Re: ELCA Seminaries Enrollment
« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2017, 03:47:59 PM »
I graduated in the spring of 2006, so I'm in the first couple of years of included numbers.  It's rather jarring, particularly the incoming class numbers (Trinity sticks out to me, since that is where I graduated).

If you look at Steven's numbers, you see that in 1988, TLS had the third largest enrollment.  Last time I checked, only PLTS has a smaller enrollment.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2017, 03:50:41 PM by DCharlton »
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Mark Brown

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Re: ELCA Seminaries Enrollment
« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2017, 03:48:53 PM »
Do you know what the difference is between FTE and Headcount?

FTE = full time enrollment.
Headcount = full and part-time enrollment

DCharlton

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Re: ELCA Seminaries Enrollment
« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2017, 03:50:13 PM »
Do you know what the difference is between FTE and Headcount?

FTE = full time enrollment.
Headcount = full and part-time enrollment

Thanks.
David Charlton  

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Dave Likeness

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Re: ELCA Seminaries Enrollment
« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2017, 03:50:23 PM »
For the Academic Year of 2016-17, Gettysburg Seminary had 65 ELCA students studying for a M.Div
and Philly Seminary had 67.  For the academic year of 2017-18 they  have combined to form United
Seminary. For the previous year their combined enrollment would have been 132 ELCA students seeking
an M.Div degree.  This would have made them the second largest behind Luther Seminary, St. Paul.
Unity Seminary will eventually have one campus at Gettysburg.

RPG

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Re: ELCA Seminaries Enrollment
« Reply #10 on: December 15, 2017, 03:57:04 PM »
Do you know what the difference is between FTE and Headcount?

FTE = full time enrollment.
Headcount = full and part-time enrollment

As I understand it, FTE is "Full-Time Equivalent."  So a student enrolled with a half-time course load is .5 FTE, a three-quarter time load is .75 FTE, etc. 
In the case with which I'm most familiar (Luther Sem.), the FTE figure includes a large number of students enrolled in Distributive Learning programs (online with on-campus intensive courses) and online. The Luther campus is a pretty quiet place these days, from what I've heard from more than a few people.

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Mark Brown

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Re: ELCA Seminaries Enrollment
« Reply #11 on: December 15, 2017, 03:59:01 PM »
I used to wonder a while ago if seminary enrollment was a leading or lagging indicator of actual church size.  What I mean by that is did enrollment stay higher than the actual size of a church because of carryover demographic effects, like the temp of a turkey keeps rising when you take it out of the over, or did the seminary enrollment shrink before the church as a whole shrank.  Did the field of potential seminarians look at the churches and a good number of them say "let me go bury my Father first"?

I came to the conclusion a while ago it was a leading indicator.  I don't think the causal arrow flows less seminarians so the church must shrink, but the church has shrunk (even if it is experience demographic hangover that keeps the numbers up) which causes less seminarians.

Barring God granting repentance and renewal (i.e. a miracle), we can't maintain the infrastructure of peak church.  The water is now up to the "treasured institutions" level.

DCharlton

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Re: ELCA Seminaries Enrollment
« Reply #12 on: December 15, 2017, 04:27:00 PM »
Accord to the ATS https://www.ats.edu/member-schools/trinity-lutheran-seminary, Trinity Lutheran Seminary's 2017 enrollment is the following

Enrollment: 67 (48.6 FTE)

That compare with the 1998 numbers of  and enrollment of 302, with FTE enrollment of 226.

TLS's enrollment is 22% of what is was in 1988.  Its FTE enrollment is also 22% of what I was in 1988.  A decline of 78%.
David Charlton  

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Dave Likeness

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Re: ELCA Seminaries Enrollment
« Reply #13 on: December 15, 2017, 04:38:19 PM »
There is no doubt that currently, Trinity Seminary in Columbus, Ohio is on the ELCA endangered seminary list.
The golden years when Professor Paul Harms taught homiletics there have passed.

DCharlton

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Re: ELCA Seminaries Enrollment
« Reply #14 on: December 15, 2017, 04:46:03 PM »
If the numbers give on this thread are correct, we can make this comparison:

1995-96 = 1548 (M.Div)

2006-2007 = 1274 (M.Div)

2016-2017 = 663 (M.Div)

Decline over 11 years between 95-96 and 06-07 = 18%

Decline over 10 years between 06-07 and 16-17 = 52%

The rate of decline has nearly triple in the last 10 years. 
David Charlton  

Was Algul Siento a divinity school?