Clergy Debt Reduction

Western North Carolina Conference clergy can consolidate their debt with a fixed interest rate of 1.5%. A user-friendly application can be completed in minutes!

What To Know

It’s more than student loans

You can get help with two types of debt: Student loans of the clergy and unsecured debt of the clergy (and spouse, if married).

The student loan maximum is $100,000 and the consumer debt loan maximum is $80,000.

Confidentiality is paramount

We do not reveal participant names or other sensitive personal information to anyone other than those required to process the loan application and loan documents. Information will be restricted, locked, and spoken of only during privileged communication.

Your interest rate is hard to beat

The interest rate is set at 1.5% simple interest for all loans. By comparison, federal student loan interest rates range from 3.73% to 6.28% depending on your degree. And private student loan rates vary widely based on the lender.

You can include income tax debt from prior years

Income taxes for clergy can be overwhelming, particularly if you get behind. This is primarily because of the parsonage/housing allowance and self-employment tax nature of clergy compensation. Depending on the church payroll and clergy elections, pastors don’t always pay income taxes through payroll withholding. It’s easy to get behind with quarterly payments, creating a large balance due each April.

Pay off your debt faster

Clergy can refinance at a lower interest rate and simple interest to pay off the debt faster, and/or restructure consumer debt, tax debt, bank loans, etc. to a lower interest loan on the journey toward financial freedom. The average participant saves $350 per month.

How It Started

Many clergy have taken on overwhelming debt in preparation to serve and lead the Church. Debt can negatively impact clergy’s ability to provide their very best ministry and adversely affect personal health. The Clergy Debt Reduction Loan Program was created in 2016 in partnership with the Western North Carolina Conference Board of Pension and Health Benefits and The Duke Endowment.

Lynne Gilbert, who was President of the WNC Conference Board of Pension and Health Benefits when this program was initiated, reflected on its beginning: “We were blessed with members of the Board who brought great passion and expertise to the idea of our making such a clergy debt reduction program possible. We sponsored and funded the program because we viewed it as a significant investment in the overall health and welfare of our clergy, and we are grateful to the Foundation for the exceptional and professional way that they have partnered with us to make it a reality.”

Application Process

Applications are accepted year-round, and there is a broadly publicized annual push to apply each summer in August. The Foundation will respond within a few weeks of receiving your completed loan application notifying you if your application was approved and under what terms.

Please click here for the loan application

Learn more about Terms & Conditions

See a list of Frequently Asked Questions