by Southeastern District on January 19, 2023

Broom Tree Fellows
2023 Loan Forgiveness Program

The Broom Tree Fellows Program is now open.  The application deadline is February 28, 2023.

2023 Broom Tree Fellows Application (Fillable PDF)

Letter (PDF)

Fact Sheet (PDF)

The Broom Tree Fellows Program assists ministry workers, primarily in northern Virginia, with education-related debt. The program is especially interested in religious leaders who exhibit the highest levels of faith, commitment, and service to God. Over the past nine years, the program has provided over 250 loan forgiveness awards—exceeding $500,000—to ministry workers dedicated to expanding Christ’s reach. These Christian ministers represent 15 denominations from over 50 churches or religious organizations. It is our hope that in lightening the load of their education-related debts, ministry workers are able to flourish in their ministry.

Please visit our website at www.BroomTreeFellows.org to learn more about our program and to obtain additional copies of the application. You can also follow us on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/BroomTreeFellows.

This year’s deadline for submitting applications is February 28, 2023.

Churches and ministry organizations are not limited in the number of Broom Tree Fellows applications that can be submitted, so please share this opportunity with others working in your ministry who may have student loan debt.

If you have any questions or would like more information about our program, please email us at or give us a call at (703) 437-9720.


Student Loan Repayment Program

The 2022 Student Loan Repayment Program is now closed.

The Southeastern District (SED), LCMS is pleased to announce its 2022 Student Loan Repayment Program, which provides grants to rostered church workers, both full and part-time, to help them repay college and/or seminary education loans. All rostered or roster-eligible synodical graduates who are currently working in the
Southeastern District are eligible to apply for this grant. Preference will be given to those who have worked within the Southeastern District for 10 or more years of continuous service.


Grants will be awarded based on need, an individual’s personal financial contributions and commitments, special circumstances, and availability of funds. The minimum debt balance eligible for a grant is $3,000.

It is the policy of the SED that grants be applied to any educational debt that rostered workers have incurred, whether in the form of federally subsidized loans, commercial loans or even credit card debt for books needed to enter ministry (please see full definition below). The grant is sent directly to the lender to be applied to the principal to help reduce total indebtedness, not to make payments in advance or to reduce the amount of currently scheduled payments.


The Student Loan Repayment Committee will review and make recommendations on grant awards. It reserves the right to determine what indebtedness is appropriate and what grants will be given but seeks to keep its definition of indebtedness as wide as possible. Not adhering to this policy may jeopardize the worker’s opportunity to receive a grant.


The application period for the 2022 Program is now closed.  Complete applications are due by November 1, 2022 and should be received in the Southeastern District Office by this date. Applications and all requested accompanying documentation should be sent to the attention of the Student Loan Repayment Program via email to  Fill out the application form and attach the most current loan statements from each of the lenders listed on the application. These statements should show the name of the borrower, the outstanding loan amounts, loan account numbers and the name and address of each lending institution. If educational debt has been incurred on a credit card or through another vehicle, include similar documentation detailing the qualifying expenses, amount and purpose.

In addition, if an applicant’s congregation/school agrees to provide funding toward its worker’s loan repayment, the District will match this gift up to an additional $500 beyond the original award amount. Once awards are announced, the congregation/school will be responsible for providing the gift outlined in the application so that matching fund may be released for this purpose.

SED plans to announce 2022 awards by the end of November. Payments will be sent to lenders shortly thereafter. Grant recipients will be notified after the grant payment is made. Recipients are responsible for verifying that the grant amount is credited properly to their lending institution.

For questions about the Student Loan Repayment Program, contact Sid Heetland at

This program is for individuals who have completed their synodical training and are currently serving the LCMS in the SED. If you are currently a student, please refer to the SED Student Aid Program here:  http://se.lcms.org/resources/tuition-assistance/.


Additional Resources:

MinistryFocus
MinistryFocus is a Recognized Service Organization (RSO) of the LCMS, with the single-minded goal of helping alleviate student loan debt for rostered workers.  Please visit MinistryFocus directly at https://ministryfocus.org/ to learn more.

Note: The SED defines indebtedness for the purposes of this program as any educational debt at the undergraduate or seminary level that a professional church worker serving in the Southeastern District has incurred, whether in the form of federally subsidized student loans, commercial loans, or credit card debt for tuition, books, room and board, or housing in the case of married students, and fees while attending an LCMS-affiliated seminary or university. This does not include post-graduate work or that beyond an MDiv or Deaconess certification through one of the LCMS seminaries.

For the purposes of this program, eligible colleges, universities, and seminaries include:

·       Concordia colleges nationwide or in Canada

·       Lenoir-Rhyne University, NC

·       Seminaries in Fort Wayne, IN and St. Louis, MO

·       Valparaiso University, IN

Tags: student loan, school loan, debt repayment