Over recent years at SBC we’ve had many conversations with potential students which begin with a passion to study theology and end with a resigned recognition that the financial commitment is too much. As a private faith-based educational establishment, overall we receive less support from public funding and our only other source of funding is from generous individuals and churches (for which we are extremely grateful). So while our degrees are validated by the University of the West of Scotland, our funding model looks different to public universities and as we look to provide a high standard of education and training, inevitably there are costs involved.

This year, however, beginning in September 2022 we’ve committed to reducing the cost of study to a more accessible level as evidence of our commitment to Christian discipleship and the wider church in Scotland (and further afield). We think there is no substitute in preparation for ministry than being part of an intentional learning community with teachers and leaders that are qualified and equipped educators. We talk about being a welcoming and accepting community of learners where all are shaped through delving deeper into matters of faith, and we see this as another step in that direction.

What does this mean in practice? We’ve subsidized our fees down from £6150 per year, and when you combine the subsidy with the fact that over 90% of our full-time students receiving £1765 SAAS funding as a first degree or a degree for ministry, the cost to the student is £1835 (which can be spread over the academic year) – see here for our full fee structure.

It’s a significant subsidy – it doesn’t mean our operating costs have come down and it doesn’t mean we’re compromising in quality. We’re constantly looking for other means of funding and for support from individuals and churches who share our commitment to theological education. But our staff and governors with the support of our current students really felt we needed to act tangibly on our commitment to accessible, holistic, and quality theological education. In this sense, it’s a step of faith, but we hope it communicates our deeply-rooted dedication to providing theological education to all.