Debt from college loans makes some men and women postpone joining a religious community, according to a survey of men and women professing final vows as members of a religious order. Ten percent of those who professed final vows in 2013 had an average amount of $31,000 in college debt and the average length of postponement was two years, according to “New Sisters and Brothers Professing Perpetual Vows in Religious Life: The Profession Class of 2013.” The annual survey was conducted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, based at Georgetown University. None of the male religious reported receiving assistance in paying down their educational debt, but among women religious, several reported assistance from family and friends, their religious institute, their parish or various funds designated to support vocations. The survey also found that 65 percent of the respondents entered their religious institute with at least a bachelor’s degree or more, and almost two-thirds (62 percent) reported that they were discouraged from considering a vocation by one or more persons.
College Debt and Religious Life