SBTS experiences record enrollment and revenues in 2020-2021

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP) — The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary experienced a record year in both revenues and enrollment in 2020-2021, seminary officials reported to Southern’s Board of Trustees at its fall meeting.

The seminary exceeded budgetary expectations in three key areas: tuition revenue, receipts from the SBC Cooperative Program, and donor giving. Student enrollment also increased during the pandemic.  

Southern Seminary President, R. Albert Mohler Jr. reflected on the crucial task the trustees fulfilled at their October 11-12 meeting:

“I’m very thankful for the men and women who serve on our board of trustees. They are remarkably faithful and committed board members who hold the institution in trust for the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention. This meeting was yet another indication of the seriousness with which they take that task, and it was a meeting in which we were able to report the blessings of God upon the institution. The board of trustees made historic decisions, heard reports, and fulfilled responsibility to the Southern Baptist Convention.”

Reports to the trustees showed the good news of God’s grace toward SBTS during the past 18 months.

Though SBTS reduced tuition rates for the 2020-21 school year, tuition and fees were $3.4 million greater than the amount budgeted, attributable to a sizeable increase in enrollment.

SBC Cooperative giving was robust, as Southern Baptists graciously gave of their financial resources to support the seminaries. SBC Cooperative Program receipts were $3.1 million more than forecasted.

Southern Seminary donors also gave generously, enabling SBTS to raise a record amount to help offset student tuition. Donor contributions were more than $2.7 million over budget expectations.  

“The Lord was very kind to us in 2020-2021,” said Jonathan Austin, senior vice president for institutional administration.

“One of the key assumptions that went into the budget was that there was a good chance we’d be closed for approximately six months of the year, but in the Lord’s kindness this school was open for the entire academic year and was able to have students on campus for the full year. We praise the Lord for his goodness to this school.”

Trustees also honored the life and ministry of SBTS music professors Phillip Landgrave and Greg Brewton, both of whom died last month, Landgrave at 86 and Brewton at 65. Mohler remembered Brewton’s “smile forward” joy with which he approached all of life and ministry and described Landgrave as a deeply gracious man and a prolific composer of music and hymnody.  

 “We haven’t had this kind of confluence happen at Southern Seminary in a long time,” Mohler said. “It’s a reminder to us that life is a vapor.”

The board also approved responses to two motions passed by messengers at the 2021 SBC Annual Meeting in Nashville last June that were referred to the entities.

In other business, trustees:

  • Approved the faculty elections of Joseph Harrod as associate professor of biblical spirituality and John D. Wilsey as associate professor of church history and philosophy.
  • Approved sabbatical leave for professors Justin Irving and Robert Jones.
  • Approved faculty promotions for Joseph Harrod from assistant professor to associate professor of biblical spirituality and Jonathan Pennington from associate professor to professor of New Testament interpretation
  • Approved four non-Baptist scholars as adjunct professors. 
  • Reaffirmed the seminary’s mission statement to meet requirements of accrediting agencies.
  • Nominated Sally Ramsay to serve a three-year term on the seminary’s Audit Committee and elected Ellie Coursey as vice chairman of the committee.

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