Canadians preparing for ministry through Calvin Theological Seminary no longer face the decades-long hurdle of the exchange rate between the U.S. and Canadian dollar. At its October 2022 meeting, the CTS Board of Trustees approved a new initiative that will enable the seminary to accept tuition dollars paid by Canadian M.Div. and M.A. students in Canadian funds “at par”—a clear indication of the seminary’s commitment to the church in Canada.
CTS president Jul Medenblik called the news “an answer to prayer.” Annually, CTS awards over $1.4 million in scholarship support to students, but Medenblik said this initiative now makes it even more affordable for Canadian students to attend CTS. Moreover, he said, “it shows the strong linkage and support we want to maintain and even grow between Calvin Theological Seminary and the church in Canada.”
Over the past five years, the exchange rate has sometimes been as high as 45% but has averaged about 30%. In recent months the rate has hovered around 35%. Such rates created a significant financial burden for Canadian students. Rachel DeJong, an M.Div. student at Calvin from Dunnville, Ont., considers parity as yet one more way she has seen the Lord provide during her ministry preparation journey.
“I think this will make a massive difference for future Canadian students,” she said.
David Vandokkumburg, an M.Div. student from Hamilton, Ont., agreed. “For my wife and me, this feels like a significant burden lifted,” he said. “Each of our careers requires masters-level studies, and so to create a solution that will reduce the total amount of debt we face is a huge relief.”
Two charitable foundations in Canada financially supported the seminary board’s decision to offer parity. A previous gift from the Leder Charitable Foundation, as well as one of the final gifts to be given from the Bill Voortman Foundation, have been combined to bridge the gap between the Canadian and American currencies.
“I want especially to thank our Canadian donors who were deeply involved in developing this initiative,” Medenblik said. “It will mean so much for generations to come.”
About the Author
Shawn Brix, Canadian Church Relations