Before you apply

First things first: Thank you for your bold and loving decision to pursue a vocation to religious life. On behalf of the leadership of the Fund for Vocations and our many supporters all over the country, please be assured of our gratitude. We pray for you, and we rely on your prayers for us.

Second, we recognize that our application process may seem complex, or time-consuming. We respectfully ask that you read all of the information in this section, and in the Questions & Answers—carefully and thoroughly. It’s exhaustive by design. The Fund for Vocations is a radically lean organization: very small staff, almost all volunteer. We’re happy to take phone calls and respond to emails when we can. But almost any question you might have is addressed on this site. So please read first. Thanks.

How we work—and why

The Fund for Vocations has structured its grant programs to be neutral to the discernment process.

The first way we do this is to require that a grant applicant have a letter of acceptance from an approved institute before applying for a grant. This serves to focus the candidate’s attention on the discernment, with the aid of the institute’s vocation director, rather than on the debt.

Then once a grant is approved, the Fund for Vocations makes payouts according to the normal monthly payment schedule, to the financial institutions that hold the grant recipient’s loans. By making payments over time, rather than a lump-sum payout, we advance our goal of neutrality in two ways:

  • By reducing the sense of obligation that a grant recipient might feel to persevere in formation even if the call of God is appearing to lead elsewhere.
  • That anyone would be influenced to see entry to religious life as a quick way to eliminate a burdensome debt.
While the student loans covered by a grant remain held in the name of the grant recipient, the Fund for Vocations makes a legally enforceable commitment to make the payments so long as the person remains in religion. But we do not become financially responsible for the loan from the perspective of the institution that issued the loan. If at any time the grant recipient leaves the religious institute, we will cease to make loan payments. At that point, the now ex-grant recipient becomes responsible for all future loan payments. There is, however, no obligation to repay the Fund for Vocations for any loan payments we have made to date. On the other hand, should the person persevere, we will retire the full loan balance no later than the fifth anniversary of final vows.

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