United Launches Cohort for Local Black Students with Tuition Fully Covered

United Theological Seminary Full Tuition


Providing more equitable access to Black students not only places society in more diverse hands but will also transform classroom dynamics in service to building racial intelligence…here at United.”

— Rev. Dr. Gary F. Green, II

(St Paul, MN) —  February 15, 2024  — United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities (United) is deeply grateful to be able to launch a new initiative designed to help address racial disparities in higher education. The initiative makes possible a tuition-free seminary education for up to eight Black students based in the Twin Cities. It also aims to create an intentional cohort of students for mutual support, special studies, and mentorship.

Theological education, as it has been practiced for hundreds of years, has had a bias toward white supremacy. In the words of scholar Willie James Jennings, its desired outcome has been to form “the self-sufficient white man.” Consequently, Black people have not been accorded the same opportunities for theological education as their white counterparts.

Through the new initiative, United aims to provide leadership development for Black students who are interested in nonprofit leadership, congregational ministry, public service, education, and related pursuits. Cohort members can already be practicing in such a profession, so long as they desire theological training to learn more about the richness of Black spirituality as realized in contemporary forms, with attention to womanist scholarship, constructive theology, biblical hermeneutics, and church history. Beyond the core curriculum, there will also be special learning opportunities that speak to Black experiences in church and society.

United is committed to systemic anti-racist work. The piloting of this program falls under that larger initiative. Transforming culture to become a racially just learning space will be enhanced by launching this selective program.

President Molly T. Marshall regards this initiative as an expression of United’s emphasis on justice. “Erasing educational disparities through this program begins to redress the lack of supportive space for Black students in historically white institutions.” Rev. Dr. Gary F. Green II, assistant professor of pastoral theology and social transformation and director of anti-racist initiatives, shares, “Providing more equitable access to Black students not only places society in more diverse hands but will also transform classroom dynamics in service to building racial intelligence among the student body and community here at United.”

This initiative is made possible largely through a generous donation from Frank and Robyn Sims. Those admitted to the 48-credit program will be known, therefore, as “Sims Scholars.”

Criteria for Selection

Individuals who are interested in this new opportunity must meet United’s standard admissions requirements. They must also:
– be exceptional in aptitude, vocational promise, and commitment to the mission of theological education
– hold a baccalaureate degree from an accredited undergraduate institution;
– have earned an undergraduate grade point average of B or better;
– reside in the Twin Cities metropolitan area, or close enough to commute for onsite mentoring and special events;
– commit to being an active participant in the cohort; and
– be available for a personal interview.

Because of the cohort’s selectivity, applicants must make time for a personal interview. The program is seeking applicants with strong leadership promise, so they must also submit an artifact that provides evidence of their vocational pursuit of prior leadership experience.

The Master of Arts in Leadership (MAL) can be an entry degree for those who ultimately desire the Master of Divinity (MDiv). While not a dual-degree program, the curriculum of the MAL is foundational and transferrable to the MDiv.


About United
Founded as a welcoming, ecumenical school that embraces all denominations and faith traditions, United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities has been on the cutting edge of progressive theological thought leadership since it was established in 1962. Today, United continues to train leaders who dismantle systems of oppression, explore multi-faith spirituality, and push the boundaries of knowledge.


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