The Numbers for ETS


The student enrollment data for ETS is now available. The enrollment is down. The numbers are disappointing. The loss of students equals the loss of revenue for ETS.

YearUnduplicated HeadcountDenomination:

All Degrees – ARP 65; PC(USA) 25; PCA 13; OPC –; EPC4; National and other Baptist 64; UMC 121; AME 33; Episcopal 7; Southern Baptists 18; Lutheran 5; Church of Christ 4; Church of God 5; Assemblies of God – 5; Disciples of Christ 3; CME –; Wesleyan 1; Church of God in Christ –; Nazarene 1; Unknown/Other 37

YearUnduplicated HeadcountDenomination:

All Degrees – ARP 63; PC(USA) 31; PCA 32; OPC –; EPC4; National and other Baptist 72; UMC 116; AME 32; Episcopal 12; Southern Baptists 24; Lutheran 7; Church of Christ 4; Church of God 6; Assemblies of God – 2; Disciples of Christ 4; CME 1; Wesleyan –; Church of God in Christ –; Nazarene 1; Unknown/Other 57

YearUnduplicated HeadcountDenomination:

All Degrees – ARP 73; PC(USA) 26; PCA 24; OPC –; EPC 3; National and other Baptist 67; UMC 107; AME 25; Episcopal 10; Southern Baptists 17; Lutheran 6; Church of Christ 5; Church of God 8; Assemblies of God – –; Disciples of Christ 2; CME 1; Wesleyan –; Church of God in Christ –; Nazarene 1; Unknown/Other 70

YearUnduplicated HeadcountDenomination:

All Degrees – ARP 78; PC(USA) 33; PCA 29; OPC 1; EPC 3; National and other Baptist 79; UMC 74; AME 24; Episcopal 9; Southern Baptists 12; Lutheran 3; Church of Christ 6; Church of God 5; Assemblies of God – 3; Disciples of Christ 1; CME 1; Wesleyan –; Church of God in Christ –; Nazarene –; Unknown/Other 39

YearUnduplicated HeadcountDenomination:

All Degrees – ARP 77 PC(USA) 43; PCA 27; OPC 1; EPC 4; National and other Baptist 74; UMC 50; AME 22; Episcopal 7; Southern Baptists 19; Lutheran 1; Church of Christ 5; Church of God 9; Assemblies of God – 1; Disciples of Christ 1; CME 1; Wesleyan –; Church of God in Christ –; Nazarene 1; Unknown/Other 45

Under the designation of “Unknown/Other” is where one finds the Mormon, Jewish, and Muslim students. One wonders what else is found under “Unknown/Other”?

According to these records, in the last 5 years, the “Unduplicated Headcount” at ETS has gone from a high of 556 to a low of 402 for 2009/10. That is a difference of 154 students. The financial loss is considerable. Very conservatively, estimating that a student paid $2,000 in tuition per years, this represents a $300,000 loss. Obviously, the loss is much more.

One wonders how Executive Vice President Neely Gaston is keeping ETS going. There has been a loss of students. Extension sites have been closed. An announced deal with the Navy that would have gotten students for the DMin program apparently failed to materialize. Cut backs have been implemented. Students speak of chapel services being poorly attended, halls being empty, and classes being smaller than usual. Where does Executive Vice President find the money to keep ETS going?

The numbers that Executive Vice President Neely Gaston has posted for ARPs who are MDiv students do not properly add up. In the last five years, it is reported that the number of ARP MDiv students has been between 25 to 30 students per year. The number of ARPs graduating a year is between 2 and 4. That is an extraordinary high dropout rate.

In light of persistent student reports of cancelled classes, pitifully small classes, poorly attended chapel services, and the general emptiness of Bowie Divinity Hall, how is it that the reported total student numbers are as high as they are? Are these numbers for real? Is the distance education program cannibalizing the regular curriculum? Is ETS turning into an internet-based institution, the University of Phoenix of theological education? And what does this bode for the reputation of ETS degrees? As an alumnus of ETS, the Editor wants to know.

Some other figures are intriguing. Notice the steady decline in United Methodist representation. That decline will continue as United Methodist students leave ETS and are not replaced by others. Why? Because during Executive Vice President Gaston’s watch the University Senate of the United Methodist Church removed ETS from their list of approved schools. Notice also the small but significant increase in the number of PC(USA) students, while the numbers of students from more conservative Presbyterian bodies have not increased significantly. What does this say about the theological direction of ETS? Well, in light of the vehement and public rejection of the doctrine of inerrancy by ETS Professor of Systematic Theology (and PCUSA minister) Richard Burnett, we know the answer to that question.

These are my thoughts,

Charles W. Wilson

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