Students pursuing graduate degrees at the University of St. Mary of the Lake will shoulder a lighter financial burden next year.
The university, which includes Mundelein Seminary as well as several institutes, has set the cost of each credit hour for degrees offered through those institutes at $795, according to an announcement released Jan. 18. That is at least a 25% reduction in cost, said Brian Schmisek, USML’s provost.
“When I first started here in September, we did a comprehensive review of some of the programs in the institutes,” Schmisek said. “We were priced very high, and we’re educating people for parish ministry.”
The university now has about 50 students in the four programs that will be affected. The degrees those students are studying for include doctorates in ministry and master’s degrees in pastoral studies, in liturgy and in liturgical studies.
Most of those students are laypeople, although some are priests studying for doctorates in ministry and some are deacons, and most of them are from the Archdiocese of Chicago.
Making it easier for them to access high-quality education that will prepare them for ministry fulfills the university’s mission to serve the church in the Archdiocese of Chicago and beyond, Schmisek said.
“You’ve heard of ‘Ex Corde Ecclesiae,’ ‘From the Heart of the Church,’” Schmisek said, referring to the 1990 apostolic constitution issued by St. John Paul II on Catholic colleges and universities. “We are born out of the heart of the church. People are assured that education and the formation we provide come from the heart of the church.”
The hope is to attract more students to the ministry programs, he said.
“We are part of the archdiocese and the cardinal is our chancellor, and we are hand-in-glove in making sure that we educate people for parish ministry. That’s a core mission for us.”
The university’s six schools and institutes that prepare students for ministry include Mundelein Seminary, the Institute for Pastoral Leadership, the Institute for Diaconal Studies, Instituto de Liderazgo Pastoral, the Liturgical Institute and the Pontifical Faculty of Theology.
Students at the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary will be able to practice pastoral encounters in a safe, supportive environment with the help of a $5 million grant from the Lilly Endowment.
When Bishop William Quarter, the first ordinary of the Diocese of Chicago, arrived in his see for the first time on May 5, 1844, he had spent more than two weeks traveling from New York. He traveled by boat, rail and stagecoach, arriving in the city on a steamship that sailed between Chicago and St. Joseph, Michigan, regularly in the spring, summer and autumn.
Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary has delayed ordinations and rites of calling, and canceled graduation for its students in various programs.