Financing a seminary education involves much more than paying bills. It requires prayerful planning and budgeting, good money and time management skills, and joyful receiving of gifts! This guide describes eligibility and application processes as well as the different kinds of financial aid available.
Applying for Financial Aid
Who is eligible?
There are three classifications of eligibility:
- Students who are enrolled at least half-time (minimum of two courses per semester) in a first professional degree program (MDiv. MAR, MAPL)
- Students in an approved special program at the first professional level
- Students in an advanced level degree program (STM, DMin, PhD)
All students must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
When should I apply?
The ideal time to apply for financial aid is when you complete your application for admission or as soon as possible after being admitted. Since grants are awarded on a rolling basis and because the grant pool, while ample, is limited, an early application is recommended. Those who complete applications by April 15 will have priority for the highest percentage of financial aid. The deadline for application for financial aid for new students is July 1 for the fall semester and December 1 for the spring semester.
How do I apply?
There are three ways to apply for financial aid:
- File a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) with the Department of Education. This can be done online at www.fafsa.gov. The seminary school code is G03292. (You must obtain a FAFSA pin by registering at www.pin.ed.gov)
- Complete a Seminary Financial Aid Application and send it, along with your most recent federal tax return, to Elizabeth Brunton, Financial Aid Director.
- To apply for a Direct Loan, go to www.studentloans.gov and complete the Graduate Unsubsidized Master Promissory Note (MPN) and Entrance Counseling as instructed. The school code is the same as for the FAFSA (G03292)
Where can I direct any questions I might have?
The contact person for all financial aid related questions is:
Financial Aid Director
1.800.286.4616, extension 6301 or 215.248.6301
Sources of Financial Aid
Federal Work Study Program
The seminary participates in the Federal Work Study program (FWS) provided by the United States Department of Education. FWS positions are available on and off campus for students who qualify. Positions are posted at the beginning of each academic year, or when available, on the FWS board opposite the Financial Aid Office and online. Notification of qualification for a position accompanies the financial aid award letter from the seminary.
Base pay for FWS positions is $8.50 per hour. Some positions with prerequisite degree requirements pay higher. Teaching and Research Assistant positions are available to students who are enrolled in STM, or PhD programs. Qualifying students are selected by faculty members. Each year the seminary expends over 20 percent of the federally allotted funds in after school tutoring programs at local off campus sites.
The seminary is able to provide substantial need-based Seminary Grants thanks to the generosity and partnership of individuals throughout the church and support from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and other denominations. The majority of the seminary’s full-time students receive generous Seminary Scholarship Grants.
Who is eligible?
Full-time first professional students (MDiv, MAR, MAPL) are eligible for grant aid as determined annually by the Financial Aid Committee. To be considered full-time, a student must be enrolled in at least 8 units of course work per academic year (defined as August-May). Aid is available for up to 6 semesters for MDiv students and up to 4 semesters for MAR and MAPL students.
Half-time first professional students (MDiv, MAR, MAPL) are eligible for grant aid as determined annually by the Financial Aid Committee. To be considered part-time, a student must be enrolled in 4-7 units per academic year (August-May). Aid remains available as long as the student continues to take courses at the required pace.
How do I apply for Grant Aid?
Applicants must complete the Seminary’s Application for Financial Aid and submit it to the Financial Aid Office by the required dates:
- April 15 for August/Fall Admission
- December1 for January/Spring Admission
A new application must be completed for each year of study.
Late applications for Financial Aid for fall admission may be submitted until July 31; however, aid may be limited to Federal Direct Student Loans and Federal Work-Study (FWS) as late availability of grant aid cannot be guaranteed.
What do I need to qualify for Grant Aid?
Need-based Grant recipients must maintain satisfactory progress toward their degrees based on their program of study (full-time/ part-time).
Aid is based on enrollment. Full-time students must maintain 10 courses per year, part-time students, 4 courses per year. Larger course loads will not warrant an increase in aid and students who drop below their awarded enrollment will have their aid reduced.
Scholarships for Full-Time Students
Full-time first professional students who have completed at least one semester of study become eligible for scholarship awards. Each year the Financial Aid Committee or the Dean nominates students, recommended by the faculty, as recipients of the following scholarship:
The Ted C. Womer Leadership Award
One award is granted annually with the possibility of renewal. Recipients shall demonstrate exceptional dedication and commitment to the church, outstanding leadership qualities, and academic ability. The award is funded by earnings from an endowment established by St. John’s Lutheran Church, Stamford, CT.
The Dr. and Mrs. William Reifsnyder Leadership for Mission Endowed Scholarship
One award is granted annually to a first-year student with a B+ or better prior academic record and exceptional leadership potential.
The Roy L. Winters and Sarah Stober Winters ScholarshipS
One award is granted annually to a member of the first-year class. Consideration is given to academic merit, promise for ministry, and financial need.
The Traci L. Maul Awards
One or more awards are granted annually to a student or students who have finished the first year of study and who exemplify the qualities of Pastor Maul: outstanding leadership potential for ministry, active contribution to seminary community life, and academic strength. This award is funded by earnings from an endowment created in memory of the Rev. Traci L. Maul, MDiv 1995.
The Karl Elser Wurster Memorial Award
One award is granted annually to a member of the second-year class. Consideration is given to academic merit, promise for ministry, and financial need.
The Paul J. Hoh Awards
Four awards are granted annually to Lutheran students, two from the second-year class and two from the final-year class. Consideration is given to academic merit and promise for ministry.
The Atonement, Asbury Park Preaching Award
One award is granted annually to a senior student selected by a faculty committee. The student must exemplify exceptional potential in the field of homiletics and preaching and have financial need.
The Dr. LeRoy Aden Scholarship in Pastoral Care
One award is granted annually to a senior student in the MDiv program. The student is nominated by the Integrative Area and approved by the faculty as having outstanding potential in the area of pastoral care.
Scholarships for Part -Time Students
Newly enrolled part-time students in the MDiv, MAR, and MAPL programs are eligible for an Eby Scholarship. Students who register for two or more courses will receive a grant of $600.00 for each of the first two semesters of study for a total of $1,200.00.
The Eby Scholarship for Graduate Studies students in the STM and DMin programs is available to any part-time matriculated graduate student. Student qualification is determined by application available in the Graduate School office. A $200.00 grant will be awarded for one registered course and $500.00 for two registered courses.
Leadership Grants for Part-Time Students
Part-time students in the MDiv, MAR, and MAPL programs enrolled in two or more courses a semester are eligible for a Leadership Grant during their first year of study. Each recipient will receive $780.00 for each of the first two semesters of study. Twenty Leadership Grants are available for the 2013-2014 academic year.
Urban Theological Institute (UTI) Scholarships
Black Church (UTI) Concentration students are eligible for a number of scholarships.
The UTI Academic Award
This award is granted each fall to the African American UTI concentrations student preparing for ordained ministry. This student must have achieved the highest cumulative grade point average and have completed at least ten total academic units. A student may receive this award only once in his/her seminary academic career.
In addition to seminary need-based grants and merit scholarships, low-interest loans are available through the federal government. The recommended maximum educational debt for a single student is $30,000.
To begin an application for a direct loan, visit the website www.studentloans.govand complete your Graduate Unsubsidized Master Promissory Note (MPN). You must complete the Entrance Counseling available at this site before any of the proceeds from your direct loan will be available to you.
Unsubsidized Direct Loan
(note: subsidized loans for graduate students were discontinued Fall 2011)
Eligibility for unsubsidized direct loans is based on the cost of attendance (COA) or, if other aid has been awarded, the estimated cost of attendance (EFC). These loans are available to students who are studying at least half-time (2 full units per semester). Financial need is not a requirement and students may either pay or defer interest while in school.
Other Sources of Financial Aid
It is important to consider and pursue non-seminary sources of financial aid for seminary expenses. Apply for aid from home congregations and local judicatory — synod, diocese, presbytery, etc. A list of other sources of financial aid is available by request from the financial aid office. Also, visit www.thefund.org for a listing of available scholarships.
Questions may be directed to:
Financial Aid Director
1.800.286.4616, extension 6301 or 215. 248. 6301
Office of Admissions