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Welcome to our Financial Aid FAQ page, which has been updated as of February 2017. We hope this question-and-answer format helps you understand the financial aid program here at Concordia Theological Seminary (CTSFW), Fort Wayne. If you still have questions after reading through this material, please contact the CTSFW Financial Aid Office (FinAid@ctsfw.edu, 260.452.2151).
A CTSFW tuition grant is available to students who are enrolled in recognized programs leading to ordination as a pastor (M.Div. and A.R. Programs) and to certification as a deaconess (M.A. Leading to Deaconess Certification and M.A. in Deaconess Studies Through Distance Learning) in The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. In order to be eligible for the CTSFW tuition grant or Federal Student Loans in any given term, you must be accepted into your degree (or certificate) program and be enrolled at least half time in that term. The CTSFW tuition grant is not available for courses that are taken beyond those required to complete one’s program requirements or for pre-seminary courses.
Students enrolled in programs such as D.Min., M.A., Ph.D. and S.T.M. should consult with the dean of their program to find out about grants, scholarships or graduate assistantships that may be available. D.Min., M.A., Ph.D. and S.T.M. students, who are enrolled at least half time status, are eligible to borrow through the Federal Student Loan Program and to participate in the Federal Work Study Program based upon financial need. Specific Ministry Pastor (SMP) Program students are not eligible for the CTSFW tuition grant program, Federal Student Loan Program or the Federal Work Study Program.
Satisfactory academic progress must be maintained in order to remain eligible for the CTSFW tuition grant or any Federal Student Loans or Federal Work Study. In order to maintain satisfactory academic progress a student must:
- Maintain the minimum required cumulative grade point average for one’s program (see CTSFW Academic Catalog)
- Complete at least 67% of all attempted credit hours each quarter
- Complete enrolled program in no more than 150% of the normal length of the program measured in terms of attempted credit hours divided by the number of required credit hours for program completion.
All student loan borrowers must first complete the appropriate year FAFSA and the CTSFW Financial Aid application for their program (see question #2 below). New borrowers will also need to complete Entrance Counseling and a Master Promissory Note. Please see the CTSFW Loan Application Process webpage to learn more about the Federal Student Loan Program.
Financial Aid FAQ
How much does it cost to attend Concordia Theological Seminary?
How do I apply for financial aid?
Steps 1 and 2 apply to all students seeking a Federal Student Loan or a Federal Work Study job (M.Div., A.R., M.A. Leading to Deaconess Certification, M.A. in Deaconess Studies, D.Min., M.A., Ph.D., or S.T.M. Programs) or the CTSFW tuition grant (M.Div., A.R., M.A. Leading to Deaconess Certification, or M.A. in Deaconess Studies Programs).Step 1 Complete and transmit to us your CTSFW Financial Aid application electronically by clicking here. To receive a Direct Loan for summer Greek, or other courses offered during the summer 2017 sessions, you need to submit the CTSFW Financial Aid application and FAFSA for the 2016-17 year. If you take classes during the academic year that begins with Fall 2017, you must submit a CTSFW Financial Aid application and FAFSA for 2017-18.
Step 2 – Use the online form at www.fafsa.ed.gov to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the appropriate year. You should file your federal tax return before completing your FAFSA. The FAFSA on the web form will include an option to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. We STRONGLY encourage you to utilize this option if at all possible. Doing so will ensure the accuracy of your tax data, which will result in a more accurate financial aid award. Remember, you cannot use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool until after your taxes have been submitted. See note below for more details. The CTSFW Federal School Code is G20876. Please note: The Department of Education will more likely flag your FAFSA for verification if you do not use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool or if you file your FAFSA before you file your taxes. If you are selected for verification and you did not use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, you will be required to request a copy of your tax transcript from the IRS and provide it to CTSFW before any need-based Federal Student Aid (work study) can be disbursed.
Steps 3 and 4 apply only to those in the M.Div., A.R., M.A. Leading to Deaconess Certification or M.A. in Deaconess Studies Programs who qualify for LCMS District and/or congregational aid
Step 3 – Apply to your LCMS District using the “District Financial Aid Application” (available in PDF), type in your information on Section I, print the form, sign it, ask your pastor to sign it and mail it to us. Do not mail it to your District.We will complete Section II and then forward it to your district. Your district’s application deadline is on the list of District Financial Aid Contact Persons (click here and use the drop down menu to find your district information.) Be sure to check for any notation on whether your district requires any different or additional application steps. Nebraska District students should visit the Nebraska District website (click here) for instructions and application forms that apply to their financial aid requirements. We must receive your FAFSA, your CTSFW Financial Aid application, and your District Financial Aid Application at least two weeks before your district’s deadline in order to have time to forward your application to your district office before the deadline. If you are a new student, please be aware that the Seminary and your district cannot process your District Financial Aid application until you have been granted admission to CTSFW, and have submitted your FAFSA and CTSFW Financial Aid application. If you are a returning student, please note that your financial aid deadline is May 1(or two weeks before your district deadline–whichever comes first).
Step 4 – Ask your pastor and the leaders of your home congregation to support your seminary studies. We will also write on your behalf, asking your home congregation to consider supporting you with gifts totaling $4,500 for the 2017-18 year ($1,500 per quarter). Your congregation may or may not be able to help that much. Ask early in order to give your congregational leaders time to plan for your support. We recommend that congregations send their support shortly before the beginning of each academic quarter to the CTSFW Financial Aid Office with a check payable to Concordia Theological Seminary and include the student remittance coupon.
Application Deadlines – If you are a returning student, you must submit your CTSFW Financial Aid application and FAFSA by May 1. This deadline does not apply to you if you are a new student. However, you will miss out on many other scholarship opportunities if you wait too long. Many scholarships have early deadlines. Please see the Outside Scholarship Opportunities webpage for details. Whether you are new or returning, you must submit your district application form to the CTSFW Financial Aid Office at least two weeks before your district deadline. Remember that you must submit your FAFSA and CTSFW Financial Aid application before we can complete the financial aid section of your district form and send it to your district. If you are applying for admission as a new student, you are welcome to submit your financial aid forms before your application has been accepted. They will be processed as soon as the CTSFW admission requirements have been met and you are officially accepted.
What is the CTSFW tuition grant and how is it calculated?
A CTSFW tuition grant is available to those enrolled in recognized programs leading to ordination as pastors and to certification as deaconesses in the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (i.e. M.Div., A.R., M.A. Leading to Deaconess Certification and M.A in Deaconess Studies through distance learning). The tuition grant you receive from the Seminary is to offset a portion of the actual tuition charges for each quarter. The maximum CTSFW tuition grant for 2017-2018 will be 70% of your actual tuition.
Your tuition grant is calculated by using the ratio of your Expected Family Contribution (EFC]) from your FAFSA and your Cost of Attendance (COA).Use the calculator provided here to see what percentage of your actual tuition will be covered by the CTSFW tuition grant, as well as find out what your estimated net Cost of Attendance will be.
Your EFC is also used to calculate your Federal Student Loan eligibility. For a free estimate of your EFC, visit the College Board EFC Calculator. Use Federal Methodology (FM) for best results. In order to award your CTSFW tuition grant, we must use your EFC based on a valid FAFSA.
Most of our eligible students (over 80%) qualify for the maximum tuition grant percentage. All other gift aid—home congregation, district, outside scholarships and student adoption—is added to your tuition grant. We urge you to apply for as many scholarships as you can. See the Outside Scholarship Resources webpage (question #8 below) for possible scholarship opportunities.
How can I estimate my costs for the year and know if I will need a Federal Student Loan?
How do I apply for student loans?
Are short-term loans available?
Is financial aid available for summer classes?
Where can I get information on other scholarships and grants?
Does the Seminary have a Work-Study Program?
How does the Student Adoption Program work?
Our office will match you with a congregation, church group, or individual wishing to adopt a student. Student Adoption provides supplemental financial support to your regular financial aid and, in addition, gives you the opportunity to meet new friends through your thank-you notes, emails or telephone calls with your donors.
To participate, please complete the online Application for Student Adoption. Note: M.Div., A.R., and Deaconess students may apply for the Student Adoption Program. When you sign up for Student Adoption you are accepting the responsibility to send thank-you notes and/or letters on a regular basis and at a minimum whenever you receive financial support from your adopters. Students who fail to correspond with their donors will be terminated from the program. You must register online for the Student Adoption Program each year that you participate.
How does the Food and Clothing Co-op work?
How does dropping a class or withdrawing from the Seminary affect my financial aid?
What are my options for paying my Seminary bill each quarter?
Your bill must be paid each quarter in order to be able to attend class the following quarter. Bills are due three weeks after the quarter begins. See the Academic Calendar for the specific due dates. Students who do not pay their bills by the published due date will be charged a late payment fee in accordance with the Student Bill Payment Policy. For students who are enrolled only for intensive courses which begin later on in the quarter, your bill is due on the first day the intensive class begins. Payments are to be made at the CTSFW cashier’s window in the Werner Administration Building. Students can pay by cash, check or credit card.
Those students who want a student loan must have their Direct Loan award sheet returned to the CTSFW Financial Aid Office in order for the loan to be processed. Please allow at least two weeks for a loan to be processed and the loan money to be disbursed to your student account.
One additional payment option is to use the Joyful Response Tuition Payment Plan. Joyful Response is a plan where you designate a certain amount to be deducted from your personal checking or savings account each month for three months during the quarter to pay your seminary bill. The amount you designate will be divided into three equal payments that will automatically be deducted from your checking or savings account on the same day of each month. You must choose an amount that will have your bill paid in full after the third payment is made. Also, it is advisable to choose an amount that is divisible by three. You must submit a Joyful Response Tuition Payment Plan form for each quarter that you want to participate. There is a $25 fee per quarter to participate in this payment plan. The 2016-17 Spring Quarter form is due by March 15, 2017.
The forms for the 2017-18 academic year are due as follows:
Fall – Sept. 8, 2017;
Winter – Dec. 8, 2017;
Spring – March 16, 2018.
The signed original form must be returned, no faxes or scanned copies, along with a voided check or savings deposit slip attached. After submitting your voided check or savings deposit slip once, you do not need to re-submit them again with future forms unless your banking account numbers have changed. Please contact the Financial Aid Office if you have questions.
What are my options for repaying my student loans?
In order to avoid making payments while attending CTSFW, new students should contact their loan servicer(s) to request an educational loan deferment if you have previous unpaid student loans. The CTSFW Registrar will need to verify your enrollment for the loan deferment request form. You do not have to begin repaying your Federal Student Loans until you leave school (graduate, withdraw or take a leave of absence) or drop below half-time status in your enrollment.
Vicarage and deaconess internship should not cause your loans to go into repayment. Please contact your loan servicer(s) if you receive payment notification during your vicarage or deaconess internship year.
There are several repayment plans available: Standard, Graduated, Extended, Income-Based Repayment (IBR), Pay As You Earn, Income-Contingent Repayment (ICR) and Income-Sensitive Repayment. The repayment period can vary in length of time from 10 to 25 years, depending upon the plan you choose. Please go to the Federal Student Aid website to review your options.
For information on whether or not you may qualify for loan forgiveness in the Income Based Repayment (IBR) or the Public Service Loan Forgiveness, please click here or visit www.studentloans.gov. According to the Federal Student Aid website– if you work for a non-profit organization, your employment will not qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness for time spent in duties related to religious instruction, worship services, or any form of proselytizing. Remember that extending your repayment plan or decreasing your payment amounts usually increases the amount of interest you pay over time.