Need-Based Aid for 2017-2018
For students enrolled in the Master of Arts (Theological Studies), Master of Arts in Ministry Practice, and Master of Divinity degree programs, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary offers need-based Seminary Tuition Grants, on-campus employment, child care assistance grants, and scholarships to defray the cost of cross-cultural or international travel. We also participate in the Federal Direct Student Loan Program.
NEED-BASED FINANCIAL AID APPLICATION PROCESS
(See "Financial Aid Handbook" at the bottom of this page)
1. Submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The Title IV School Code for Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary is G03544.
2. Download, complete, print, and mail the Austin Seminary Application for Financial Aid.
3. Submit copies of all 2015 W-2 Forms.
4. Submit a 2015 Income Tax Return Transcript from the Internal Revenue Service. (The transcript may be ordered. http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Get-Transcript) If married and filing separately include your spouse's Income Tax return transcript.
5. If you did not file a 2015 Federal tax return, state all sources of your financial support on your financial aid application or in a letter.
6. Complete the Steward’s Resource Navigator (also referred to as Budget for Success or budget). Scroll down to the Budget for Success for details and links.
7. To apply for a Federal Direct Student Loan, complete the Master Promissory Note and Entrance Loan Counseling at: www.studentloans.gov. Also complete the Master Promissory Note Information Form.
8. Read the Financial Aid Handbook 2017-2018, for detailed information and requirements.
Items may be mailed to:
Office of Financial Aid
Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary
100 East 27th Street
Austin, TX 78705
Financial Aid Programs
SEMINARY TUITION GRANT
Need-based Seminary Tuition Grants of up to 85% of the cost of tuition are awarded to MATS, MAMP, and MDiv students with documented need.
CHILD CARE ASSISTANCE GRANTS
Students with documented need, who are enrolled full time, with child care expenses for infants, preschool-age children, and after-school care for elementary-age children are eligible to apply for the Fall and Spring Child Care Assistance Grants.
Preference is given to students with demonstrated financial need for most positions. However, faculty members seek student assistants who excel in a particular subject area to work as research assistants, instructional aides and to serve as tutors regardless of demonstrated financial need.
Merit-Based Fellowships & Scholarships
Merit-based Fellowships and Scholarships at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary are awarded annually to entering Master of Divinity students who demonstrate exceptional academic achievement, leadership ability, and interest in and strong promise vocationally for ministry in the church.
Applicants must have submitted the full application for admission and the Merit-Based Scholarship Application by February 1, 2018, for consideration.
The faculty of the Seminary selects the recipients. These awards are renewed annually (for up to three resident academic years) provided that students maintain a 3.5 cumulative GPA (on a 4 point scale), and continue to demonstrate leadership and promise for ministry.
Each of the fellowships cover full tuition, a stipend to cover on-campus housing, and an additional stipend of $5,000 per year for other educational costs (for a total current estimated annual award value of $22,000). Scholarships cover the full cost of tuition (estimated annual value of the award is $13,500).
These awards are open to all entering Master of Divinity students. Notice of award will be made after March 1, 2018.
Budget for Success
Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary requires all students receiving financial awards from the Seminary to annually turn in a completed Navigator budget form in order to complete the financial aid application and/or to receive awards. Here is why and how:
We are committed to equipping students to realize their calling to ministry. Central to this success is empowering students to navigate resources with integrity, generosity and resourcefulness.
Understanding that a budget is a document of spiritual health, and central to personal and professional successes, we ask students to fill out this Steward’s Resource Navigator as part of the need-based aid application or before receipt of other offered awards from the Seminary. Please utilize this Steward's Resource Navigator Guide to assist in completion of this form, which will ask you to outline your current budget actuals and project/anticipate your subsequent year’s budget.
Also; please do relax as much as possible. This is not a test of any kind. We invite students into this process so that we can come alongside to help in the most fitting manner possible. After receiving student forms, we may connect students to helpful consultations with Financial Aid, Students Affairs or our Ministers Facing Money program.
Completing this form invites thoughtfulness about money’s relationship to your life of ministry. It can play a part in an empowering journey toward a more nuanced understanding of money and its relationship to ministry life..
If you have any questions about the Steward's Resource Navigator, please contact:
Director of Financial Aid
Financial Aid Handbook
(or download Handbook here)
Hopefully, this Financial Aid Handbook will answer many of your questions. Please contact me if you need additional information, if you have unusual circumstances, changes in your income or any concerns.
Welcome to Austin Seminary.
Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary (Austin Seminary, Seminary, APTS) offers need-based tuition grants, merit-based scholarships, merit-based fellowships, child care assistance grants and loan assistance only to students admitted to and enrolled in the Master of Arts (Theological Studies) (MATS), Master of Arts in Ministry Practice (MAMP), and Master of Divinity (MDiv) degree programs at the Seminary. Students must reapply annually for need-based financial aid.
It is the policy of Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary not to discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, gender identity, religion, national origin, age, marital status, sexual orientation, disability, status as special disabled veterans or qualified veterans of the Vietnam era, or status in any group protected by federal or state or local law (“Protected Categories”). In accordance with the Seminary’s “Americans with Disabilities Act” policy, the Seminary will provide reasonable accommodation for applicants for employment, employees, applicants for study, and enrolled students who have disabilities, except where such an accommodation would create an undue hardship.
Payment of tuition and fees must be made in full at the beginning of each academic term. This may be accomplished through a variety of means, such as a Seminary Tuition Grant, other scholarships and grants, loans, or payment by cash, check, or credit card. If outside grants, scholarships and loans are anticipated but not yet received, written verification of these funds must be presented to the Business Office at registration.
Federal methodology (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is used to determine financial aid eligibility for institutional funds in addition to eligibility for a William D. Ford Federal Direct Student Loan (Direct Loan or Student Loan).
All inquiries regarding financial aid, tuition, fees, and residency requirements for The University of Texas at Austin School of Social Work should be addressed to The University of Texas.
The financing of a Seminary education is understood to be a shared responsibility of the individual student, spouse (if married), the Seminary, and the church (including individual members, local congregations, and governing bodies). Each student is expected to meet as much of the educational expenses as possible. A student with available resources to meet tuition and other charges is expected to cover their expenses.
The Seminary’s capacity to assist with expenses other than tuition is mainly limited to indirectly subsidizing the costs of on-campus housing and meals in the Stotts Fellowship Hall.
Need-based financial assistance is calculated on the student’s financial need and on availability of funds. Those who have greater personal financial resources, or who are able to secure more assistance from non-Seminary sources, are expected to make a greater contribution to the cost of education than those who have fewer sources of income. The Seminary expects each student to examine his/her financial preparedness to enter into or to remain in Seminary well in advance of each academic year. Students should have available work income, liquid assets, and/or scholarship promises to meet all normal living expenses (i.e. those expenses that would be incurred in any situation; e.g., food, rent, personal expenses, utilities, etc.). Students are expected to pursue with diligence as many sources of income as possible, according to need.
The Seminary endeavors to help students complete their Seminary studies while practicing good financial stewardship. Do not hesitate to seek advice and counsel from the offices of Financial Aid or Ministers Facing Money about minimizing the amount of your indebtedness. When such debt or projected debt becomes inordinate, students are encouraged to withdraw from the Seminary until the financial situation changes for the better.
Adverse Status of Previous Educational Loan Debt – Financial assistance through the Seminary is not available to students who have any federal student loans in default status. Students with loans in default status are encouraged to contact the Director of Financial Aid for resolution options.
Student and Family
A student’s and spouse’s savings and income are considered as part of their financial resources in total. Many students work part-time and have spouses who work. Other family members and friends may contribute to your support as well.
Students should seek financial assistance from their churches and other church-related sources such as presbyteries, conferences, synods and denominations. Many students have received significant support from established church programs.
Students are urged to seek support through outside foundations that offer financial assistance to students pursuing theological educations. Receipt of external scholarships/grants will help to reduce reliance on loans to finance your education. Applicants who have been accepted and have submitted the signed “Intent to Matriculate” form will be given access to the admissions portal that includes our Outside Scholarships and Grants database.
The tuition cost and the maximum percentage of the (need-based) Seminary Tuition Grant are set each year by the Austin Seminary’s Board of Trustees.
Tuition cost for the 2017-2018 academic year is $225 per credit. Two Austin Seminary credits are equivalent to one standard semester hour. The tuition cost for one six-credit course is $1,350.00.
An eligible student whose financial aid paperwork documents financial need may be awarded up to 85% of the cost of tuition.
Below is one example of a standard full-time course load for Master of Arts (Theological Studies) (MATS) per year.
Number of Credits for Fall
Number of Credits for January
Number of Credits for Spring
Number of Credits for Summer
Total number of credits required by MATS : 102
Below is one example of a standard full-time course load for Master of Arts in Ministry Practice (MAMP) per year.
Number of Credits for Fall
Number of Credits for January
Number of Credits for Spring
Number of Credits for Summer
Total number of credits required by MAMP : 102
Below is one example of a standard full-time course load for a Master of Divinity (MDiv) student per year
Number of Credits for Fall
Number of Credits for January
Number of Credits for Spring
Number of Credits for Summer
Total of Credits
2nd year (Middler)
Total number of credits required by MDIV: 18refer to the Academic Catalogue.
The Seminary Tuition Grant is available to eligible students to cover charges for attempted credits, not to exceed the number of credits required for the student’s master’s-level degree program. All credits attempted are counted toward Seminary Tuition Grant maximums, including failed credits. In addition, credits earned as a Special Student at Austin Seminary and/or credits transferred from another institution are applied to a student’s degree program and are included in the credit maximums. The same credit restrictions apply to the tuition portion of merit fellowships and merit scholarships.0
Below are examples of students’ budgets used to determine eligibility for need-based financial aid.Below is an example of a budget for a first year and second year full-time Master of Art (Theological Studies) (MATS) student living in a 1 bedroom apartment in McCoy House at $580 per month.
Type of Expense
Housing (1 BR @ $580 per month)*
*Your budget will vary according to your housing and health insurance cost.Below is an example of a budget for a first year and second year full time Master of Arts in Ministry Practice (MAMP) student living in a Currie Residence Hall at $210 per month.
Type of Expense
First Year (60 credits) 11 months
Second Year (42 credits) 8 months
$210 per month*
*Your budget will vary according to your housing and health insurance costs.
**Utility costs are included in the residence hall expense.Below is an example of a budget for a first year, second year and third year full-time Master of Divinity student living in a 2 bedroom apartment in Anderson House at $750 per month:
Type of Expense
First Year (60 credits) 12 months
(66 credits) 12 months
(54 credits) 9 months
$750 per month*
*Your budget will vary according to your housing and health insurance cost. Budget for Success (Steward’s Resource Navigator)
Austin Seminary is committed to equip students to realize their call to ministry. Central to their success is empowering students to navigate resources with integrity, generosity and resourcefulness.
Understanding that a budget is a document of spiritual health that is central to personal and professional successes, we ask students to fill out the Steward’s Resource Navigator as part of the need-based financial aid application process or before receiving any other offered award.
This is not a test of any kind. We invite students into the process so that we can come alongside to help in the most fitting manner possible. After receiving student forms, we may connect students to helpful consultations with Financial Aid, Student Affairs and Vocation or our Ministers Facing Money program.
Awarded Institutional funds will not be authorized until the Budget for Success has been received by the Financial Aid Office.
• Merit-based Fellowships and Merit-based Scholarships are awarded annually to entering Master of Divinity students who demonstrate exceptional academic achievement, leadership ability, and interest in and strong promise vocationally for ministry in the church. To be considered, applicants must have submitted the full application for admission and the merit-based scholarship application by March 1st. The faculty of the Seminary selects the recipients. The awards are renewed annually (for up to three resident academic years) provided that students maintain a 3.5 cumulative GPA (on a 4 point scale), and continue to demonstrate leadership and promise for ministry. The intent of the Merit Fellowship is to cover full tuition, basic on-campus housing costs and provide an annual stipend of $5,000 for other educational expenses. Merit Scholarships cover the full cost of tuition.
The tuition coverage that is part of merit-based fellowships and merit-based scholarships are subject to the same credit maximums as Seminary Tuition Grants.
• Presidential Scholarships – Renewable scholarships are awarded annually by the President to Master of Divinity students upon recommendation of the Vice President for Admissions. The awards, made without reference to financial need, are based on both academic achievement and promise for ministry, with special consideration given to racial and ethnic students.
• Promise Awards – Renewable awards are granted annually to Master of Divinity students by the Vice President for Admissions for the current school year. The awards, made without reference to financial need, are based on both academic achievement and promise for ministry, with special consideration given to PC(USA) students.
• Need-based – Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, in accordance with principles generally accepted by member seminaries of the Association of Theological Schools, seeks to assist students whose financial resources are insufficient to meet the cost of attending the Seminary.
• Seminary Tuition Grants – All eligible students admitted to the master’s-level degree programs who demonstrate financial need may qualify for a need-based Seminary Tuition Grant. The amount of the grant is based on income contribution potential, financial need, projected/actual course credits, credit eligibility limits and availability of funds. For the 2017-2018 academic year, eligible students may be awarded up to 85% of the cost of tuition. Application is made through the Seminary’s Office of Financial Aid. Students are required to register for and to complete at least 12 credits in each fall and spring term. There is no minimum credit requirement for the summer and January terms. The minimum credits requirement will be waived for students in their final semester who may register for less than the minimum credits required for financial aid to earn the number of credits required for the degree.
A Seminary Tuition Grant may be used for approved course work in all cross-registration agreements with other theological institutions. Financial assistance is not offered for course work taken under the catalogue of another institution of higher education for transfer of credit Students who are enrolled in the dual degree program in Social Work at The University of Texas at Austin may receive financial aid through Austin Seminary only for course work taken at Austin Seminary. Students seeking financial aid for course work at UT Austin should contact the Office of Student Financial Services of that institution.
Adjustments based on:
Change in projected credits – If a student’s actual credit load is determined to be less than the amount of credits for which the student was awarded aid, the Seminary Tuition Grant will be reduced proportionately.
Change in financial need – Seminary awards will be adjusted down in the event that a student receives funds through a non-Seminary grant or scholarship that are in excess of the student’s remaining financial need for the application period. Financial aid awards will be reduced dollar for dollar for each other award, reducing the disbursement of Title IV Funds first and the Seminary grant second.
Seminary Tuition Grant Repayment Policy
Seminary Tuition Grants will not be applied toward courses not completed. When a student receives a Seminary Tuition Grant for courses that are subsequently dropped,
that part of the Seminary grant related to the dropped course(s) will be reversed and must be repaid to the Seminary. Students should be aware that they will be responsible for the full amount of tuition charges remaining after application of any tuition refund.
The Maximum amount of financial aid a student may receive if enrolled sequentially for the Master of Arts (Theological Studies) and Master of Divinity degrees will be for the maximum number of credits necessary for the MDIV degree.
Letters of appreciation to donors are required to be written by students who receive need-based Seminary Tuition Grant funds. Students are assigned donors during the fall semester and must give copies of their thank you letters to the Director of Financial Aid. Until copies of letters have been received, Seminary Tuition Grant aid is blocked for the January, spring and summer terms.
• Child Care Assistance Fund – Limited funds are available to full-time students (enrolled in at least 18 credits) to help offset the costs of child care for the fall and spring semesters. Application is made through the Seminary’s Office of Financial Aid.
Appeal Procedure – Students who wish to appeal their Seminary financial aid award may submit an appeal in writing to the Director of Financial Aid that will be presented to the Student Finances Committee for consideration and a decision.
Other Types of Awards
• Elma Gunther Scholarship for International Study
Each Master of Arts (Theological Studies), Master of Arts in Ministry Practice and Master of Divinity degree student at Austin Seminary is eligible for a one-time subsidy or grant for participation in an international or cross-cultural educational program approved by the faculty. Awards are made by the Academic Dean and the total funds available vary from year to year. The award covers up to one half of the cost of an approved course program.
• Emergency Aid
The Emergency Aid Fund makes possible a limited number of small grants to assist in meeting genuine emergency needs. Students should contact the Vice President for Student Affairs and Vocation for more information.
Need-based Aid – includes the Need-based Seminary Tuition Grant and Child Care Assistance Grant.
Students must complete and submit the following items to be considered for APTS need-based aid for 2017-2018:
• Austin Seminary Student Financial Aid Application
• 2017-2018 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (www.fafsa.ed.gov)
• Copies of all 2015 W-2 forms for student and spouse (if married). If the IRS data retrieval process is not used, submit 2015 Federal Income Tax Return transcript from the Internal Revenue Service. If the student is married and filed separately, the spouse’s Income Tax Return transcript will also be required.
• Completed Steward’s Resource Navigator
Child Care Assistance Grant Application after completing the bulleted items above. The deadline to apply for assistance is Oct 15 for the fall semester, Feb 15 for the spring semester
All financial aid files are reviewed for accuracy. Any conflicting information or inaccuracies must be resolved before the student is eligible for any need-based financial aid award.
Deadlines for the need-based Seminary Tuition Grant
All required items should be submitted by the deadline date. Late applications will be accepted; however, a fee of 25% of the Seminary Tuition Grant for the first term will be deducted. To be awarded for a semester, the financial aid application must be received before the end of that semester.
If first term for 2016-2017 begins:
June 1, 2017
November 30, 2017
November 30, 2017
April 30, 2018
After your file is complete and has been reviewed for accuracy, an award letter indicating your financial aid eligibility will be sent to you. If awarded, you must sign and date the award acceptance letter and return it to the Financial Aid Office for your award to be processed
The seminary values the participation of students as employees and recognizes that students bring a wealth of experience and skills to the community. The Student Employment Program at Austin Seminary is designed as a resource to allow students the opportunity to work on campus in a variety of positions designed to accommodate students’ schedules.
A. Students who have matriculated and are presently enrolled in the Master of Arts in Ministry Practice, Master of Arts (Theological Studies) or Master of Divinity degree program for at least 12 credits during the fall/spring semesters are eligible to participate in the Student Employment Program. There is no minimum enrollment requirement during the January/summer terms. After minimum qualifications for the position are met, preference is given to students with demonstrated financial need.
B. Faculty members seek student assistants who excel in a particular subject area to work as research assistants, instructional aides and to serve as tutors regardless of demonstrated financial need. Applicants for the above positions are approved by the Academic Dean.
C. At the request of a supervisor, a spring graduate may be permitted to be employed in the summer, not to last beyond August 31st of the year in which the student graduates. All other students may not be employed in the Student Employment Program for more than 30 days past the date the student completes all course work required by the degree. Note: Temporary continued employment in a student position does not alter the policies for on-campus housing eligibility.
D. A student may work in more than one position on campus; however, the combined hours of all may not exceed 15 hours a week when Seminary classes are in session or 19 hours a week when classes are not in session, which includes recesses (fall, spring, Thanksgiving and Christmas and days between academic terms.
E. International students are subject to employment regulations of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in addition to the practices of Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary.
F. Special Students and Doctor of Ministry students are not eligible to be hired through the Student Employment Program.
III. Position Postings
A. To have an existing position posted, a supervisor should submit to the Director of Financial Aid the following information in writing: name of position, skills needed, position description, days and hours needed, name of supervisor, and any additional information related to the position.
B. If a supervisor wishes to create a new position, the supervisor must secure approval from the Dean or appropriate Vice President.
C. All available positions will be publically announced and posted for at least one week by the Director of Financial Aid. Position descriptions appear in community announcement emails and are posted on the Student Employment bulletin board in McMillan Building on an as-needed basis. The notice of the open job will remain posted until the position is filled or until the supervisor requests that the posting no longer be considered active.
A. A student interested in campus employment should review the campus postings and may contact the Director of Financial Aid about the student employment process.
B. To apply for a position, a student should directly contact the person listed as the supervisor. The supervisor may request written information, such as a class schedule, list of skills, resume or job history.
C. Before offering the job to a student, the supervisor will submit in writing the names of the applicants to the Director of Financial Aid to identify which students are eligible to be hired in the Student Employment Program.
D. The supervisor is responsible for notifying applicants who were not selected and that the position has been closed.
E. Research assistants, instructional aides, and tutors are approved through the Office of the Academic Dean. Students may seek employment for one of the positions by notifying the Office of the Academic Dean of their interest. This should be done within the first two weeks of the fall/spring term in which employment is desired.
V. Payroll and time sheets
A. The pay rate for all student employees is $10.00 per hour.
B. To accept an offer of employment, a student must sign the Student Employment Acceptance form and submit it to the Financial Aid Office.
C. Before a hired student may work, the student must submit to the Financial Aid Office a W-4, I-9 and I-9 related documents, and the direct deposit form authorized by a representative of the student’s bank.
D. Student employees log their hours on a Student Employment Time Sheet. If a student is employed in more than one position, a time sheet for each position should be submitted. Time sheets are available on the student portal and on the APTS common drive.
E. When classes are in session, a total of no more than 15 hours a week may be recorded; when classes are not in session a student may record up to 19 hours a week.
F. Time sheets are month specific (from the 21st of one month to the 20th of the following month) and are due on the 20th of each month. Should the 20th occur during a time when the Seminary is closed, time sheets are due the next day that the Seminary is open. Both the student and the supervisor must sign the time sheets. Should the supervisor be unavailable, the Director of Financial Aid may sign for the supervisor. Failure to submit time sheets on time will result in not receiving your pay check until the following student payroll cycle.
G. Students are paid by direct deposit on the last week day of each month.
VI. Appraisal of Student Workers
Supervisors will evaluate the performance of each student employee on the Student Employee Performance Appraisal Form on or before April 15th or when a student ceases to be employed. The appraisal form will be submitted to the Director of Financial Aid.
VII Resignation and Termination
A. A student is asked to give two-weeks notice to the supervisor prior to resigning from any position. This includes January and summer terms. The supervisor will give notice in writing of the students resignation to the Director of Financial Aid. If the position needs to be posted, refer to III. A.
B. If a supervisor wishes to cease the employment of a student, the supervisor will give written notification to the Director of Financial Aid and to the Director of Human Resources. Following approval and direction from the Directors of Financial Aid and Human Resources, the supervisor may discharge the student from the position. Unless mitigating circumstances are present, a student ordinarily will have two-weeks notice that employment is ending.
VIII. Questions and Concerns
Questions and concerns regarding the Student Employment Program may be addressed to the Director of Financial Aid. Should the student not be satisfied with the response of the Director of Financial Aid, the matter may be addressed to the Vice President for Admissions.
Note: Sections 9, 10 and 11 are Federal Requirements mandated by the Department of Education.
The Seminary participates in the Federal Direct Student Loan Program. This Title IV Federal Aid Program may be used by matriculated masters-level students for educational expenses, not to exceed the cost of attendance for the academic terms in which they are enrolled. Loans must be paid back with interest and should be considered only as a last resort.
For the 2017-2018 academic year, eligible students may borrow an unsubsidized Direct Loan for which interest begins to accrue immediately. Direct Loans are made by the U.S. Department of Education and are originated through the Seminary Financial Aid Office.
The interest rate for graduate unsubsidized Direct Loans disbursed on or after July 1, 2017, through June 30, 2018, is fixed at 6%. A loan fee is charged and will be deducted by the Federal Government, proportionally with each disbursement. The fee is 1.066% for loans with a first disbursement date on or after October 1, 2017, and before October 1, 2018.
A Direct Loan recipient must maintain at least half-time enrollment status and continue to meet the Seminary’s Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards for Students Receiving Title IV Aid (Refer to Section 11 of this handbook.).
Consequences of having a student loan in default status can be severe. For example:
• The entire unpaid balance of your loan and any interest is immediately due and payable.
• You lose eligibility for deferment, forbearance, and repayment plans.
• The loan will be reported as delinquent to credit bureaus, damaging your credit rating which will affect your ability to buy a car, house or get a credit card.
• Your student loan debt will increase due to late fees, additional interest and collection fees.
• The Federal Government may request that your employer garnish your wages to apply towards payment of your loan.
• You may not be eligible for institutional funding for future university or seminary studies.
Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary (Austin Seminary, APTS or Seminary) participates in the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program, a Title IV student financial aid program, through which an eligible master’s-level graduate student may qualify for an unsubsidized student loan. To maintain eligibility, each student must meet Austin Seminary’s satisfactory academic progress standards for participation in this Title IV Financial Aid Program.
A. Satisfactory Academic Progress
A student is judged to be making satisfactory progress toward a Master of Arts (Theological Studies) (MATS), Master of Arts in Ministry Practice (MAMP), or Master of Divinity (MDiv) degree by maintaining:
• a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 on a 4.0 scale, and
• by ongoing enrollment in sufficient course work to complete the degree in no more than six years after matriculation.
The progress of a student’s participation in the Direct Loan Program at Austin Seminary will be guided by the number of credits required for the degree program
• 180 credits (90 semester hours) for the Master of Divinity
• 102 credits (51 semester hours) for the Master of Arts (Theological Studies)
• 102 credits (51 semester hours) for the Master of Arts in Ministry Practice
To satisfy the term and annual enrollment (pace) standard an:
• MDiv student must complete at least 12 credits in each fall and spring term and at least 30 credits in each academic year of enrollment.
• MATS and MAMP students must complete at least 12 credits in each fall and spring term.
Each student’s progress is monitored after each payment period. Written notification will be sent to a student from the Financial Aid Office when eligibility for aid is affected by the Satisfactory Academic Progress evaluation.
B. Failure to Meet Satisfactory Academic Progress
Financial Aid Warning
At the end of a payment period in which a student does not meet the satisfactory academic progress definition, the student enters a financial aid warning status in which the student:
• may receive Title IV Funds for the subsequent payment period; or
• be placed directly on Financial aid probation.
Financial Aid Probation
For the payment period following a payment period during which a student was on financial aid warning, the Seminary may place the student on Financial Aid Probation and disburse Title IV Funds to the student if:
The student appeals the determination and
• The Seminary determines that the student should be able to meet the institution’s satisfactory academic progress standards by the end of the subsequent payment period; or
• The Seminary develops an academic plan for the student that, if followed, will ensure that the student is able to meet the Seminary’s satisfactory academic progress standards by a specific point in time.
A student on financial aid probation for a payment period may not receive Title IV Funds for the subsequent payment period unless the student achieves satisfactory academic progress or the Seminary determines that the student met the requirements specified by the institution in the academic plan for the student.
Reinstatement of Eligibility for Title IV Funds
A student regains eligibility for Title IV Funds when
• satisfactory academic progress standards have been achieved or
• an appeal has been approved for a student. Students for whom appeals have been approved may receive funds for the following semester only unless the student is successfully following and academic plan made for the student.
C. GPA and pace of completion are affected by course incompletes, withdrawals, repetitions and transfers of credit from other institutions as outlined:
A student can be granted, by the academic dean, an extension in order to complete the requirements for a particular course. An extension can be for no more than six weeks beyond the end of the course, at which point a grade must be posted. A grade of I (Incomplete) is temporarily posted during the extension period. It has no bearing on the grade point average. If the work is not completed by the deadline, the grade of I becomes an F, indicating the student has failed the course.
Also, if a final course grade is not submitted for a student who has neither completed the requirements for a course, nor been granted an extension by the academic dean, a grade of F shall be posted indicating the student has failed the course.
Repeats are not allowed except in the case of a required course for which a grade of D or F is received. When a grade of D or F is received and the course is repeated, all instances of the course appear on the student’s transcript. The grades earned for all courses are counted in the student’s grade point average. D and F grades may cause a student to not satisfy the qualitative (GPA) and/or quantitative (pace) standard of the Satisfactory Academic Progress requirement.
The number of transfer credits approved is tabulated in the total credits attempted. The minimum number of credits required for the annual enrollment (pace) standard could decrease, though not lower than the minimum of 12 credits in fall and 12 credits in spring. Grades of transfer credits are not included in the grade point average calculation.
A withdrawn (dropped) course is not counted as attempted toward the maximum credit limit for the degree. However, course withdrawals may increase the amount of time a student must be enrolled and may cause a student to take course work beyond the pace standard. A student enrolled beyond the pace standard is not eligible for financial aid.
Appeal is the process by which a student who is not meeting the Austin Seminary’s satisfactory academic progress standards petitions the Seminary for reconsideration of the student’s eligibility for Title IV Funds. The appeal must be in written form, state the reason that caused the student’s inability to meet satisfactory academic progress and how conditions have changed that will allow the student to meet the satisfactory academic progress standards during the subsequent semester. Reasons for an appeal include the death of a family member, illness or injury of the student.
Cumulative credit includes all equivalent transfer credits and all prior Austin Seminary course work whether or not financial aid was received for those credits.
Financial aid probation
Financial aid probation means a status assigned by the Seminary to a student who fails to make satisfactory academic progress and who has appealed and has had eligibility for aid reinstated.
Financial aid warning
Financial aid warning means a status assigned to a student who fails to make satisfactory academic progress.
Process of Withdrawal from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary
Should a student enrolled in the MATS, MAMP, or MDiv degree program at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary (Austin Seminary, Seminary, institution or school) decide to withdraw from the Seminary, the student shall notify the President in writing indicating the reason for withdrawal and providing an effective withdraw date.
1. When a recipient of Title IV loan assistance withdraws from an institution during a payment period or period of enrollment in which the recipient began attendance, the institution must determine the amount of Title IV loan assistance that the student earned as of the student's withdrawal date.
- For a student enrolled In a standard-term program that is measured in credit hours, the student is considered to have withdrawn from a payment period or period of enrollment if the student does not complete all the days in the payment period or period of enrollment that the student was scheduled to complete;
- For a student in a nonstandard-term program, the student is not scheduled to begin another course within a payment period or period of enrollment for more than 45 calendar days after the end of the module the student ceased attending, unless the student is on an approved leave of absence.
2. For a payment period or period of enrollment in which courses in the program are offered in modules—
• A student is not considered to have withdrawn if the institution obtains written confirmation from the student at the time that would have been a withdrawal of the date that he or she will attend a module that begins later in the same payment period or period of enrollment; and
• For nonterm or nonstandard-term programs, the module begins no later than 45 calendar days after the end of the module the student ceased attending.
• If an institution has obtained the written confirmation of future attendance, but the student does not return as scheduled --
o The student is considered to have withdrawn from the payment period or period of enrollment; and
o The student's withdrawal date and the total number of calendar days in the payment period or period of enrollment would be the withdrawal date and total number of calendar days that would have applied if the student had not provided written confirmation of a future date of attendance.
• If a student withdraws from a term-based credit-hour program offered in modules during a payment period or period of enrollment and reenters the same program prior to the end of the period, subject to conditions established by the Secretary, the student is eligible to receive Title IV loan assistance for which he or she was eligible prior to withdrawal, including funds that were returned by the institution or student under the provisions of this section, provided the student's enrollment status continues to support the full amount of those funds.
3. For purposes of this section relative to Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, “Title IV assistance” includes only unsubsidized loan assistance from the Federal Direct Loan Program.
4. If the total amount of Title IV loan assistance that the student earned is less than the amount of Title IV loan assistance that was disbursed to the student as of the date of the institution's determination that the student withdrew—
• The difference between these amounts must be returned to the Title IV Program.
• No additional disbursements may be made to the student for the payment period or period of enrollment.
5. If the total amount of Title IV loan assistance that the student earned is greater than the total amount of Title IV loan assistance, that was disbursed to the student, as of the date of the institution's determination that the student withdrew, the difference between these amounts must be treated as a post-withdrawal disbursement.
• If outstanding charges exist on the student's account, the institution may credit the student's account up to the amount of outstanding charges with all or a portion of any—
• Loan funds that make up the post-withdrawal disbursement only after obtaining confirmation from the student that he or she still wishes to have the loan funds disbursed.
• The institution must offer to disburse directly to a student, any amount of a post-withdrawal disbursement of loan funds that is not credited to the student's account.
• The institution must make a direct disbursement of any loan funds that make up the post-withdrawal disbursement only after obtaining the student's, confirmation that the student still wishes to have the loan funds disbursed in accordance.
• The institution must provide within 30 days of the date of the institution's determination that the student withdrew, a written notification to the student that—
o Requests confirmation of any post-withdrawal disbursement of loan funds that the institution wishes to credit to the student's account identifying the type and amount of those loan funds and explaining that a student, may accept or decline some or all of those funds;
o Requests confirmation of any post-withdrawal disbursement of loan funds that the student can receive as a direct disbursement, identifying the type and amount of these Title IV Funds and explaining that the student may accept or decline some or all of those funds;
o Explains that a student who does not confirm that a post-withdrawal disbursement of loan funds may be credited to the student's account may not receive any of those loan funds as a direct disbursement unless the institution concurs;
o Explains the obligation of the student to repay any loan funds he or she chooses to have disbursed; and
o Advises the student, that no post-withdrawal disbursement of loan funds will be made, unless the institution chooses to make a post-withdrawal disbursement based on a late response if the student does not respond within 14 days of the date that the institution sent the notification, or a later deadline set by the institution.
• The deadline for a student to accept a post-withdrawal disbursement must be the same for both a confirmation of a direct disbursement of the post-withdrawal disbursement of loan funds and a confirmation of a post-withdrawal disbursement of loan funds to be credited to the student's account.
• If the student submits a timely response that confirms that he or she wishes to receive all or a portion of a direct disbursement of the post-withdrawal disbursement of loan funds, or confirms that a post-withdrawal disbursement of loan funds may be credited to the student's account, the institution must disburse the funds in the manner specified by the student as soon as possible, but no later than 180 days after the date of the institution's determination that the student withdrew.
• If a student submits a late response to the institution's notice requesting confirmation, the institution may make the post-withdrawal disbursement of loan funds as instructed by the student provided the institution disburses all the funds accepted by the student or decline to do so.
• If a student submits a late response to the institution and the institution does not choose to make the post-withdrawal disbursement of loan funds, the institution must inform the student in writing of the outcome of the post-withdrawal disbursement request.
• If the student does not respond to the institution's notice, no portion of the post-withdrawal disbursement of loan funds that the institution wishes to credit to the student's account, nor any portion of loan funds that would be disbursed directly to the student may be disbursed.
• An institution must document in the student's file the result of any notification made of the student's right to cancel all or a portion of loan funds or of the student's right to accept or decline loan funds, and the final determination made concerning the disbursement.
B. Withdrawal date for a student who ceases attendance from the Seminary (which is not required to take attendance).
For a student who ceases attendance at the Seminary, the student’s withdrawal date is –
1. The date, as determined by the Seminary, that the student began the withdrawal process prescribed by the Seminary;
2. The date, as determined by the Seminary, that the student otherwise provided official notification to the Seminary, in writing or orally, of his or her intent to withdraw;
3. If the student ceases attendance without providing official notification to the Seminary of his or her withdrawal in accordance with (a) or (b) of this section, the mid-point of the payment period or period of enrollment;
4. If the Seminary determines that a student did not begin the school’s withdrawal process or otherwise provide official notification (including notice from an individual acting on the student’s behalf) to the Seminary of his or her intent to withdraw because of illness, accident, grievous personal loss, or other such circumstances beyond the student’s control, the date that the institution determines is related to that circumstance
5. If a student does not return from an approved leave of absence as defined in the approved leave of absence section of this document, the date that the Seminary determines the student began the leave of absence or
6. If a student takes a leave of absence that does not meet the Title IV requirements of a leave of absence, the date that the student began the leave of absence.
• An institution may allow a student who initially submitted official notification of withdrawal to rescind his or her official notification to withdraw by filing a written statement that he or she is continuing to participate in academically-related activities and intends to complete the payment period or period of enrollment.
• If the student subsequently ceases to attend the institution prior to the end of the payment period or period of enrollment, the student's rescission is negated and the withdrawal date is the student's original date, unless a later date is determined by the student’s last date of attendance at an academically-related activity provided that the institution documents that the activity is academically related and documents the student's attendance at the activity.
7. If a student both begins the withdrawal process prescribed by the institution and otherwise provides official notification of his or her intent to withdraw, the student's withdrawal date is the earlier date unless a later date is determined by the student’s last date of attendance at an academically-related activity.
8. Even if a student began the withdrawal process, an institution may use as the student's withdrawal date a student's last date of attendance at an academically-related activity provided that the institution documents that the activity is academically related and documents the student's attendance at the activity.
9. An institution must document a student's withdrawal date determined in accordance with the specific category of withdrawal and maintain the documentation as of the date of the institution's determination that the student withdrew.
10. “Official notification to the institution” is a notice of intent to withdraw that a student provides to President of the Seminary.
C. Approved leave of absence
LEAVE OF ABSENCE
A request for a leave of absence ordinarily is made only for reasons of health, to make possible a period of study in another theological Seminary, or to enable the student to engage in noncredit practice of ministry. Such a request is addressed in writing to the Academic Dean. The Academic Dean considers the request and presents it to the faculty in executive session for approval. A leave of absence is granted for a particular period not to exceed one academic year.
Institutions do not have to treat a leave of absence as a withdrawal if it is an approved leave of absence by the Seminary standard and meets the Title IV leave of absence standard. For purposes of Title IV assistance, a leave of absence is an approved leave of absence if—
• The student followed the Seminary's policy in requesting the leave of absence;
• The institution approved the student's request in accordance with the institution's policy;
• The Seminary determines that there is a reasonable expectation that the student will return to the school;
• The leave of absence does not involve additional charges by the institution;
• The number of days in the approved leave of absence, when added to the number of days in all other approved leaves of absence, does not exceed 180 days in any 12-month period.
• Except for nonterm credit hour program, upon the student’s return from the leave of absence, the student is permitted to complete he coursework he or she began prior to the leave of absence; and
• The institution explains to the student, prior to granting the leave of absence, the effects that the student's failure to return from a leave of absence may have on the student's loan repayment terms, including the exhaustion of some or all of the student's grace period.
• If a student does not resume attendance at the Seminary at or before the end of a leave of absence that meets the requirements of this section, the Seminary must treat the student as a withdrawal in accordance with the requirements of this section.
• The number of days in a leave of absence is counted beginning with the first day of the student's initial leave of absence in a 12-month period.
• A “12-month period” begins on the first day of the student's initial leave of absence.
D. Calculation of the amount of Title IV assistance earned by the student:
1. The amount of the unsubsidized Direct Loan through Austin Seminary that is earned by the student is calculated by—
• Determining the percentage of the Title IV assistance that has been earned by the student,
• Applying this percentage to the total amount of Title IV loan assistance that was disbursed (and that could have been disbursed) to the student for the payment period or period of enrollment as of the student's withdrawal date.
2. Percentage earned. The percentage of Title IV loan assistance that has been earned by the student is—
• Equal to the percentage of the payment period or period of enrollment that the student completed (as determined by the student's withdrawal date), if this date occurs on or before completion of 60 percent of the payment period, or
• 100 percent if the student’s withdrawal date occurs after completion of 60 percent of the payment period or period of enrollment.
3. Total amount of unearned Title IV assistance to be returned. The unearned amount of Title IV assistance to be returned is calculated by subtracting the amount of Title IV assistance earned by the student from the amount of Title IV aid that was disbursed to the student as of the date of the Seminary’s determination that the student withdrew.
4. Use of payment period or period of enrollment.
• Payment period must be used for a student who attended a standard term-based (semester) educational program.
• Either a payment period or period of enrollment may be used for a student who attended a non-term or nonstandard term-based educational program. An institution must consistently use the same period for students who withdraw from the same non-term or nonstandard term-based educational programs.
E. Percentage of payment period or period of enrollment is determined by:
• dividing the total number of calendar days in the payment period or period of enrollment into the number of calendar days completed in that period as of the student's withdrawal date.
• The total number of calendar days in a payment period or period of enrollment includes all days within the period that the student was scheduled to complete, except that scheduled breaks of at least five consecutive days are excluded from the total number of calendar days in a payment period or period of enrollment and the number of calendar days completed in that period.
F. Return of unearned aid, responsibility of the institution.
• The Seminary must return the lesser of –
o total amount of unearned Title IV assistance; or
o An amount equal to the total institutional charges incurred by the student for the payment period or period of enrollment multiplied by the percentage of Title IV assistance that has not been earned by the student.
• “Institutional charges” are tuition, fees, campus housing and other educationally-related expenses assessed by the Seminary
G. Return of unearned aid, responsibility of the student.
After the Seminary has allocated the unearned funds for which it is responsible to return to the Title IV Fund, the student must return the amount of the unearned assistance to the Seminary.
H. Timeframe for the return of Title IV funds.
• An institution must return the amount of Title IV Funds for which it is responsible as soon as possible but no later than 45 days after the date of the institution's determination that the student withdrew.
• For an institution that is not required to take attendance, an institution must determine the withdrawal date for a student who withdraws without providing notification to the institution no later than 30 days after the end of the earlier of the—
o Payment period or period of enrollment, as appropriate;
o Academic year in which the student withdrew; or
o Educational program from which the student withdrew.
I. Consumer information. The Seminary provides students with information about the requirements of this section in accordance with 34 CFR 668.43.
J. Definitions. For purposes of this section—
1. Title IV loan funds that “could have been disbursed” are determined in accordance with the late disbursement provisions in 34 CFR 668.164(g).
2. A “period of enrollment” is the academic period established by the institution for which institutional charges are generally assessed (i.e. length of the student's program or academic year).
3. A “recipient of Title IV loan assistance” is a student for whom the requirements of §668.164(g)(2) have been met.
4. Terms are “substantially equal in length” if no term in the program is more than two weeks of instructional time longer than any other term in that program.
5. A program is “offered in modules” if a course or courses in the program do not span the entire length of the payment period or period of enrollment.
6. “Academic attendance” and “attendance at an academically-related activity”—
• Include, but are not limited to—
o Physically attending a class where there is an opportunity for direct interaction between the instructor and students;
o Submitting an academic assignment;
o Taking an exam, an interactive tutorial, or computer-assisted instruction;
o Attending a study group that is assigned by the institution;
o Participating in an online discussion about academic matters; and
o Initiating contact with a faculty member to ask a question about the academic subject studied in the course; and
• Do not include activities where a student may be present, but not academically engaged, such as—
o Living in institutional housing;
o Participating in the institution's meal plan;
o Logging into an online class without active participation; or
o Participating in academic counseling or advisement.
A determination of “academic attendance” or “attendance at an academically-related activity” must be made by the institution; a student's certification of attendance that is not supported by institutional documentation is not acceptable.