Guide to Financial Aid at Calvin Theological Seminary

Entrance counseling is intended to educate students about the financial aid process, their rights and responsibilities.  In this document we strive to inform you of all of the information you will need to know regarding receiving financial aid. We encourage you to strive to live as simply as possible so as not to incur unnecessary debt during your study at Calvin Theological Seminary. You are also encouraged to seek financial counseling to assist you in managing a low personal and educational debt load during your studies.

Receiving Your Aid

There are several things you need to do to receive aid:

  1. Accept your aid via the SemLink you were emailed.
  2. Complete all promissory notes. These notes are available in the financial aid office during the first week of class or Gateway.
  3. Complete deferment forms, and all other documentation requested of you by the lenders or the Financial Aid Office. It is your responsibility to get all of the necessary forms and bring them to the financial aid office for certification.
  4. Meet minimum enrollment and academic performance during the entire school year. If you want to make any enrollment changes (distance to residential, residential to distance, full-time to part-time or part-time to full-time), please consult the financial aid office prior to making an official change. This will effect your aid package.
  5. Inform the financial aid office if there is any change in your status as a student.
  6. Review your financial aid each semester.  You have the right to cancel loan disbursements at any time.  Make sure you need the money you are borrowing.  If not, don’t take it. Contact to cancel a loan disbursement.
  7. Apply/reapply for aid using proper forms for each year of study.

Applying Your Aid to Your Expenses

It is your responsibility to make sure that your student tuition/business account is maintained at the Financial Services Offices at Calvin Theological Seminary. Deb Johnson, in the FSO, will handle these accounts. Refer to the Financial Services page for policies on tuition/fees and a payment schedule. Your financial aid will be applied directly to your student tuition account. The Perkins Loan, Stafford Loan, Ministry Incentive Program Loan, and Postman Loan will be disbursed once each semester, in September and February to coincide with the system of registration and billing.  No aid is disbursed in the summer.  If you have credit in your account, you may carry over the balance to help pay for the following term or request to draw funds by completing the form from the FSO. If you are a federal loan recipient your credit balance will be transferred to your bank account automatically at the end of each term per federal regulation. Please make sure the proper paperwork is completed with the financial services office. Remember–your account must be paid in full by the published date for each semester. September 30 for Fall semester and J term and February 20 for Spring semester and May term.  Summer due dates are determined by the timing of the course.  Check your statement carefully.  If your account is not paid, you will not be able to register for the next semester.


If you discontinue or drop courses and fall below the half-time status, your financial aid will be re-evaluated. In most cases you will be asked to return the aid you have received by way of a refund calculation. If refunds are made to federal programs, they will be made in the following order: Federal Stafford Unsubsidized Loan, Federal Stafford Subsidized Loan, Federal Perkins Loan. Canadians who obtain Canada Student Loans need to contact their appropriate provincial institutions and lending institutions directly.

Conditions Governing Awards

The full definition and requirements for specific loans are outlined on the financial aid SemLink pages. Below are some abbreviated descriptions. The Federal Perkins Loan and Federal Stafford Loans apply only to eligible citizens and permanent residents of the United States of America.

Federal Unsubsidized Stafford Loan

The unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan is not interest-free during in school, grace, and deferment periods. As of July 1, 2017 the annual interest rate on the loan is 6%. This interest begins when the institution receives the money from the federal government. The interest rate is adjusted each year by Congress. The interest rate is locked in at the rate it was issued. Interest payments may be made periodically, or the interest may be capitalized and added to the principal. Repayment begins 6 months after you cease to be enrolled at least halftime. You are set up on a 10 year repayment schedule. Awards are not need based and are awarded up to $20,500/year. For US citizens and permanent residents only. To apply for a Direct loan, visit, login, and complete a Master Promissory Note for the subsidized loan. Detailed instructions on how to apply for a federal loan can be found here.  You are responsible to obtain the forms that will defer your payments while in school. The Financial Aid Office will process such deferment form requests when they receive them from the student. The Financial Aid Office does not initiate this process, the student does.

Canada Student Loans

These loans are available to Canadian students. The loan amounts are variable and determined by the Canada Student Loan program. The interest rate is determined at the time of repayment. If you plan to apply for a Canada Student Loan, you are encouraged to do so before the beginning of the school year. Canadian students are responsible for obtaining directly all forms that are necessary for loan processing, deferment, confirmation of enrollment, payment schedules, etc. The Calvin Theological Seminary Financial Aid Office does not carry such forms.

Ministry Incentive Program

The seminary provides an institutional loan fund called the Ministry Incentive Program. Money from this fund is for North American students preparing for ordained Christian Reformed church service. It is a last resort after students have exhausted classical aid, personal and family resources, scholarships, and other loan sources such as Perkins or loans from other federal, state or provincial sources. The amount of loans from this fund is determined by the need of the student and by the amount of money available in the fund. A student may borrow from the seminary loan fund during each year that he or she is enrolled at least half-time, but not for the internship year. No interest is charged and no repayment is required until the sixth month after the end of the last academic quarter in which the borrower was enrolled at least half-time as a student. Interest will be charged at an annual rate of 6% and repayment will begin on a schedule of monthly installments that provide for a minimum repayment rate of $25 per month and full repayment with a five-year period (but not to exceed ten years). 50% of the loan principal will be forgiven over a ten-year period contingent upon the student’s entry into an at least half-time, ordained position in the Christian Reformed Church. Students pay their half of the principal, plus all interest that has accrued, as soon as possible. Each year (for ten years) upon the student’s leaving the seminary, the financial aid office will send a form requesting the vocational (and educational, if applicable) status of the student. This letter is to be signed, certified and sent back in order to qualify for the 5% reduction in the loan principal for that given year. You must also be in good status with your payments on your loan and have a zero balance on Calvin Seminary accounts. The student does not automatically receive the forgiveness. These accounts will be serviced by a third party called University Accounting Services (UAS). Students are required to keep UAS and the business office at the seminary informed of any change of address or status. The above repayment and interest policy will govern the repayment plan that is worked out with the business office at Calvin Theological Seminary & UAS. Repayment shall be made to Calvin Theological Seminary c/o University Accounting Service, Inc., which shall record the repayment performance and notify the seminary’s chief financial officer/accountant and director of financial aid of any irregularities. Since no interest is charged on amounts repaid within six months of leaving the seminary and since interest will be charged only on the unpaid balance, early repayment will benefit the borrower as well as the fund.

 Outside Assistance Programs

There are several other awards, scholarships, and loan options available from other sources. See the financial aid resources page for more information.


The federal government requires, in some selected cases, that information provided by the student on the FAFSA be verified with supporting documentation. If your application is selected for verification, you will need to provide the Financial Aid Office at Calvin Seminary with a copy of your federal income tax transcript (1040) along with other information. If there are differences between the information on your FAFSA and the information provided at the time of verification, it may be necessary to adjust your financial aid.

Enrollment Requirements

The financial aid listed on your award is offered on the assumption that you will be a full-time student unless noted otherwise. For purposes of financial aid students can be classified as full-time or half time. These calculations are for financial aid calculations only and not for academic or completion of program calculations. The minimum of course units required for each enrollment status (semester) is as follows:

M.Div., MTS and M.A. Full-time: Residential: minimum 9 hours or concurrent field education
Distance Learners: minimum 7 hours
Half-time: Residential:  minimum 5 hours or concurrent field education
Distance Learners: 
   Th.M. Full-time: minimum 6 hours or thesis
Half-time: minimum 3 hours or thesis
Ph.D. Full -time: first two years – 2 courses (6 hrs) per semester third year – 6 Ph.D. comprehensives fourth/fifth years – dissertation
Half-time: first four years – 1 course per semester fifth/sixth years – 6 Ph.D. comprehensives seventh/eighth/ninth years – dissertation

If you want to make any enrollment changes (distance to residential, residential to distance, full-time to part-time or part-time to full-time), please consult the financial aid office prior to making an official change. This will effect your aid package. If you withdraw from all courses you will no longer be eligible for scholarships and all federal aid will be reevaluated and refunded.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy

Various federal and state regulations governing student financial assistance require that an institution develop standards to measure academic progress toward a degree, certificate or certification. When you apply for financial aid you will be monitored for Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) whether or not financial aid was applied for or received during any academic period in which you were previously enrolled. You will not be eligible for financial assistance if you do not meet the SAP requirements. Minimum standards, including qualitative and pace of progression must be met by the end of any given term at CTS. Qualitative Requirements of Satisfactory Academic Progress

  • The minimum cumulative CTS grade point average for first level graduate students is 2.67.
  • The minimum cumulative CTS grade point average for second level graduate students is 3.0.
  • The minimum cumulative CTS grade point average for doctoral students is 3.3.

Quantitative and Pace of Progression Requirements of Satisfactory Academic Progress Students must complete a minimum number of credits attempted each semester of enrollment. Attempted hours are based on the number of credits registered at the end of the Registrar’s published add/drop date. See chart below for minimums.

Total Registered Hours per Semester
Minimum Earned, Completed and Passed Hours per Semester

Please Note: You are required to notify the Financial Aid office BEFORE dropping classes or withdrawing from the seminary. By doing so, you will be advised about current and/or future financial aid eligibility. In addition to meeting qualitative and pace of progression standards, you must not have registered for, earned or attempted more than a specific cumulative maximum of semester hours. For a graduate program (master’s or doctoral), the maximum time frame cannot exceed 150% of the published length of the program measured by the number of terms at CTS. Please note, this includes Fall, Spring and Summer terms of enrollment. Helpful Terms to Understand Satisfactory Academic Progress

  • Pace of Progression: the rate at which you are progressing toward the completion of a degree or certificate.
  • Meets SAP: a status assigned to you if you are in good standing and meeting all SAP requirements.
  • Warning: a status assigned to you if you failed to meet SAP requirements (qualitative and/or pace of progression). You will still be allowed to receive financial aid during a warning status.
  • Not Meeting SAP: a status assigned to you if you are not meeting SAP requirements (qualitative, pace of progression and/or maximum hours). You will not be eligible for financial aid with this status.
  • Appeal: the process for a student who failed to meet SAP requirements to petition the school for a reconsideration of financial aid.
  • Financial Aid Probation: a status assigned to you if you failed to maintain SAP but successfully appeal, permitting you to receive financial aid for a specified amount of time.

Timeline for Process When a student fails to meet Satisfactory Academic Standards for one semester, they will receive a warning letter. If the student meets the standards the following semester, no further action is taken. However, if the standards are not met the following semester, the student will lose eligibility. Appeal Process If you fail to meet Satisfactory Academic Progress standards and consequently lose financial aid eligibility, you may submit a written appeal with supporting documentation for reinstatement of financial aid eligibility if you had mitigating circumstances. Mitigating circumstances include:

  • Serious injury of the student and/or the student’s immediate family
  • Serious extended illness of the student and/or the student’s immediate family
  • Death of the student’s relative

If you have had mitigating circumstances, please visit the Financial Aid office to pick up an appeal form. Regaining Eligibility If you fail to meet Satisfactory Academic Progress standards and lose eligibility, you will regain eligibility when you begin to meet those standards. For example, if your GPA drops below the minimum in Fall 2019 semester, you will receive a warning letter. If it stays below the minimum for Spring 2020 semester, you will lose eligibility for the following Fall (2020). If you bring your GPA above the minimum for Fall 2020 semester, you will regain eligibility in Spring 2021. Repeated Coursework Per Federal Regulation, a student is not eligible for Title IV (federal) financial aid for any course they repeat more than once if they have previously passed the course. Example: Student took 301 in Fall 2019 and earned a D. The student can retake the course once and receive financial aid for that course. If the student attempts to retake the course again, no federal financial aid funds can be used to help pay for the class. If you have questions about Satisfactory Academic Progress or other aid eligibility questions, please contact the Financial Aid Office at

Leaves of Absence and Withdrawal

Students attending Calvin Seminary who are receiving federal Title IV financial aid (e.g., federal Stafford, or PLUS)  are required to return the portion of unearned federal aid if they withdraw, do not register, or otherwise fail to complete the period of enrollment for which the Title IV aid was provided. The last date of attendance is determined by the date the student began the seminary’s withdrawal process or the student’s last date of recorded attendance. Students receiving institutional loans and/or scholarships will no longer be eligible for those funds.

In the case of any student for whom it is determined that a return must be made to programs based on prorated charges, federal funds will be returned in the following order: unsubsidized federal Direct loan, subsidized federal Direct loan, federal Perkins loan, federal PLUS, and other Title IV aid programs.

Special Considerations

Students who take a leave of absence, withdraw, or are on a continuation leave and are also Title IV aid recipients should be aware of the following:

  • Students must have completed promissory notes and entrance counseling in order to be eligible for any late payments of federal loan funds after the last date of attendance.
  • Once Calvin Seminary determines that a student has withdrawn or taken a leave of absence, the student is no longer eligible for an in-school status or in-school loan deferment. Any student who had a loan during their study at Calvin Seminary will be required to complete a loan exit interview where information regarding loan repayment will be provided. Students who received scholarship will no longer be eligible.

Determining Your Eligibility for Aid Based on Need

Much of the financial aid available to students at Calvin Seminary is based on need and availability of funds. Eligibility for this kind of aid is determined by comparing the cost of attending Calvin Seminary and the amount you are able to pay towards costs from other sources. For a copy of estimated costs for 2018-2019, see the financial aid SemLink page. This will be updated in April for the upcoming year expenses.


The aid shown on your award notice is the aid for which you are eligible based on the evaluation of the financial aid application materials you filed. Special circumstances have been taken into consideration to the extent possible based on the information reported, the regulations governing programs, and the amount of funds available. If your circumstances change or there are other factors that should be taken into consideration and you would like to request a reevaluation of your aid, you are encouraged to contact the Financial Aid Office at Calvin Theological Seminary.

Renewal of Your Aid

All financial aid is awarded on an annual basis unless stated otherwise. Renewal of aid consideration depends on 1) satisfactory academic progress, 2) eligibility for aid, 3) availability of funds. Renewal applicants must file application materials (all materials) between January 1 and March 1 each year. Notification of eligibility for the following year is sent in May and confirmation of receipt of aid awards need to be received by the financial aid office in July.

Emergency Assistance Funds

Students who have unexpected and unbudgeable expenses and need assistance should contact the financial aid office. We have funds available for expenses such as medical bills, dental bills, car repairs and more. Assistance from this fund is limited to $500 per academic year per student. For more information or for assistance email

Entrance Counseling Certificate

I have received entrance counseling materials. I have read and I understand my rights and responsibilities as a borrower. I also understand, that as a condition of my loans, I must attend classes and make satisfactory academic progress as defined by my school.

I understand that if I receive a Ministry Incentive Loan, Perkins Loan, Postman Loan or Federal Loan that it must be repaid.