What type of financial aid is available?
Depending on your program and enrollment, you may qualify for Merit Scholarships, Tuition Grant, Housing Grant, Work-Support opportunity and/or federal student loans.
How many credits do I have to take?
A student must be enrolled in a degree-seeking program or the Urban Ministry Certificate for a minimum of six credits to be considered for scholarships, grants, and/or work-support. Students can qualify for federal loans by maintaining a half-time enrollment status in a degree-seeking program.
Do I have to apply for need-based financial aid and loans every year?
Yes, the Seminary’s Financial Aid program is based on a nine-month academic period. A student must file a FAFSA using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool and the PTS Financial Aid Application to be evaluated each year. Other documentation may be requested. Students who cannot use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool are required to provide Tax Transcripts provided by the IRS. Additional forms are required for the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan and Federal Graduate Plus Loans.
When should I apply for need-based financial aid?
Need-based aid for the Master's program (tuition grants, housing grants, work-support) and Urban Ministry Certificate processing begins in November of the previous academic year and continues until the funds have been exhausted. Incomplete packets are not processed. It is recommended that students file no later than April 1 although it is not guaranteed that aid will still be available. A student MUST re-apply each year. Need based aid is not guaranteed unless a student continues to qualify financially, files in a timely manner as complete packets are processed on a "first come - first serve" basis, and meets the requirements of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP).
What if I file an extension with the IRS?
A student, who is applying for the PTS need-based aid and files an IRS extension, is required to submit additional documentation to the Financial Aid Office. That documentation must include copies of the IRS Form 4868 and the IRS confirmation of receipt. Policy regarding the required documentation remains the same; e.g.. PTS Financial Aid Application. The student's aid will be processed with estimated numbers. The student must submit an actual Tax Transcript or complete the IRS Data Retrieval on the FAFSA by June 1. If all of the necessary application pieces are not submitted by June 1, the application will be placed at the bottom of the Wait List until all documentation is received.
If I am awarded aid and then I defer my enrollment until Term II, will the Seminary hold my aid for me?
No, aid is awarded for students beginning in Term I. If a student defers until a later date, the aid will be awarded to the next name on the Wait List. If a student plans to begin in Term II or III, he/she should contact the Financial Aid Office to inquire about any available funds.
Is there a maximum amount of aid that I can receive in an academic year?
A student is required to report all aid that is received to the Financial Aid Office. Because of federal regulation, if you have a loan your total aid cannot exceed your Cost of Attendance. If this occurs, the Financial Aid Office is obligated to reduce or cancel awards. Loans are always returned first. If a student is receiving financing in any form; scholarships, grants, in-kind support, that equal or exceed the Cost of Attendance, PTS reserves the right to reassign our need-based aid to students on the Wait List.
How does financial aid affect my bill?
If a student's paperwork is complete and his/her aid is approved, it will appear on the bill. Aid is not disbursed to your account until after the Add-Drop period. Contact the Financial Aid Department if you are expecting Seminary or federal aid that does not appear on your account. If your federal loan proceeds create a credit balance, the Student Account Office will issue you a refund check.
What happens if I lost my Award Letter?
The Award Letter is your contract for PTS need-based financial aid. Your signature affirms that you are familiar with the financial aid policies. No aid will be credited to a student's account until the contract is signed and returned to the Financial Aid Office. If no signed contract is received, the Financial Aid Office will re-assign your grant to the next student on the Wait List.
What happens if a student resigns during the term?
If a student resigns during the term, you must contact the Financial Office. You may be entitled to a partial reduction of Seminary charges but your eligibility for aid may change based on your enrollment status. If a student withdraws from a class (or the program), need-based grants will be revoked for that class(es). Financial aid for the academic year will be forfeited if a student drops below full-time enrollment and the aid cannot be reinstated in future terms.
If a student fails to enroll in a term, all aid will be canceled and will not be reinstated for that academic year. All Merit Scholarships are revoked and will not be reinstated for future years. (The Admissions and Standing Committee has the authority to reinstate Merit Scholarship for medical issues; if given prior notification.) Need-based aid will be canceled and awarded to the next person on the Wait-list. The student may apply for need-based aid for the following year. In order to return to a work-support position, the student must be enrolled and inquire at the Financial Aid Department. Jobs will not be held if a student resigns for any reason.
- You will not qualify for PTS need-based aid if you are enrolled less than six credits per term.
- You will not demonstrate “need” if your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), adjusted gross income, income, or liquid assets are higher than the Cost of Attendance.
- You must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress.
- Students who are in “default” of their federal educational loans are ineligible for institutional aid.
- PTS does not award aid beyond the specified length of the program chosen. Financial aid will not be provided to any student beyond the minimum credits required for graduation. Should you fail or withdraw with faculty approval from a course(s), there is no aid when the class is repeated.
- If you received financial aid to complete one program, you are not eligible for financial aid for a second program until three years (nine terms) have passed.
- If you misrepresented your financial circumstances on your application, you forfeit consideration for all future aid.
Are there exceptions to the full-time status requirement for "full-time need-based aid"?
PTS, very generously, makes two exceptions to the full-time status requirement for "full-time need-based aid".
- One exception is the graduating senior whose enrollment for the final term is part time. Tuition grants are awarded only if the preceding term had been full-time enrollment.
- Second, a student enrolled full time in a joint (dual) degree program but only in attendance at the Seminary part time.
- For both exceptions, the students will qualify for the PTS Tuition Grant for PTS classes only (PTS will not give aid for classes at another institution.). The student will not qualify for the Housing Grant, Work Support, or Merit Scholarship. The student can file a written appeal with Financial Aid Committee to be considered for work-support eligibility. Eligibility will be based on demand; preference will be given to students enrolled full-time in PTS classes.
Can I receive financial aid for summer enrollment or CPE?
The summer term is considered a "header" for the academic year. Students who qualify for tuition grants for the following academic year may have the summer PTS tuition covered by the Fall grant amount. There are no Merit Scholarships, Housing Grants or work support opportunities during the summer months. Clinical Pastoral Education Credits (CPE) do NOT qualify for PTS grants or loans. Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans are available for all master degree-seeking students who meet the standard qualifications and enroll in a minimum of three PTS credits during the summer. Students must submit a separate Summer Loan Request Form and complete the FAFSA. Students qualify for a maximum of $20,500 from June through May. Borrowing during the summer months will reduce the amount of Federal Unsubsidized Loan available during the academic year. Students may make up that amount by borrowing the Federal Graduate Plus Loan, see web-site for details.
How often are the PTS Financial Aid Policies Reviewed?
The Financial Aid Policies are subject to change. They are operative for the current academic year and represent no commitment beyond the current year, The Financial Aid Policy Committee, conducts an annual review. Updates will be posted to the website.
When I receive aid, what is my student obligation?
Financial aid funds depend on the generous contributions from individuals, churches, and organizations. At the time the student receives a tuition grant contract, he/she is asked to write a letter of thanks. Guidelines for such letters are provided by the Financial Aid Office.
Are my Wesley credits paid for by my PTS financial aid?
Pittsburgh Theological Seminary has agreed to financially assist our Methodist students who are required to enroll in Wesley classes. If a PTS student qualifies for the Tuition Grant, we will allow the student to use the grant toward Wesley credits.(Merit Scholarships are not disbursed for Wesley classes.) The following policies will apply:
- Students cannot receive more than the amount of the Tuition Grant. Any difference in cost between PTS and Wesley is the responsibility of the student.
- Students should pay Wesley upon receipt of the Wesley bill. PTS will reimburse after the credits are transferred into PTS.
- PTS will not pay for classes that are taken at the Wesley campus, if the same class is offered on the PTS campus.
- It is the student's responsibility to give written notification to the Financial Aid Office if they are enrolling in Wesley classes and expect financial assistance from PTS.
- Students must submit the written reimbursement request by the end of Term III Add-Drop period. Requests received after Term III Add-Drop cannot be met. At the end of the Add-Drop period, left-over tuition grants are distributed to students on the Wait List so funding is not available for late requests.
Please see below for general information regarding Financial Aid at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and the policies that govern this aid.