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, 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 financial aid 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 reapply 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 equals or exceeds 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 Office 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, he/she must contact the Financial Office. The student may be entitled to a partial reduction of Seminary charges but his/her eligibility for aid may change based on the 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 in the Financial Aid Office. Jobs will not be held if a student resigns for any reason.
What are some reasons that will disqualify me for PTS need-based grants?
- 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 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 degree program but is 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 the 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 fll 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's-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.
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.
What is my student obligation when I receive aid?
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, remaining tuition grants are distributed to students on the Wait List so funding is not available for late requests.
Student Lending Code of Conduct
Pittsburgh Theological Seminary is committed to providing students with the best information and processing alternatives available regarding student borrowing. In support of this and in an effort to rule out any perceived or actual conflict of interest between Pittsburgh Theological Seminary officers, employees, or agents and education loan lenders, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary has adopted the following:
- Pittsburgh Theological Seminary does not participate in any revenue-sharing arrangements with any lender.
- Pittsburgh Theological Seminary does not permit any officer, employee, or agent of the school who is employed in the Financial Aid Office or is otherwise involved in the administration of education loans to accept any gifts of greater than a nominal value from any lender, guarantor, or service.
- Pittsburgh Theological Seminary does not permit any officer, employee, or agent of the school who is employed in the Financial Aid Office or is otherwise involved in the administration of education loans to accept any fee, payment, or other financial benefit (including a stock purchase option) from a lender or affiliate of a lender as compensation for any type of consulting arrangement or contract to provide services to a lender or on behalf of a lender relating to education loans.
- Pittsburgh Theological Seminary does not permit any officer, employee, or agent of the school who is employed in the Financial Aid Office or is otherwise involved in the administration of education loans to accept any thing of value from a lender, guarantor, or group of lenders and/or guarantors in exchange for service on an advisory board, commission, or other group established by such a lender, guarantor group of lenders, and/or guarantors.
- Pittsburgh Theological Seminary does not assign a lender to any first-time borrower through financial aid packaging or any other means.
- Pittsburgh Theological Seminary recognizes that a borrower has the right to choose any lender from which to borrow to finance his/her education and will not refuse to certify or otherwise deny or delay certification of a loan based on the borrower’s selection of a lender and/or guarantor.
- Pittsburgh Theological Seminary will not request or accept any offer of funds to be used for private education loans to students from any lender in exchange for providing the lender with a specified number or volume of Title IV loans, or a preferred lender arrangement for Title IV loans.
- Pittsburgh Theological Seminary will not request or accept any assistance with financial aid staffing.
Satisfactory Academic Progress for Financial Aid
Financial aid policies and regulations dictate that a student demonstrate Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) in order to continue to receive financial aid. A PTS Award Letter means that a student is financially eligible; the Financial Aid Office is required to determine if the student is also academically eligible when the grades are posted. If a student is NOT academically eligible, no financial aid will be awarded.
The standards and procedures described in this section apply to the following types of aid:
- PTS Merit Scholarships
- PTS Tuition Grants
- PTS Housing Grants
- PTS Work-Support Funds
- Federal Direct Loans
- Federal Graduate Plus Loans
- Some private student loans
Financial aid eligibility is assessed after the completion of Term III. This review concentrates on the grades and credits earned at the end of the academic year which includes Term I, Term II, and Term III. The evaluation determines a student’s eligibility for the following academic year.
If a student applies for federal loans during the school year, he/she must be in good academic standing at that time and the evaluation will include terms in the same academic year. For example, Term I grades and credits will be included in the evaluation for a student who applies for a Federal Direct Loan for Term II only. The number of credits will be adjusted accordingly.
Students who apply for financial aid will receive a letter from the Financial Aid Office at the end of the academic year which advises them if they have not achieved Satisfactory Academic Progress.
Please note that there are differences in the academic standards for institutional aid versus federal student aid. The entire policy can be viewed at Academic Progress Standard for Financial Aid.
Financial Aid Appeal Form for Title IV Funds
If a student has not maintained the academic standards for financial aid, he/she may file an appeal with the Financial Aid Committee for reinstatement of Title IV Federal Student Aid. This appeal will not reinstate PTS funding.
The appeal will only be considered for “mitigating circumstances” per federal regulation; e.g. death of a relative, serious injury or illness in which a student required an extended recovery period, other special circumstances. Under such circumstances, the student should submit a completed Appeal Form and attach the required supporting documentation. Be specific and site what measures will ensure future academic success.
Forward all appeals to the Director of Financial Aid. Appeals will be evaluated by the Financial Aid Committee or the Dean of Faculty.
Return of Title IX Funds
PTS Refund Policy for Title IV Funds
Students who officially withdraw from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary during the term may be eligible for a refund of a portion of the tuition and fees paid for that term. Title IV aid (Federal Direct Loans and Federal Graduate Plus Loans) refunds are based on the date the student began the institution's withdrawal process or the Registrar’s official date of withdrawal. Students who do not follow the official withdrawal procedure but who stop attending all classes will be considered to have withdrawn at the 50 percent point of the term unless attendance is documented after that time.
Return of Title IV Funds Formula
A student’s resignation and tuition charges will be adjusted in accordance with the official federal “Return of Title IV Aid” formula. The federal formula is applicable to any student receiving federal aid who withdraws from the Seminary during the first 60 percent of a term. These students will have their federal aid adjusted based on the percent of the term completed. Basically, students will be entitled to retain the same percent of the federal aid received as the percent of the term completed. This percent is calculated by dividing the number of days in the term (excluding breaks of five days of longer) into the number of days completed prior to the withdrawal (excluding breaks of five days or longer). There will be no adjustment to federal financial aid after the completion of 60 percent of the term.
How Remaining Refunds are Distributed
If any refund remains after the required return of the Title IV aid, the refund will be used to repay Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, other private sources, and the student. This will be distributed in proportion to the amount paid by each non-federal source, as long as there was no unpaid balance due at the time of withdrawal. If there is an unpaid balance, then all aid sources will be repaid before any refund is paid to the student.
PTS Distribution Policy
Once the amount of the federal funds to be returned has been calculated, the funds will be returned to the appropriate programs in the following order:
- Unsubsidized Direct Loans
- Graduate Plus Loans
Repayment of Unearned Financial Aid Assistance
Students who receive a refund from financial aid before withdrawing from the Seminary may owe a repayment of federal aid funds. Students will be notified by the Business Office and will be given an opportunity to repay the funds to the Seminary. Students who fail to return the unearned portion of federal financial aid funds given to them will have a “hold” placed on their Seminary records.
PTS Enrollment Status
Federal regulations and institutional guidelines require students to be registered before aid can be disbursed. In addition, all programs specify minimum enrollment requirements in order for a student to receive any assistance. At PTS, these requirements are broken into enrollment classifications; full-time, half-time, and less-than-half-time. The chart below indicates the number of credits used to determine a student’s enrollment status.
|Full-time||9 credits or more||6 credits or more|
|Half-time||6 credits||3 credits|
|Less-than-half-time||Less than 4.5 credits||Less than 3 credits|
Leave of Absence
Withdrawal from all classes (hence the Seminary) requires that a student make this known by the use of an official withdrawal form, obtained from the Registrar's Office. Students who wish to return during the same academic year must meet with the Dean of Faculty or Registrar. All students who voluntarily leave for a period greater than two years must reapply through the Admissions Office. Students who have dismissed by action of the faculty must reapply to the Admissions Office. All aid will be canceled when a student ceases to be enrolled.
Voter Registration Information
Voter Registration Information
We encourage students to register to vote and participate in the electoral process. Learn more.
This information is posted as part of our efforts to comply with Section 487(a)(23) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 that references the National Voter Registration Act of 1993(NVRA) and requires higher education institutions to distribute voter registration forms to their students.
Please use this link to apply for your Voter Registration.
More information about the political process and voting can be found at:
- Your Vote, Your Voice The National Campus Voter Registration Project and Your Vote, Your Voice are cooperative efforts of 50 Washington, D.C.-based national higher education associations known collectively as the Washington Higher Education Secretariat.
- Congress.org Congress.org is a non-partisan news and information website devoted to encouraging civic participation. Their mission is to provide information about public policy issues of the day and tips on effective advocacy so that citizens can make their voices heard.
- L.O.V.E. / Let One Voice Emerge is a non-partisan campaign to reach out to the largest group of non-voters in America—nearly 20 million unmarried women—and to support the important work of The Voter Participation Center
Drug Conviction Notice
If a student is convicted for a drug offense that occurs while a student is receiving federal Title IV aid, the student may experience a loss of his/her eligibility for federal financial assistance. The information below satisfies the Seminary's requirement to notify you under a separate and concise notice.
Federal law provides that a student who has been convicted of an offense under any federal or state law involving the possession or sale of a controlled substance during a period of enrollment for which the student was receiving financial aid shall not be eligible to receive any federal or institutional grant, loan, or work assistance during the period beginning on the date of such conviction and ending after the interval specified below.
If convicted of an offense involving:
|Possession of a Controlled Substance||Ineligibility Period|
|First offense||1 year|
|Second offense||2 years|
|Sale of a Controlled Substance||Ineligibility Period|
|First offense||2 years|
A student whose eligibility has been suspended based on a conviction for possession or sale of a controlled substance may resume eligibility before the end of the ineligibility period if:
- the student satisfactorily completes a drug rehabilitation program that complies with the criteria prescribed in the federal regulations and includes two unannounced drug tests;
- the student successfully passes two unannounced drug tests conducted by a drug rehabilitation program that complies with the criteria prescribed in the federal regulations; or
- the conviction is reversed, set aside, or otherwise rendered nugatory.