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CTSFW

Concordia Theological Seminary – Fort Wayne, IN

CTSFW

Concordia Theological Seminary – Fort Wayne, IN

Financial Aid FAQ

Welcome to our Financial Aid FAQ page. We hope this question-and-answer format helps you understand the financial aid program here at Concordia Theological Seminary (CTSFW), Fort Wayne. If you still have questions after reading through this material, please contact the CTSFW Financial Aid Office (FinAid@ctsfw.edu, (260) 452-2267).

A CTSFW tuition grant is available to students who are enrolled in recognized programs leading to ordination as a pastor (MDiv and AR Programs) and to certification as a deaconess (MA in Deaconess Studies) in The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. In order to be eligible for the CTSFW tuition grant or Federal Student Loans in any given term, you must be accepted into your degree (or certificate) program and be enrolled at least half time in that term. The CTSFW tuition grant is not available for courses that are taken beyond those required to complete one’s program requirements or for pre-seminary courses.

Students enrolled in programs such as DMin, MA, PhD and STM should consult with the dean of their program to find out about grants, scholarships or graduate assistantships that may be available. D.Min., MA, PhD and STM students, who are enrolled at least half time status, are eligible to borrow through the Federal Student Loan Program and to participate in the Federal Work Study Program based upon financial need. Specific Ministry Pastor (SMP) Program students are not eligible for the CTSFW tuition grant program, Federal Student Loan Program or the Federal Work Study Program. Students that have completed the SMP program are eligible to apply for acceptance to either the MDiv or AR program and will then be eligible for the seminary tuition grant.

Satisfactory academic progress must be maintained in order to remain eligible for the CTSFW tuition grant or any Federal Student Loans or Federal Work Study. In order to maintain satisfactory academic progress a student must:

  1. Maintain the minimum required cumulative grade point average for one’s program (see CTSFW Academic Catalog).
  2. Complete at least 67% of all attempted credit hours each quarter.
  3. Complete enrolled program in no more than 150% of the normal length of the program measured in terms of attempted credit hours divided by the number of required credit hours for program completion.

All student loan borrowers must first complete the appropriate year FAFSA and the CTSFW Financial Aid application for their program (see question #2 below). New borrowers will also need to complete Entrance Counseling and a Master Promissory Note. Please see the CTSFW Loan Application Process webpage to learn more about the Federal Student Loan Program.

FAQ

In general, students do not pay taxes on scholarship money used to pay for certain expenses related to the student’s education. The IRS calls these “qualified education expenses,” which include:

  • tuition (shown on 1098T)
  • student fees (shown on 1098T)
  • books 
  • any required equipment or supplies for courses taken

However, if a student has scholarship or grant money left over after covering these “qualified education expenses,” the student must include that excess amount as gross taxable income. That means scholarship or grant money used to pay room, board, rent, utilities, or other living expenses, count as income when calculating your tax liability. 

Students will receive a 1098T tax form from the CTSFW Business Office at the end of the calendar year, which will identify tuition and student fees. Students are encouraged to keep ALL RECIEPTS of expenses to show that monies received through scholarships and grants went towards “qualified education expenses,” like books and any required equipment or supplies for courses taken. If you are unsure of whether something qualifies, you are encourage to speak with a tax professional. 

International students have different tax requirements and receive a 1042S instead of a 1098T. International students should contact the business office at CTSFW with questions.

Please refer to the Cost of Attendance page for the answer to this question.

The foundation of the Seminary’s financial aid program for students in programs leading to ordination and for deaconess students is the Seminary tuition grant that is disbursed for each term in the regular academic year. Eligible residential church worker students will be offered full 100% tuition coverage by obtaining the necessary consent form from the Seminary’s Office of Financial Aid. Students may also receive support in varying amounts from their home congregations, their home districts, and other outside sources, which could count toward their full 100% tuition coverage. Seminary tuition grant funds are awarded only to help students pay for courses that apply to their program. Financial aid is not available for courses taken in addition to those needed for graduation in one’s program. The pre-seminary Summer and Fall Greek courses are covered with 100% Tuition coverage; however, online Greek and other prerequisite courses (OT Bible and NT Bible) are not eligible for the Seminary tuition grant.

After you file your FAFSA and complete your CTSFW Financial Aid application online, you will receive an award letter that will include a Direct Loan Offer sheet with a calculation of your estimated loan eligibility. After receiving your award letter, return your signed and completed Direct Loan Offer sheet to the CTSFW Financial Office. If you are a first-time borrower at CTSFW, you will also need to click on our Loan Application Process link and follow the steps to complete a Master Promissory Note (MPN) and Entrance Counseling. Before receiving a Federal Student Loan, you must have a valid MPN on file with the U.S. Department of Education. Your official loan application is your completed and signed Direct Loan Offer sheet that you must return to the Financial Aid Office each academic year you desire to borrow. Loan applications for the current award year can be submitted until the final day of your last enrollment period for the current award year. Loan processing for the academic award year will begin on July 1. If you don’t need a student loan immediately, please retain your Direct Loan Offer sheet if you need to borrow later in the academic year.

Yes. If you have a temporary cash-flow problem, but don’t need a Federal Student Loan, we may be able to help. The Seminary offers a 60-day, interest-free emergency loan for $1,500 or less to enrolled students (not on vicarage or internship). There is a charge of 1.5% per month on the outstanding balance due, starting with the loan date, on emergency loans that are not repaid within 60 days.  Please contact the CTSFW Financial Aid Office if you need to apply for a short-term emergency loan.

If you receive the CTSFW tuition grant during the regular academic year, you will also receive the CTSFW tuition grant for the summer classes that you take toward the completion of your degree. No additional application is required if you submitted your forms for the regular academic year (Fall, Winter, or Spring Quarters). 

Please note: The tuition for Summer Greek and pre-seminary courses (Old Testament Bible or New Testament Bible) can be found in the current year academic catalog. There is no CTSFW tuition grant for Old Testament Bible or New Testament Bible courses.

CTSFW has two pathways for pursuing scholarships. In some cases you can pursue both. CTSFW offers both internal CTSFW Scholarships, those awarded by CTSFW directly, and outside scholarships, those awarded by organizations outside of CTSFW. Please note that outside scholarships apply only to residential programs. All scholarships have different requirements and eligibility. Not all scholarships apply to all programs. Choose a pathway to learn more. 

Our office will match you with a congregation, church group, or individual wishing to adopt a student. Student Adoption provides supplemental financial support to your regular financial aid and, in addition, allows you to meet new friends through your thank-you notes, emails, or telephone calls with your donors.

MDiv, AR, and Deaconess students may apply for the Student Adoption Program. Each year in February, students complete a Financial Aid application that includes the option to sign-up for this special support opportunity. When you sign-up for Student Adoption, you accept the responsibility to send thank-you notes and/or letters regularly and at a minimum of once each quarter (Fall, Winter, and Spring). Students who fail to correspond with their donors will be terminated from the program. You must sign-up for the Student Adoption Program each year through the Financial Aid application in order to participate.

Steps 1 and 2 apply to all students seeking the CTSFW tuition grant (MDiv, AR, MA in Deaconess Studies Programs) or a Federal Student Loan or a Federal Work-Study job (MDiv, AR, MA in Deaconess Studies, DMin, MA, PhD, or STM Programs).

Step 1 Complete your CTSFW Financial Aid application electronically by clicking here. To receive a Direct Loan for summer courses offered during the summer quarter, you must submit the CTSFW Financial Aid application and FAFSA for the current academic year. If you are planning take classes during the academic year that begins in the Fall Quarter (starting the Tuesday after Labor Day), you must submit a CTSFW Financial Aid application and FAFSA for that academic year.

Step 2 – Use the online form at www.fafsa.ed.gov to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the appropriate year. The FAFSA on the web form will include an option to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. We STRONGLY encourage you to utilize this option if at all possible. Doing so will ensure the accuracy of your tax data, which will result in a more accurate financial aid award. See note below for more details. The CTSFW Federal School Code is G20876.

Please note: The Department of Education will likely flag your FAFSA for verification if you do not use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. If you are selected for verification, and you did not use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, you will be required to request a copy of your tax transcript from the IRS and provide it to CTSFW before any need-based Federal Student Aid (work-study) can be disbursed.

Steps 3 and 4 apply only to those in the MDiv, AR, or MA in Deaconess Studies Programs who qualify for LCMS District and/or congregational aid.

Step 3 – Apply to your LCMS District using the “District Financial Aid Application” (available in PDF), type in your information on Section I, print the form, sign it, ask your pastor to sign it, and mail it to us. Do not mail it to your District. We will complete Section II and then forward it to your district. Your district’s application deadline is on the list of District Financial Aid Contact Persons (click here and use the drop-down menu to find your district information.) Be sure to check for any notation on whether your district requires different or additional application steps.

We must receive your FAFSA, your CTSFW Financial Aid application, and your District Financial Aid Application at least two weeks before your district’s deadline to have time to forward your application to your district office before the deadline. If you are a new student, please be aware that the Seminary and your district cannot process your District Financial Aid application until you have been granted admission to CTSFW and have submitted your FAFSA and CTSFW Financial Aid application. If you are a returning student, please note that your financial aid deadline is May 1 (or two weeks before your district deadline–whichever comes first).

Step 4 – Ask your pastor and the leaders of your home congregation to support your seminary studies. We will also write on your behalf, asking your home congregation to consider supporting you with gifts totaling $4,500 for the academic year in which you are enrolled ($1,500 per quarter). Your congregation may or may not be able to help that much. Ask early to give your congregational leaders time to plan for your support.  We recommend that congregations send their support shortly before the beginning of each academic quarter to the CTSFW Financial Aid Office with a check payable to Concordia Theological Seminary and include the student remittance coupon.

Application Deadlines – If you are a returning student, you must submit your CTSFW Financial Aid application and FAFSA by May 1. This deadline does not apply to you if you are a new student. However, you will miss many other scholarship opportunities if you wait too long. Many scholarships have early deadlines. Please see the Outside Scholarship Opportunities webpage for details. Whether new or returning, you must submit your district application form to the CTSFW Financial Aid Office at least two weeks before your district deadline. Remember that you must submit your FAFSA and CTSFW Financial Aid application before we can complete the financial aid section of your district form and send it to your district.

If you drop a class in the middle of the quarter, all of your CTSFW tuition grant money for that class will be removed from your account and you will be responsible for any remaining tuition costs (see the Academic Calendar or Academic Catalog for tuition refund rate schedule). If you drop classes with the result that you fall below half-time status (half time is 6 credits for M.Div. and A.R.; 4.5 credits for M.A. and M.A. in Deaconess Studies-Residential; 3 credits for S.T.M., Ph.D., D.Min. and M.A. in Deaconess Studies-Distance Learning) you will lose all your CTSFW tuition grant money and any Federal Student Loans will be returned for that quarter. If you withdraw from the Seminary during the middle of the quarter, both your CTSFW grant money and Federal Student Loans are affected. Please click here to read our Return of Financial Aid Funds Policy for Students who withdraw from the Seminary.

You must pay your bill each quarter to attend class the next quarter. Bills are due three weeks after the quarter begins. See the Academic Calendar for the specific due dates. Students who do not pay their bills by the published due date will be charged a late payment fee per the Student Bill Payment Policy. For students enrolled only for intensive courses that begin later in the quarter, your bill is due the first day the intensive class begins. You must make payments at the CTSFW cashier’s window in the Werner Administration Building. Students can pay by cash, check, or credit card.

Students who want a student loan must have their Direct Loan Offer sheet returned to the CTSFW Financial Aid Office to process the loan. Please allow at least two weeks for a loan to be processed and the loan money to be disbursed to your student account.

One additional payment option is to use the Joyful Response Tuition Payment Plan. Joyful Response is a plan to designate a certain amount to be deducted from your checking or savings account each month for three months during the quarter to pay your seminary bill. There is a fee associated with this service. Contact the Financial Aid office to learn more.

To avoid making payments while attending CTSFW, new students should contact their loan servicer(s) to request an educational loan deferment if they have previous unpaid student loans. The CTSFW Registrar will need to verify your enrollment for the loan deferment request form. You do not have to begin repaying your Federal Student Loans until you leave school (graduate, withdraw or take a leave of absence) or drop below half-time status in your enrollment.

Vicarage and deaconess internships should not cause your loans to go into repayment. Please contact your loan servicer(s) if you receive payment notification during your vicarage or deaconess internship year.

Several repayment plans are available: Standard, Graduated, Extended, Income-Based Repayment (IBR), Pay As You Earn, Income-Contingent Repayment (ICR), and Income-Sensitive Repayment. The repayment period can vary in length from 10 to 25 years, depending on the plan you choose. Please go to the Federal Student Aid website to review your options.

Please click here or visit the Federal Student Aid website for whether or not you may qualify for loan forgiveness in Income-Based Repayment (IBR) or Public Service Loan Forgiveness. According to the Federal Student Aid website, if a not-for-profit organization employs you, you may count time spent on religious instruction, worship services, or any form of proselytizing as a part of your job responsibilities toward meeting the full-time employment requirement. Remember that extending your repayment plan or decreasing your payment amounts usually increases the interest you pay over time.

The CTSFW Director of Financial Aid may, on a case-by-case basis, make adjustments to a student’s Cost of Attendance based upon the student’s actual expenses when they exceed the regular budgeted amounts or to a student’s tax data reported on the FAFSA based on documentation provided. Students must provide documentation to the Director of Financial Aid showing the need to make adjustments to the categories listed for their program’s published Cost of Attendance, such as the cost for the purchase of a computer needed for educational purposes. Contact the Financial Aid Office if you have questions.

The CTSFW Financial Aid Office will cancel any unwanted loan funds prior to the day of disbursement if the student notifies the Financial Aid Office in writing or by email. The Financial Aid Office sends a notice at least two weeks before the next loan period payment is made. The student is asked to respond to that notice if he or she wants to change the scheduled loan disbursement amount. Once a loan disbursement has been made to the student’s account, the Financial Aid Office is not obligated to return the funds to the lender, and the student will need to make other arrangements to return unwanted loan funds through his or her own loan servicer(s). Students are often able to return funds to their loan servicer(s) by ACH debit from their checking or savings account. Contact your loan servicer to find out the best method to return unused funds. Loan funds returned before 120 days after disbursement will not have any fees and interest charged. Contact information for loan servicers is found on the NSLDS (National Student Loan Data System) Website . Please contact the Financial Aid Office if you have questions.

COMMENCEMENT 2024

COMMENCEMENT 2024

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Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne (CTSFW), will close the 178th academic year with Commencement in Kramer Chapel Friday, May 17, 2024. The day will begin with a Baccalaureate service at 10 a.m. (EDT). At 2 p.m. (EDT), there will be an organ recital celebrating the graduating class of 2024. Commencement exercises will follow at 4 p.m. (EDT).