Institutional Financial Aid Policy
Seminary of the Southwest provides scholarship grants to students with demonstrated financial need. Endowments and gifts from supporters provide the resources for this support. As a matter of institutional policy, the seminary seeks to practice good stewardship in the administration of all scholarship programs, to award as much aid as possible, and to err on the side of generosity. At the same time, the seminary recognizes that student loans play an important role in making education possible for many students. Student life often involves living simply, but it should not mean struggling to meet basic needs. We seek to help students make good decisions about personal budgets and outside loans in order to cover the costs not met by institutional financial aid.
To qualify for consideration for a scholarship grant, an applicant must complete the Financial Aid Evaluation form, including full disclosure of available financial resources as well as a proposed budget of income and expenses for the period for which the grant is sought. An applicant’s most recent federal income tax return is part of the documentation required. Students are also required to annually complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as a supplement to their institutional financial aid application. Normally, financial aid is granted on a year-to-year basis with annual reapplication and review. Recipients of institutional financial aid shall notify the Executive Vice President for Administration and Finance of any significant changes to their personal financial circumstances as soon as they occur. A significant change includes new debt incurred, higher or lower income and or expenses, and exigent circumstances, as the case may be.
The total amount of institutional financial aid granted by the seminary will not exceed 1) the student’s demonstrated need, 2) the published price of tuition in the academic year for which application is made, or 3) the seminary’s available scholarship funding allocated for a particular year. Aid will normally include a mixture of grant funds and work-study compensation.
Demonstrated need is defined as the difference between the total cost of attending this institution and the total resources available to the student from all other sources. In reaching that determination, the seminary shall follow these eligibility qualifications:
- All students seeking financial aid must demonstrate that they have applied to outside sources of support. The seminary will assist students in identifying such sources.
- Students in the MDIV and DAS programs must submit statements of support from their dioceses and parishes (or equivalent structures) as part of their Institutional Financial Aid Application.
- In reaching a conclusion concerning demonstrated need, the seminary will not normally weigh the value assets such as retirement accounts, equity in one’s homestead, the cash value of life insurance policies, and funds in 529 college savings plans for children.
- In evaluating demonstrated needs, the seminary will consider assets such as the following: equity in second or third homes, equity in rental properties, vacation homes, and “mother-in-law” homes. Second or third automobiles are considered assets except in cases of demonstrated transportation need.
All routine and realistic expenses associated with maintaining a household are counted in demonstrated need with the following qualifications:
- Debt service on an applicant’s own previous student loans shall be excluded as an allowable expense.
- On a case by case basis, the seminary will evaluate the spouse’s employment situation before reaching a decision on an award of aid.
- In considering allowable expenses, the seminary shall follow these specific guidelines: 50 percent of tithes and charitable giving will be allowed; annual automobile debt services shall be capped at $4,000; exercise or fitness club expenses shall be capped at $350 annually; life insurance premiums shall be capped at 5 percent of income. In this context, both institutional and outside scholarship aid shall be factored as an available resource.
- Expenses not allowed include the following: Student loan payments for spouse and children; children’s college tuition; contributions to children’s college fund; service on pre-existing credit card debt; storage costs for household goods; debt service other than for a home mortgage, taxes, and other expenses associated with non-owner occupied real estate.
- Tuition for Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) classes, if any, should be included as an allowable expense item on the financial aid application. The optional cost of CPE units beyond the seminary’s one-unit requirement is not an allowable expense.
Financial aid is unavailable for students classified as special students.
Financial aid is available to eligible students as long as the institutional funds are available. Seminary of the Southwest strives to be as generous as possible with available financial aid resources. Renewal of scholarships is always dependent on available funds, and upon a student’s demonstrated financial need and other eligibility requirements.
When a financial aid award includes a work-study assignment, the student is required to complete the minimum requirements of that assignment.
Increases in tuition may or may not be accompanied by changes in the amount of aid.
These policies have been adopted by the Executive Vice President for Administration and Finance, and approved by the Financial Aid Committee and the Dean and President.