CTS Entrance Counseling – A Guide for Financial Aid

Welcome to the 2014-2015 academic year at Calvin Theological Seminary. 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. Sign acceptance statement on the award notice. (You should have done this already)
  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.
  5. Inform the financial aid office if there is any change in your status as a student.
  6. 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 seminary student handbook 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. If you have credit in your account, you may 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. 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 Please note that we will be making two disbursements to coincide with the system of registration and billing. If your account is not paid, you will not be able to register for the next semester.

Refunds

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 in the Student Handbook and on the financial aid web 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.

The Federal Perkins Loan

It is important to understand the terms of the loan, your rights and responsibilities, and the consequences if you become delinquent or default on your loan. Following is important information regarding the Federal Perkins Loan. The specific terms of the loan are spelled out in detail in the promissory note. The Federal Perkins Loan is to be used for educational purposes, and must be repaid. The Perkins Loan Office at Calvin College holds your Promissory Note for your Federal Perkins Loan. Your contact is:

Rana Huisman Calvin College 3201 Burton SE Grand Rapids, MI 49546 (616) 526-6133

The loan is interest-free, and no repayment is required as long as you are enrolled in school at least halftime (this is a federal regulation). Interest on the loan during repayment is 5% simple interest. Repayment begins 6 months after you cease to be enrolled at least halftime. Starting July 2012, there will be no grace period on the Perkins Loan. This program is scheduled to be disbanded 2014. The maximum amount a student may borrow through the Federal Perkins Loan Program is $4,000 per year as an undergraduate and $6,000 per year as a graduate student. The maximum cumulative amount a student may borrow is $20,000 as an undergraduate and $40,000 as a gradate student including amounts borrowed as an undergraduate. Although these are the maximums allowed, most students at Calvin Seminary are not eligible for these amounts because of the limited funding Calvin has in this program. Acceptance of the Federal Perkins Loan generally does not affect your eligibility for other types of financial aid. The amount of the loan or other aid may be reduced if you receive other aid that we were not aware when we offered the loan or if we receive additional information, which reduces your eligibility for financial aid. Your Federal Perkins Loan Promissory Note details the terms of the loan including the amount of your loan and the interest rate. The Promissory Note also specifies when you must begin to make payments of principal and accrued interest. Generally payments are due quarterly. Payment amounts vary depending on the loan balance, but $120 per quarter is the minimum payment. There are no charges assessed for making this loan available to you. However, there may be charges assessed for collection of the loan if it becomes delinquent. These costs may include a $6.00 monthly late charge and collection costs up to 33.33% of the outstanding loan balance. Failure to make payment as required may result in your loan going into default. The consequences of defaulting are severe and are specified in your Promissory Note. Defaults can often be prevented by contacting the Calvin College Perkins Loan Office if you are unable to make payments on time. The Federal Perkins Loan Program contains deferment and cancellation provisions. Deferments are ways to postpone payment on your loan provided you meet certain conditions. Your Promissory Note contains specific information on deferments and cancellations, and the conditions that have to be met. Requests for deferment or cancellations should be sent to the Calvin College Perkins Loan Office. Refinancing and loan consolidation options are available. These options reduce your monthly payment but will extend the repayment period and result in an increase in the total amount of interest you will pay. Contact the Calvin College Perkins Loan Office for more information on refinancing and consolidation. A sample repayment schedule is provided below. This schedule gives an estimate of payment amounts and total interest paid over the course of the repayment period. The entire Federal Perkins Loan (principal and accrued interest) or a portion of the loan may be prepaid at any time without penalty. Sample Perkins Loan Repayment Schedule

  • $ Maximum repayment period is 10 years
  • $ Minimum quarterly payment is $120
  • $ 5% interest rate
  • $ Amounts are estimated and rounded to the nearest dollar
Loan Principal # of Years Repayment Amount of Quarterly Payment Total Interest
$1000 2.25 $120 $63
$2000 4.75 $120 $257
$3000 10.0 $128 $1107
$4000 10.0 $192 $1661

 

Federal Unsubsidized Stafford Loan

he unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan is not interest-free during in school, grace, and deferment periods. Interest on the loan is fixed at 6.8%. 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 studentloans.gov, 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.

Housing Subsidy

A housing subsidy is provided for qualified financial aid applicants on rental units owned by Calvin Seminary. If there are extenuating circumstances that do not make seminary owned housing suitable for you (family size, handicapped accessibility) you may submit a request for consideration to the financial aid office. This subsidy is limited by the number of students who apply, available funds each year, and financial need established by the Financial Aid Office. The subsidy (grant) is applicable only when the student makes rental payments. Recipients should inform the Financial Aid Office of any changes in rental or living agreements.

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.

Verification

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 also be classified as three-quarter 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. and M.A. Full-time: minimum 9 hours or concurrent field education
Half-time: minimum 5 hours or concurrent field education
M.T.S. Full-time: minimum 9 hours
Part-time: minimum 5 hours
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

 

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
1
1
2
2
3-5
3
6-11
6
12-15
9
16-19
12

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 timeframe 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 2012 semester, you will receive a warning letter. If it stays below the minimum for Spring 2013 semester, you will lose eligibility for the following Fall (2013). If you bring your GPA above the minimum for Fall 2013 semester, you will regain eligibility in Spring 2103. 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 2011 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 email hidden; JavaScript is required

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 2012-2013, see the financial aid website: US/Canadian Estimated Costs (pdf) or International Estimated Costs (pdf)

Reevaluation

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¿ 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.

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.