Policies & Eligibility

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How we determine your eligibility

How do we determine your financial aid package? Calvin’s financial aid team carefully considers
information provided on the FAFSA and the Calvin Seminary Scholarship and Financial Aid
Application to develop financial aid package.

Grants and loans

Eligibility for scholarships and federal student loan programs is determined by your family’s EFC
(Expected Family Contribution) as determined by the FAFSA. The lower your EFC, the more
financial aid you will receive. These are some of the major factors considered in determining your
family’s EFC:

  • Income (both taxable and non-taxable)
  • Taxes paid
  • Assets (exclude primary home and retirement accounts)
  • Business/farm value (exclude family business or farm)
  • Student’s age
  • Size of family
  • Number of family members in college

Special circumstances

Have things we need to know when determining your financial aid award? File the Supplemental Information for Financial Aid Form to tell us about:

  • Income reduction
  • Job loss
  • Elementary or secondary school tuition
  • High cost of living
  • Exceptional medical expenses
  • Children’s cost to attend college
  • Other extenuating circumstances


Each year the Department of Education selects financial aid files (FAFSA’s) to be reviewed in a process
called Verification. In this process, the Financial Aid Office will compare information from your FAFSA
with actual IRS data and W2 information for yourself and your spouse. The law requires us to complete
this process before determining your aid. If corrections are required to your FAFSA data, we will
electronically reprocess your FAFSA with the revised information.

You will be required to complete the verification worksheet and return it to the Financial Aid Office.

Awarding Policy

The total amount of gift aid from all sources, including institutional scholarships, outside
scholarships, waivers and VA benefits, cannot exceed the total estimate cost of attendance. If total
gift aid exceeds this figure, institutional scholarship will be reduced accordingly in that order.

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

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

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.

Financial Aid must wait until all your grades are complete and recorded by the Registrar’s Office
in order to determine your SAP status. You cannot receive federal aid for the following
semester until all grades are complete and has been determined that you have made
satisfactory academic progress. This determination will be made at the end of each semester. You will receive communication from the registrar if you have not met the necessary requirements.

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

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. Even if you do not receive financial aid for one of the terms, that term is counted in the 150% calculation. Transfer units count in the calculation as credits attempted and earned. Federal regulations require that all coursework at CTS be included in the calculation, even if it is from a different degree program, from many years ago, or a repeated course.

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.


It is within the discretion of the instructor, upon request from the student for acceptable reasons, to
extend the final due date for course work by three week days beyond the end of the academic term.
The student may receive an extension of one calendar month and a grade of “incomplete” only when
the instructor of that course has approved and signed a contract by the last day of exams. All
contracts for incompletes are reported to the Admissions & Standards committee.
A contract must include the nature of the request, the new due date for all work (not more than one
month after the last day of exams), and the grounds for the extension. Acceptable reasons are limited to
unusual considerations such as illness, hardship, or emergency. Verification may be required. Failure to
fulfill a contract will ordinarily result in a grade of “F.” If a student receives a failing grade, the student may retake the course. The F grade will remain on the student’s transcript but will not be calculated into the GPA. The new grade will also be on the transcript and will be calculated into the GPA. If a student retakes a course, the cost of that course may not be eligible for federal financial aid.

Failing Grades

If a student fails a course, the student may retake the course. After the student retakes the course, the F grade will remain on the student’s transcript but will not be calculated into the student’s GPA. The new grade will also appear on the transcript and will be calculated into the student’s GPA. The student must pay for the retaken course.

If a student fails a course taken during the last semester before graduating, and if the student’s situation warrants (in the judgment of the Academic Office and the professor teaching the course), the student may complete the course by taking an independent study with the professor of the course:

  1. The professor would decide the number of credits for the independent study based on the amount of work that the student needs to do. The number of credits may be fewer than or equal to the credits of the original course.
  2. The independent study would be graded as credit/no credit; the student would need to receive “credit” in order to demonstrate competence and to receive credit for completing the initial course. The initial F received in the course would remain on the student’s transcript and be calculated into the student’s GPA. The professor and student would agree on a deadline for completing the independent study; meeting the deadline would be a condition for passing the course.
  3. The student must pay for the number of credits in the independent study course.
  4. Up to two courses may be remedied in this way. If a student fails more than two courses, then all of the failed courses must be retaken if they are required for graduation.

Timeline for Process

When a student fails to meet Satisfactory Academic Standards for one semester, they will receive a
warning letter from the registrar at the end of the semester. 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.


The standard for admission to the seminary for the MDiv, MTS, and MA programs (2.67 G.P.A.) is
also the standard used to determine a student’s satisfactory progress while in seminary. While a
student is not immediately expelled for falling below 2.67, he or she may be placed on probation
and allowed to remain on probation for only two terms. Any student who has a 2.50 G.P.A. or lower
will be terminated from the seminary program. Funding sources such as the Veterans
Administration, ecclesiastical bodies (e.g., congregation, classis, presbytery) and the guaranteed
student loan program will be promptly notified when a student receiving funds is placed on
probation and/or terminated.
The admissions and standards committee will strongly advise a probationary student to limit the
number of hours spent in outside work to a recommended maximum of 15 hours.
A probationary student is required to discuss the matter of outside workload with his/her
Mentored Ministry group leader or program adviser during the first month of the first academic
semester. Both the leader and the student will be informed of the student’s probationary status,
but the discussion is to be initiated by the student.

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 2017 semester, you will receive a warning letter. If it stays below the minimum for Spring 2018
semester, you will lose eligibility for the following Fall (2018). If you bring your GPA above the minimum
for Fall 2018 semester, you will regain eligibility in Spring 2109.

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 semfinaid@calvinseminary.edu

Withdrawals – Return of Title IV Funds (R2T4) Policy

This policy applies only to eligible US and eligible non-US citizens receiving Title IV funds, specifically the
Federal Stafford and PLUS loans. Title IV funds are awarded to a student under the assumption that
he/she will attend school for the entire period for which the assistance is awarded. When a student
withdraws from all his/her courses, for any reason including medical withdrawals, he/she may no longer
be eligible for the full amount of Title IV funds that he/she was originally scheduled to receive.

If the student received any Federal funds, the Return of Title IV funds is calculated. Calvin Seminary uses the Treatment of Federal Title IV Funds form to determine the amount of federal student aid funds he/she will have earned at the
time of the withdrawal. Federal aid includes Federal Stafford Loan (subsidized and unsubsidized), and
Graduate Plus Loan.

The return of funds is based upon the concept that students earn their financial aid in proportion to
the amount of time in which they are enrolled. Under this reasoning, a student who withdraws in the
second week of classes has earned less of his/her financial aid than a student who withdraws in the
seventh week. Once 60% of the semester is completed, a student is considered to have earned all of his
financial aid and will not be required to return any funds. All programs are pro-rated and refunded based on the actual percentage of the day that the student discontinued until the funds are all gone, through 60% of the semester.

A student’s withdrawal date is:

  • The date he/she officially withdrew with the Office of the Registrar during the Registrar’s withdrawal period.
  • The date the student submitted his petition to withdraw to the Office of the Registrar if the Office of the Registrar’s withdrawal period has ended and the student successfully petitioned to withdraw.
  • The start date of the student’s leave of absence.
  • In the event a student stops attending class and does not request a formal withdraw or leave of absence, the student will be considered withdrawn at the midpoint of the course. This date will be used for all calculations of return of aid.
  • The date the student was expelled/dismissed from the Seminary.
  • The date the student died, if the student passed away during the semester.•

The student must inform the Financial Aid Office (semfinaid@calvinseminary.edu) of any withdrawal
occurring during a semester.

The Financial Aid Office (FAO) determines the return of Title IV funds percentage. Institutions are
required to determine the percentage of Title IV aid ‘’earned” by the student and to return the
unearned portion to the appropriate aid program.

Regulations require schools to perform calculations within 30 days from the date the school determines
a student’s complete withdrawal. The school must return the Funds within 45 days of the calculation.
Return of Title IV Funds (R2T4) Policy.

Withdrawing from a single course and receive a full or partial refund according to the
Refund Schedule. A student may withdraw from any course without penalty up to 4:30 p.m.
on the 100% refund date and with no “W” on their transcript. After that date, a student may withdraw
with a partial refund and a “W” on their transcript through 4:30 p.m. on the 50% refund date. A student who
withdraws from a course after that date will receive no refund and will receive a failing grade in the course.

The return of Title IV funds policy follows these steps:

Step 1: Student’s Title IV information

The FAO will determine:

  • The total amount of Title IV aid disbursed (Not aid that could have been disbursed) for the semester in which the student withdrew. A student’s Title IV aid is counted as aid disbursed in the calculation if it has been applied to the student’s account on or before the date the student withdrew.
  • The total amount of Title IV aid disbursed plus the Title IV aid that could have been disbursed for the semester in which the student withdrew.

Step 2: Percentage of Title IV Aid Earned:

The FAO will calculate the percentage of Title IV aid earned as follows:

  • The number of calendar days completed by the student divided by the total number of calendar days in the semester in which the student withdrew. The total number of calendar day in a semester shall exclude any scheduled breaks of more than five days.
  • Days Attended ÷ Days in Enrollment Period = Percentage Completed
  • If the calculated percentage exceeds 60%, then the student has “earned” all the Title IV aid for the enrollment period.

Step 3: Amount of Title IV Earned by the Student

The FAO will calculate the amount of Title IV earned as follows:

  • The percentage of title IV aid earned (Step 2) multiplied by the total amount of Title IV aid disbursed or that could have been disbursed for the term in which the student withdrew.
  • Total Aid Disbursed x Percentage Completed = Earned Aid

Step 4: Amount of Title IV Aid to be Disbursed or Returned:

  • If the aid already disbursed equals the earned aid, no further action is required.
  • If the aid already disbursed is greater than the earned aid, the difference must be returned to the appropriate Title IV aid program.
  • Total Disbursed Aid – Earned Aid = Unearned Aid to be Returned
  • If the aid already disbursed is less than the earned aid, the FAAO will calculate a PostWithdrawal Disbursement.

Return of the Title IV Aid, based on the type of aid disbursed, in the following order:

1. Federal Unsubsidized Stafford Loan

2. Federal Subsidized Stafford Loan

3. Graduate Plus Loan

Loans must be repaid by the loan borrower as outlined in the terms of the borrower’s promissory note.

The student’s grace period for loan repayments for Federal Unsubsidized and Subsidized Stafford Loans
will begin on the day of the withdrawal from the Seminary. The student should contact the lender if he/
she has question regarding their grace period or repayment status.

Institutional and student responsibility in regard to the Federal Return of Title IV Funds policy:

The FAAO’s responsibilities in regard to the Return of Title IV funds policy include:

  • Providing each student with the information given in this policy;
  • Identifying students affected by this policy and completing the Return of Title IV Funds calculation;
  • Informing the student of the result of the Return of title IV Funds calculation and any balance owed to the Seminary as a result of a required return of funds;
  • Returning any unearned Title IV aid that is due to the Title IV programs and, if applicable, notifying the borrower’s holder of federal loan funds of the student’s withdrawal date;
  • Notifying student of eligibility for a Post-Withdraw Disbursement, if applicable;

The student’s responsibilities in regard to the Return of Title IV Funds policy include:

  • Becoming familiar with the Return of Title IV Funds policy and how withdrawing from all his courses effects eligibility for Title IV aid;
  • Resolving any outstanding balance owed to Concordia University resulting from a required return of unearned Title IV aid.

The procedures and policies listed above are subject to change without advance notice.

Drug Policy

Federal law states that students convicted of any drug offense during a period of enrollment for which
the student was receiving TItle IV, HEA program funds, under any federal or state law involving the
possession or sale of illegal drugs will result in the loss of eligibility for any Title IV, HEA grant or loan

FERPA – Your Privacy

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 helps protect the privacy of student records. The
act provides for the right to inspect and review educational records, the right to seek to amend those
records, and to limit disclosure of information from the records.

FERPA states that a spouse/parent or other authorized party may gain permission to access student
records if the student signs a release. This form is kept in the Financial Services office and can be found
on the Tools and Resources page of the website.