Financial Aid

Even before the two Lutheran seminaries in Pennsylvania formally joined to become United Lutheran Seminary, it was decided that making seminary education affordable would be a hallmark of this new venture.  To that end, both predecessor seminaries began offering full-tuition scholarship and matching-grants programs in the 2016-17 academic year, a full year before United Lutheran Seminary officially came into existence.  These two new programs were in addition to an already substantial financial aid budget.

The seminary is able to make these funding programs available due to the many individual donors, congregations, synods, and churchwide gifts that support us annually.  It is in partnering with these generous donors that we are able to offer aid to all degree-seeking students enrolled at least half-time (6 or more credits/semester) who are also making Satisfactory Academic Progress.

Satisfactory Academic Progress is evaluated by both qualitative (GPA) and quantitative (time towards degree completion) methods.  A student is no longer making Satisfactory Academic Progress if they fall below a 2.0 cumulative grade point average OR fall below a completion rate of 67% of courses attempted (this includes withdrawals and failed courses).

To determine what your Cost of Attendance (COA) will be at United Lutheran, see the ULS Cost of Attendance 2017 2018 by degree.  Included in the COA are both direct costs (costs that a student is directly billed, like tuition) and indirect costs (costs that a student may or may not incur).  The COA is used to determine a student’s financial need.  Be advised that these are estimated costs.  If you have questions about your particular situation, please contact the Financial Aid Office at 215-248-6301 or financialaid@uls.edu.

Who is eligible for Financial Aid?

  • Students who are enrolled at least half-time (six credits or more/semester) in a degree program (MDiv, MA, MAML, MAPL).
  • Students who are enrolled at least half-time or in Writing Status in an advanced level degree program (STM, DMin).
  • Students in the PhD program for the first three years as full-time, and up to three additional years in Writing Status.
  • All students must be a US citizen or permanent resident.

Applying for Financial Aid

Financial Aid is comprised of gift aid (scholarships and grants) and self help (loans and work study).  Students must apply for financial aid each academic year in which they are enrolled.

  1. To apply for financial aid, students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA may be completed online at fafsa.gov.  United Lutheran Seminary’s federal school code is G03291.
  2. In addition to completing the FAFSA, students must also complete United Lutheran Seminary’s Institutional Financial Aid Application.

Students should apply for financial aid when they complete their application for admission or as soon as possible after being admitted.  Gift aid is awarded on a rolling basis.  Applying early will allow the financial aid office to offer you the most options for which you qualify, as many outside scholarship programs do have firm deadlines.  It is suggested that you have the FAFSA and ULS Institutional Financial Aid application completed by May 1 each year.

Sources of Financial Aid

Gift Aid

ELCA Full-tuition scholarships

Students are eligible for this program if they meet the following criteria:

  1. ELCA students pursuing rostered ministry (Word and Sacrament or Word and Service), who are positively entranced by their Candidacy Committee (entering students), and continue to be in good standing with their Candidacy Committee (continuing students).
  2. Are enrolled as full-time students (12+ credits/semester).
  3. Are taking courses in residence on the Gettysburg or Philadelphia campus

This scholarship will cover tuition for up to 30 credits taken in an academic year, typically taken as 15 credits a semester.

Matching Grant program

This program will match gifts given to students from congregations, synods, or other judicatory bodies.  Gifts will be matched dollar-for-dollar, up to the cost of tuition the student incurs each academic year.

This program is available to all students enrolled in the MDiv, MA, MAML, MAPL, and STM degree programs who don’t qualify for the ELCA full-tuition scholarship.  It is also available to Affiliate students who are fulfilling requirements set forth by their Candidacy Committee by paying full price for credits, by enrolling in the Advanced Theological Certificate program, or by enrolling in the STM degree program.  Affiliates who take courses as continuing education students or audit courses are not eligible.

United Lutheran Seminary grants

This money is available to all students enrolled at least part-time (6 or more credits/semester) in the MDiv, MA, MAML and MAPL degree programs.  It is awarded based on both financial need and academic merit, at the discretion of the Financial Aid Committee.

Fund for Leaders scholarships

The ELCA Fund for Leaders (FFL) helps to raise up and financially support students studying at ELCA seminaries who have demonstrated outstanding leadership potential and exceptional gifts for ministry.  For more information about this program, contact:

Rev. Gabi Aelabouni, Director, ELCA Fund for Leaders
gabi.aelabouni@elca.org
773-380-2926

Rev. Mark Olsen, Associate Director, ELCA Fund for Leaders
mark.olsen@elca.org
773-380-2925

Housing Stipends

This is available to students who bring with them a full-tuition scholarship from outside the seminary (Fund for Leaders, Metro New York synod Huneke Fund, VA benefits), and is valued at up to the cost of a one-bedroom apartment for 10 months on the Gettysburg campus or a studio apartment on the Philadelphia campus.  Students must live on campus to receive this stipend, as its intended goal is to encourage more robust community life by having students already identified as leaders reside on campus and contribute to the life of United Lutheran Seminary.  It is not available to students who live off-campus.

This stipend is not available to students enrolled as MDiv Co-op students, who receive housing assistance through that specialized program.

The Housing Stipends will be offered during the 2017-18 academic year and will be reviewed by seminary administration on an annual basis going forward to determine the availability of housing options on the two campuses.

J.Q. Jackson Merit Award

This award is granted each spring semester to two or three Urban Theological Institute students who have declared a Black Church concentration, have the highest cumulative grade point average and are preparing for ordained ministry.  To qualify, a student must have completed a minimum of 30 credits, with 6 of them in the Black Church concentration.  A student may receive this award only one time over their seminary career.

J.Q. Jackson Book Award 

All students who have declared the Black Church concentration are eligible to receive a book award each semester they are enrolled.  The award is based on a student’s cumulative grade point average as follows:
3.50 – 4.00      $300
3.00 – 3.49      $200
2.50 – 2.99      $100

E.C. Morris Scholarship

Students who are enrolled as degree-seeking candidates and are members of the Church of God in Christ are eligible for this scholarship.  Students may receive an award each semester, with the amount dependent upon the number of credits a student is enrolled for and the availability of funds.

Federal Work Study

United Lutheran Seminary participates in the Federal Work Study (FWS) program.  This program allows a student to obtain a part-time job on campus to assist in covering their educational expenses.  Students typically work 10-12 hours a week.  An offer of FWS does not guarantee employment.  Students interested in FWS must have been awarded it as part of their financial aid award and complete the Federal Work Study Job Application which is submitted to the Financial Aid Office (financialaid@uls.edu).  (In production, contact Kim Clark directly at kclark@uls.edu.) Available FWS jobs will be posted on the ULS website at the beginning of each semester.

Loans

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan

The Federal Direct Unsubsidized loan is available to professional and graduate students enrolled in a degree program, at least half-time (6 credits/semester).  You do not have to demonstrate any financial need to be eligible.

The amount a student may borrow is determined by deducting any other financial aid the student is receiving (gift aid and work study) from their Cost of Attendance.  The maximum annual amount that can be borrowed is $20,500.  Interest will begin to accrue on this loan once the funds are disbursed to the school, and these loans continue accruing interest while the student is attending school.  For the 2017-18 academic year, the interest rate is 6% with an origination fee of 1.066% (the origination fee is deducted from the loan before the funds are sent to the school).  To apply for this loan you must complete a Master Promissory Note and Entrance Counseling online at www.studentloans.gov.

Federal Direct PLUS Loan

The Federal Direct PLUS loan is available to professional and graduate students enrolled in a degree program, at least half-time (6 credits/semester).  You do not have to demonstrate any financial need to be eligible, but as part of the application a credit check will be performed, so applicants cannot have an adverse credit history.

The amount a student may borrow is determined by deducting any other financial aid the student is receiving (scholarships, grants, work study, loans) from their ULS Cost of Attendance 2017 2018.  Interest will begin to accrue on this loan once the funds are disbursed to the school, and these loans continue accruing interest while the student is attending school.  For the 2017-18 academic year, the interest rate is a fixed 7% with an origination fee of 4.264% (the origination fee is deducted from the loan before the funds are sent to the school).  To apply for this loan you must complete a Federal Direct PLUS loan application and Master Promissory Note (PLUS MPN), available online at www.studentloans.gov.

General Information

It is important to consider and pursue non-seminary sources of financial aid for seminary expenses.  Reach out to your congregation, synod or other local judicatory, requesting information on scholarship programs they may have.  A list of other sources of financial aid is available by request from the Financial Aid Office (in production, available late Fall 2017).

All students receiving financial support from United Lutheran Seminary must maintain satisfactory progress toward their degree, based on their program of study.

Financial Aid is based on enrollment.  Full-time students must maintain 12+ credits per semester.  Part-time students must maintain 6+ credits per semester.  Larger course loads will not warrant an increase in financial aid.  Students who drop below the enrollment upon which their financial aid award was based will have their aid reduced.

All financial aid decisions are made by the Financial Aid Committee, chaired by Rev. Trina Johnsten, Vice President of Student Services and Enrollment.

Contact Information

Students may contact or go to the Financial Aid Office in person and speak with Ms. Kim Clark, Director of Financial Aid if they have any questions regarding their financial aid, need assistance in completing any applications or forms, want financial literacy counseling on student loan borrowing, or with any general financial aid issues.

Philadelphia Campus                                                   Gettysburg Campus
7301 Germantown Avenue                                        61 Seminary Ridge
Philadelphia, PA  19119                                             Gettysburg, PA  17325
Phone:  215-248-6301                                              Phone:  717-338-3008
Fax:  215-248-4577                                                  Fax:  717-334-3469
Brossman Center, #232                                            Valentine Hall, #223

For VA or GI Bill information, please contact Marlita Lee at malee@uls.edu or 215-248-7302.