All awards are funded through endowed scholarships established by generous donors. Students will be expected to thank their benefactors through written correspondence and may have an opportunity to meet them at an annual scholarship luncheon. Our donors are so pleased to hear from students benefiting from these funds.
Finances are often a major concern for students seeking to achieve a seminary education and prepare for ministry. At Western Theological Seminary, whether you are full-time or part-time, you are eligible for financial awards to help ease the burden.
Commitment to justice and reconciliation within the church
Faculty Scholar Award
60% of tuition
Commitment to excellence in ministry and academics
Faithful Ministry Award
10-40% of tuition
Commitment to excellence in ministry leadership
25% of tuition
Affiliations such as member of the Reformed Church in America, Young Life staff, ect.
* Affiliation Awards cannot be combined with other awards except need-based awards.
The annual tuition for a full-time student in the in-residence M.Div. program will be approximately $14,935 for the 2021-22 academic year (subject to change). The IR M.Div. can be completed in 3 years.
please note: Affiliation awards cannot be combined with any other awards except Need Based awards.
All Programs - Need Based Award
If your financial aid is not adequate to cover your expenses or your circumstances have changed, you may apply for a Need Based Award. First complete the FAFSA and then contact the financial aid administrator at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Need Based Award may be combined with an Affiliation Award or Faithful Ministry Award. The total cap is 40%.
Graduate Certificate in Pastoral Ministry
Graduate Certificate in Pastoral Ministry (GCPM)
25% discount for all emphases: Church Planting & Multiplication, Church Leadership, and Soul Care
Graduate Certificate in Pastoral Ministry (GCPM) – in Spanish:
GCPM cohorts should contact the interim Director of Hispanic Ministries Alvin Padilla at 616-392-8555, x126 for information about their cohort’s discount.
Other sources for financial assistance
We recommend that students contact their home congregations and governing ecclesiastical bodies for potential assistance with their seminary education. Some students also raise their own support among friends and family.
How do I apply?
When you apply for admission to Western Theological Seminary, your application will include a section for applying for scholarship awards. (If you are not in need of assistance, you may decline consideration.)
In February you will be informed by the Admissions staff which awards you qualify for and if there are additional steps to take to apply for premier awards. Premier awards are discounts of 100%, 75%, and 60% require additional writing and/or interviews.
After premier awarding is complete (late March), recipients will be asked to submit their confirmation deposit of $250 if they wish to accept the award and confirm their intention to attend WTS.
Q: Do I need to apply for financial aid?
For returning students, there is no longer a separate financial aid application. Returning students will receive an award letter based on their most recently submitted financial aid application (usually last year’s). New students will have an opportunity to apply for financial aid awards within their application for admittance.
Q: I received an award letter. Do I need to “accept” the amount formally?
There is no need to respond to the award letter unless you are a new applicant and haven’t sent in your confirmation deposit yet. In that case, the confirmation deposit serves as acceptance of your scholarship award.
Q: Will the award amount change each year?
The award amount follows each student throughout their degree completion with continuous enrollment. This reduces the need for students to worry about fluctuating amounts of aid each year. Certain awards have expectations and responsibilities. See the Requirements for Award document.
Q: How do I interpret the percentage?
The percentage is the amount your tuition will be reduced. For example, a 40% award means that instead of paying $510/credit hour, you will pay $306.
Q: I received an award letter, but my circumstances have changed. What do I do?
You may apply for a Financial Need award. First complete the FAFSA and then contact the financial aid administrator.
Q: The award is not enough to cover my expenses. How do I apply for student loans?
First complete the FAFSA and follow the instructions listed on the 2021-22 Loan Process document. The maximum amount is $20,500, but this may be reduced by the information you provide on the FAFSA and your course load. You must be enrolled at least 4.5 credits per semester to qualify.
Q: The award letter says my responsibility as a student is to write a thank you note to a donor. What does this mean?
The awards are funded through scholarships established by generous donors. All students are expected to write letters of appreciation to donors at the start of the academic year, with copies given to the Development office. Specific instructions are emailed to students early in the fall semester.
Q: I am a new applicant; how do I apply for scholarship awards?
Your Admissions representative will work with you on this. Talk with your admissions representative or email email@example.com.
Deadlines for returning students:
you do not need to fill out a financial aid application each year
Those students who require additional funds can complete a FAFSA form for need-based awards and student loans.
Award recipients must be matriculated M.Div., MA, or certificate students. Aid is not available for D.Min. students, other than 25% discount for Young Life staff.
There is no minimum amount of credits that need to be taken each semester
Recipients of any funds administered by the Financial Aid Office must be making satisfactory progress toward their degree. If your grade point average drops below 2.50, the academic affairs office will notify you that you have been placed on academic probation. You may receive funds for only one semester while on academic probation. Those on academic probation for two or more consecutive semesters will not be eligible for scholarships or loans.
If a scholarship or loan recipient becomes ineligible for the award, the FA offer will be adjusted or withdrawn. You will be notified if a portion of your loan needs to be returned to the lender.
If you would like additional information on scholarships or loans, please contact Kyle Wigboldy.
Other Financial Aid Opportunities
Those students who require additional funds can complete a FAFSA form online for need-based awards and student loans. Need-based awards are 15-25% of tuition. They can be combined with Faithful Ministry and Affiliation Awards up to a cap of 40%.
Students who are U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents and who are enrolled at least half time may apply to borrow up to $20,500 in unsubsidized loans on an annual basis through the William D. Ford Direct Loan Program. First time borrowers must do entrance counseling and sign a Master Promissory Note by going to the website www.studentloans.gov. Students will be required to complete the FAFSA at FAFSA.gov
For the academic year, requested federal student loans are approved by August. A confirmation of approval statement will be mailed to each loan recipient along with instructions about acceptance and disbursement dates. If a student decides the full amount they requested is not needed, he or she should notify the financial aid administrator of any changes. A loan approved for the year is divided between fall and spring semesters. Funds are dispersed mid-September and the beginning of February. Funds are first applied toward tuition and the student’s account. The remainder goes to the student for other educational expenses.
Code of Conduct: WTS receives no benefits, gifts or remuneration from any bank/lender in exchange for referrals for Title IV student loans.
Work opportunities for students at Western Theological Seminary are available in maintenance and the library.
Military Chaplaincy Loan Program:
Students planning on a career in military chaplaincy can borrow up to $10,000 per year from the WTS Loan Program – Derk VanRaalte Fund. Loans from this program will be forgiven when the student becomes a military chaplain.
Veterans of Military:
If you served on Active Duty, you might be eligible for education benefits offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs. You must have received an honorable discharge to be eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill. If you are currently serving in the military, you may be eligible for funding offered through the Department of Defense Tuition assistance program. Check your eligibility status and the amount for which you qualify with your Service prior to enrolling. In some cases a spouse or child of an active duty Title 10 service member may be eligible for some assistance. Please check with the Department of Veterans Affairs for more information.