Tuition and Financial Aid
The School of Theology assumes that all its students are in need of significant financial help to afford their seminary education. That is why the vast majority of students studying here receive generous financial aid. The cost of the School of Theology’s tuition is less than half the cost of attending Boston University at the undergraduate level. We allocate the financial aid funds offered by the University, the United Methodist Church, and individual donors as widely as possible to benefit the most students. Additional merit fellowships are set aside to reward academic excellence and extra-curricular distinction. For all of these reasons we expect that School of Theology graduates will be able to follow their vocational passions without being weighed down by tremendous educational debt upon graduation.
Scholarship and Fellowships
Almost all Boston University STH Master’s and PhD students receive a partial or full-tuition scholarship. Information about the scholarships available to STH students is available here.
School of Theology Financial Aid Policies
Length of Time for Financial Aid Coverage
The length of time a student is eligible for School of Theology financial aid depends on his or her degree program. Generally, a full-time semester of aid can be split into two part-time semesters of aid. However, students must also abide by the time limitations of each degree. A full-time or part-time semester of aid may be used in the summer.
|Degree||Full-Time Semesters of Aid||Part-Time Semesters of Aid||Time Limitation|
|MDiv||6||12||5 Academic Years|
|MTS or MSM||4||8||4 Academic Years|
|STM||2||4||2 Academic Years|
|PhD||10||N/A||10 Academic Years|
It is also important that a student track the number of credits remaining to complete his or her degree requirements. While number of semesters remaining is the most common method for tracking financial aid eligibility, the School of Theology also reviews the number of credits remaining to complete degree requirements. The School of Theology does not provide financial aid to students past the number of credits they need to meet their program requirements.* Therefore, if students apply for a course overload in one or more semesters, this may leave them with a small number of credits to complete in their final semester and they will only receive financial aid towards the number of credits needed. In that circumstance, the number of credits remaining supersedes the number of semesters of financial aid eligibility. The student has the option to enroll in additional courses past the number of credits required to complete the degree, but they will be at the student’s own cost. Likewise, students taking fewer than 12 credits per semester may end up using all of their semesters of financial aid eligibility prior to completing their degree requirements. For these reasons, students should be cautious in keeping in mind their maximum number of semesters of financial aid eligibility and their remaining credits when planning their registration each semester. If a student receives a failing grade, the School of Theology will not provide financial aid for a course taken to replace the failed course. Similarly, the School of Theology will not provide financial aid for any tuition charges of a dropped course. If you are considering withdrawing, taking a leave of absence, or dropping a course as a part-time student, please review Boston University’s Withdrawal and Tuition Refund Schedule. *Full-time School of Theology MDiv, MSM, and MTS students may take Seminary Singers (up-to 2 credits) and/or Spiritual Companioning (up-to 2 credits) without counting them toward their degree program free electives. In that case, the credits do not count toward a student’s financial aid eligibility. Students, however, may count those credits toward degree program free electives if they wish, in which case they would count toward a student’s financial aid eligibility.
Financial Aid Warning
If a student fails to maintain satisfactory academic progress according to the appropriate student review committee for their degree program, they may receive a financial aid warning which applies to their School of Theology financial aid and, if the student has it, their federal financial aid. For example, if a student fails to make satisfactory academic progress in the Fall semester, they may be placed under a financial aid warning in the Spring semester. The warning period lasts for one semester during which the student may continue to receive School of Theology and federal financial aid funds. The student’s academic progress is evaluated at the end of the warning period. Financial aid warnings can occur after a student’s first semester of enrollment.
Financial Aid Probation
Students who fail to make satisfactory progress after the financial aid warning period may continue to receive their School of Theology financial aid for the following semester as a grace period. However, the student loses their federal financial aid eligibility unless they successfully appeal the School of Theology Academic Services Team and are placed on financial aid probation. A student may appeal on the basis of injury or illness, the death of a relative, or other special circumstances. The appeal must explain why the student failed to make satisfactory academic progress and what has changed in their situation that will allow them to make satisfactory academic progress at the next evaluation. Financial aid probation lasts for one semester and means that the student’s eligibility for federal financial aid is reinstated for that semester. The student’s progress will be evaluated at the end of the financial aid probation period. If based on the student’s appeal, the STH Academic Services Team decides that the student should be able to meet satisfactory academic progress by the end of the next payment period then the student may be placed on financial aid probation with or without an academic plan. If an academic plan has been devised for the student (by the appropriate student review committee for their degree program) and they are meeting its requirements, they are eligible to receive federal financial aid as long as they continue to meet the plan’s requirements.
GPA Requirements and Financial Aid
If a student receives a failing grade in a course, the School of Theology will not provide financial aid for a course taken to replace the failed course. If a Dean’s Scholarship recipient does not meet the required 3.5 cumulative GPA at the end of an academic year, the student will receive their Dean’s Scholarship as a grace period for the upcoming semester and the tuition scholarship pertaining to their degree program for the semester following the grace period. If the student is able to raise their cumulative GPA to a 3.5 or better at the end of the grace period, their Dean’s Scholarship will automatically be reinstated for the following semester. If a student does not achieve a cumulative 3.5 GPA by the end of the grace period but achieves a 3.5 semester GPA they may appeal the STH Academic Services Team to retain their scholarship moving forward. If a Tuition Scholarship recipient does not meet the required 2.7 cumulative GPA at the end of an academic year, the student will receive their Tuition Scholarship as a grace period for the upcoming semester. If the student is able to raise their cumulative GPA to a 2.7 or better at the end of the grace period, the Tuition Scholarship will be automatically reinstated for the following semester. If the student does not achieve a cumulative 2.7 GPA by the end of the grace period but achieves a 2.7 semester GPA they may appeal to the STH Academic Services Team to retain their Tuition Scholarship moving forward.
Disciplinary Probation and Financial Aid
If a student is placed on disciplinary probation and they are either a Dean’s Scholarship, Dean’s Fellowship or Merit Scholarship recipient, they will instead receive the tuition scholarship that pertains to their degree program, unless otherwise determined by the Academic Policies, Procedures, and Fellowships Committee.
Defaulted Federal Student Aid
If a student is currently in default status on any federal student aid (Direct Subsidized Loans and Direct Unsubsidized Loans, Direct PLUS Loans (where the student was the borrower), Direct Consolidation Loans, or Federal Perkins Loans), the student cannot receive any further federal or institutional student aid funds until they have resolved the default in accordance with the Federal Student Aid Handbook.
Merit Aid for Part-Time Students
The School of Theology recognizes that many students have obligations in addition to their academic studies. Therefore, if a student needs to enroll part-time (6-8 credits/semester) and the student is offered a Dean’s Fellowship, Ordination Scholarship, or Named Fellowship, the School of Theology is committed to awarding the full award according to the policies below:
- The total amount awarded cannot exceed what the student would have received if the student completed the degree full-time
- STH will not provide financial aid to students past the number of credits needed to complete program requirements:
- MDiv: 73 credits
- MTS : 49 credits
- MSM : minimum of 44 (choral conducting) or 41 (organ)
- The degree must be completed within the time limitations named in the STH Academic Bulletin:
- MDiv: 5 years (This requires an average of 7.3 credits/semester over 10 semesters)
- MTS & MSM : (This requires an average of 6.125 credits/semester over 8 semesters)
- If the student’s award includes a stipend, the part-time student may only receive half of the stipend each year. For example, if the student would have received a $5,000 annual stipend as a full-time student, the student will receive a $2,500 annual stipend as a part-time student.
- If a tentative graduate has not received the full amount of the stipend offered, the remaining amount will be awarded in the student’s final semester. For example, if the student would have received a $5,000 annual stipend as a full-time student (for a total of $15,000 over 3 years) and the part-time student received a $2,500 annual stipend over 10 semesters (for a total of $12,500 over 5 years), the student will receive an additional $2,500 stipend in the student’s final semester for a total of $15,000.
Federal Aid for Students
For current interest rates and loan fees, please visit the US Department of Education online. Repayment begins six months after the student borrower is no longer enrolled at least part-time in their degree program. Information on repayment can be found here.
Types of federal aid offered by the School of Theology
Federal Work-Study: This program is designed to help qualified students meet education expenses through employment. Jobs are available both on-campus and in approved nonprofit organizations off-campus. The School of Theology receives a limited amount of federal funds; preference is given to returning students who had a work-study job in the previous academic year and remaining funds are awarded to incoming students with the greatest financial need on a first-come, first-served basis. Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans: Eligibility for federal unsubsidized loans is determined through the review of an accurate FAFSA. Students enrolled in a degree program and registered for at least 6 credit hours are eligible to apply for a federal unsubsidized loan. Note that Boston University is an approved direct lender for the federal unsubsidized loan.
How to Apply for Financial Aid
Change of Program
Student Accounting Services
Students can electronically request to withdraw credit (funds remaining after all charges have been paid) by using the “request a refund” option on the Account Inquiry page on the Student Link. Students must provide a valid US bank account number and the funds will be electronically deposited. This process takes 3-5 business days after the student has made the request.
Financial Aid and Taxes
Council of Graduate Schools Resolution on offers of aid to prospective graduate students
Change in Registration Status: Full-Time/Part-Time
Leave of Absence/Withdrawal
More Financial Aid Information