Financial Aid Policies

Student Rights + Responsibilities

You have the right to ask:
  • What financial assistance is available, including federal, state and institutional financial aid programs
  • What deadlines are for submitting financial aid applications
  • What cost of attendance is, and what the policy is on refunds if you withdraw
  • What criteria are used to select financial aid recipients and how it determines your financial aid eligibility; this process includes how costs for tuition, fees, room and board, books, supplies, and personal and miscellaneous expenses are considered in your budget
  • How much of your financial aid eligibility has been met
  • What resources (such as earned income, other financial aid and your assets, etc.) are considered in calculating your financial aid eligibility
  • How much of your financial aid eligibility has been met
  • For an explanation of the various programs in your financial aid package
  • What financial aid must be repaid and what is grant aid; if the aid is a loan, you have the right to know what the interest rate is, the total amount that must be repaid, payback procedures, the length of time you have to repay the loan and when repayment begins
  • What the policy is on satisfactory academic progress
It is your responsibility to:
  • Read all documents you are sent regarding your application for assistance and contact the financial aid office in writing if corrections are needed
  • Review and consider all information about a school’s program before you enroll
  • Pay special attention to your application for student financial aid, complete it accurately and submit it to the right place. (Intentional misreporting of information on application forms for federal financial aid is a violation of law and is considered a criminal offense subject to penalties under the U.S. Criminal Code).
  • Return all requested documentation in a reasonable amount of time
    Read and understand all forms you are asked to sign and keep copies of them.
  • Sign and return the Financial Aid Notification if you wish to decline any aid offered by the financial aid office Accept responsibility for all agreements you sign
  • Notify your lender of changes in your name, address or school status
    Perform in a satisfactory manner the work that is agreed upon in accepting a Federal Work-Study award Know and comply with your school’s refund procedures

Loan Program Code of Conduct

Christian Theological Seminary Title IV Loan Program Code of Conduct
The following code of conduct applies to the officers, employees, and agents of Christian Theological Seminary (CTS). All CTS officers, employees, and agents with responsibilities with respect to Title IV Loans will be annually informed of the provisions of this Code of Conduct.

1) Officers, employees, and agents of Christian Theological Seminary shall not enter into a revenue-sharing arrangement, as defined by the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA,) with any lender. The HEOA defines “revenue-sharing agreement” as any arrangement between an institution and a lender under which the lender makes Title IV loans to students attending the institution (or to the families of those students), the institution recommends the lender or the loan products of the lender and, in exchange, the lender pays a fee or provides other material benefits, including revenue or profit-sharing, to the institution or to its officers, employees, or agents.

2) Employees of the CTS Financial Aid Office may not accept gifts from a lender, guaranty agency or loan servicer. An officer or employee of the CTS Financial Aid Office (or any CTS employee or agent who otherwise has responsibilities with respect to educational loans) may not solicit or accept any gift from a lender, guarantor, or servicer of education loans. A “gift” is defined as any gratuity, favor, discount, entertainment, hospitality, loan, or other item having monetary value of more than a minimal amount ($10.00). A gift does not include:

(a) a brochure, workshop, or training using standard materials relating to a loan, default aversion, or financial literacy, such as a brochure, workshop or training;
(b) food, training, or informational material provided as part of a training session designed to improve the service of a lender, guarantor, or servicer if the training contributes to the professional development of the CTS officer, employee or agent;
(c) favorable terms and benefits on an education loan provided to a student employed by CTS if those terms and benefits are comparable to those provided to all CTS students;
(d) entrance and exit counseling as long as the CTS staff are in control of the counseling and the counseling does not promote the services of a specific lender;
(e) philanthropic contributions from a lender, guarantor, or servicer that are unrelated to education loans or any contribution that is not made in exchange for advantage related to education loans, and;
(f) State education grants, scholarships, or financial aid funds administered by or on behalf or a State.

3) An officer or employee of the CTS Financial Aid Office (or CTS employee or agent who otherwise has responsibilities with respect to education loans) may not accept from a lender, or an affiliate of any lender, any fee, payment, or other financial benefit as compensation for any type of consulting arrangement or contract to provide services to or on behalf of a lender relating to education loans.

4) The CTS Financial Aid Office will not steer borrowers to particular lenders or assign, through the award packaging or other methods, a first-time borrower’s loan to a particular lender.

5) The CTS Financial Aid Office will not refuse to certify, or delay the certification, of any loan based on the borrower’s selection of a particular lender or guaranty agency.

6) CTS will not request or accept from any lender any offer of funds for private loans, including funds for an opportunity pool loan, to students in exchange for providing concessions or promises to the lender for a specific number of Title IV loans made, insured, or guaranteed, a specified loan volume, or a preferred lender arrangement. An “opportunity pool loan” is defined as a private education loan made by a lender to a student (or the student’s family) that involves a payment by an educational institution to the lender for extending credit to the student.

7) The CTS Financial Aid Office will not request or accept from any lender any assistance with call center staffing or financial aid office staffing, except professional development training, educational counseling materials which identify the lender that assisted in preparing the materials, or staffing services on a short-term, nonrecurring basis during emergencies or disasters.

8) An employee of the CTS Financial Aid Office (or CTS employee who otherwise has responsibilities with respect to education loans or financial aid) who serves on an advisory board, commission, or group established by a lender or guarantor (or a group of lenders or guarantors) is prohibited from receiving anything of value from the lender, guarantor, or group, except for reimbursement for reasonable expenses incurred by the employee for serving on the board.

Financial Aid Penalties for Drug Law Violations

A federal or state drug conviction can disqualify you for Title IV Federal Student Aid funds.

Convictions only count if they were for an offense that occurred during a period of enrollment for which you were receiving Title IV Federal Student Aid Funds – they do not count if the offense was not during such a period. Also, a conviction that was reversed, set aside, or removed from your record does not count, nor does one received when you were a juvenile, unless you were tried as an adult.

The chart below illustrates the period of ineligibility for Title IV Federal Student Aid funds, depending on whether the conviction was for sale or possession and whether you had previous offenses. A conviction for sale of drugs includes convictions for conspiring to sell drugs.

Length of ineligibility for Title IV Federal Student Aid Funds

Possession of Illegal Drugs
1st offense – 1 year from date of conviction
2nd offense – 2 years from date of Conviction
3+ offenses – Indefinite period

Sale of Illegal Drugs
1st offense – 2 years from date of conviction
2nd offense – Indefinite period
3+ offenses – Indefinite period

If you were convicted of both possessing and selling illegal drugs, and the periods of ineligibility are different, you will be ineligible for the longer period.

You regain eligibility the day after the period of ineligibility ends or when you successfully complete a qualified drug rehabilitation program or when you pass 2 unannounced drug tests conducted by a drug rehabilitation program which meets regulatory criteria. Further drug convictions will make you ineligible again.

If you are denied eligibility for an indefinite period you can regain eligibility after successfully completing a rehabilitation program as described below, if a conviction is reversed, set aside, or removed from your record so that fewer than two convictions of sale or three convictions for possession remain on your record or if you pass 2 unannounced drug tests conducted by a drug rehabilitation program which meets regulatory criteria. In such cases, the nature and dates of the remaining convictions will determine when you regain eligibility. It is your responsibility to certify to the CTS Financial Aid Office that you have successfully completed the rehabilitation program.

Standards for a Qualified Drug Rehabilitation Program

A qualified drug rehabilitation program must include at least two unannounced drug tests and must satisfy at least one of the following requirements:

  • Be qualified to receive funds directly or indirectly from a federal, state or local government program.
  • Be qualified to receive payment directly or indirectly from a federally or state-licensed insurance company.
  • Be administered or recognized by a federal, state, or local government agency or court.
  • Be administered or recognized by a federally or state-licensed hospital, health clinic, or medical doctor.

Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress

In addition to all CTS academic requirements, recipients of Federal Stafford Loans and Federal Work-Study funds must meet the following standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) in order to establish and maintain eligibility for assistance from these programs.

Pace
  • Successful pace is defined by completion of at least 67% of all coursework attempted. Pace is measured by dividing the cumulative number of hours successfully completed by the cumulative number of hours attempted.
  • Attempted coursework is defined as any course in which a student is enrolled at the end of the 100% refund period.
  • Successful completion of coursework is defined as receipt of a grade of A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, D-, or P if a course is taken as pass/fail.
  • Unsuccessful completion of coursework is defined as receipt of a grade of F, I, or W.
  • Successful completion of coursework for the Doctor of Ministry Programs is defined as B- or higher in all courses applied toward the degree.
  • Repeated coursework is counted only once toward completion of academic progress requirements.
  • Credit hours officially accepted in transfer and specifically applied toward a student’s degree program are counted as both attempted and completed hours.
  • Repeated coursework is counted as many times as the course is repeated in the computation of total hours attempted.
  • Courses that are assigned an incomplete grade are included in the cumulative hours attempted but cannot be used as credits earned toward progress standards until a successful grade is assigned.
Maximum Timeframe for Degree Completion

The time limit for completing degree requirements and minimum cumulative GPA requirements are as follows:

wdt_ID Degree Program Maximum Time to Complete Degree GPA
SAP Reviews
  • Satisfactory Academic Progress will be reviewed after each Spring Semester. Financial aid already offered for the following enrollment period(s) may be canceled if academic progress is found to be unsuccessful during this review.
  • If progress is determined to be insufficient during the review process students will be suspended from receiving future federal student aid. Students will receive written notification when placed on financial aid suspension.
  • Students who are placed on financial aid suspension and terminated from receiving federal financial aid can appeal to be reinstated. See the section below for appeal information.
Financial Aid Eligibility Termination Appeal Process

A student who wishes to appeal the termination of financial aid eligibility will be required to submit a written appeal to the Director of Financial Aid. The written appeal must be specific in describing the factors that caused the financial aid suspension and should explain what changes will be made that will allow you to meet standards.

Appeals may be based on the following circumstances:

  • Personal medical condition impeded progress; written statement from student’s health care professional or other documentation required.
  • Death or life-threatening medical condition of immediate family member; written statement from health care professional or other documentation required.
  • Student experienced extraordinary situation or problem which necessitated professional intervention to overcome; statement from health care professional or other documentation required.
  • Other extenuating circumstances prevented achievement of academic progress; documentation required.

The Director of Financial Aid will review all appeals and provide a written statement as to the disposition of the appeal.

Students whose appeals are accepted will be placed on financial aid probation. If Satisfactory Academic Progress is not maintained while on financial aid probation, financial aid eligibility will be terminated and no further appeals will be allowed.

A student may file only one appeal of financial aid termination status.

Reestablishing Financial Aid Eligibility

If satisfactory progress is not made during the semester while on probation status, a student may regain eligibility by bringing both the cumulative GPA and pace requirements up to the minimum standards outlined in this policy.

Financial Aid Refund + Return to Title IV Policy

Financial Aid Refund Policy and Return To Title IV (R2T4) Policy

The student’s official enrollment status will be determined based on enrollment at the end of the 100% tuition refund period each semester. Once enrollment status has been determined, financial aid will be reviewed. If a student’s enrollment status changes after the student’s financial aid has been awarded, the financial aid award will be adjusted to reflect the current enrollment status.

If a student drops a class(es) after the end of the 100% tuition refund period, institutional aid may be adjusted according the Institutional Aid Refund Policy, but federal aid will not be adjusted. However, Federal Stafford Loans require enrollment to be recertified at the time of disbursement. Federal regulations state that if a student drops below half-time status or withdraws prior to the disbursement, the loan may not be disbursed.

CTS Institutional Refund Policy

When a student withdraws from Christian Theological Seminary (CTS) or drops a class, adjustments are made to CTS scholarships and grants which were awarded to the student. Adjustments are done in coordination with the CTS Standard Refund Schedule for institutional charges. In no case will a student receive CTS Scholarship or Grant funds in cash.

Return to Title IV (R2T4) Policy

When a recipient of Title IV aid (Federal Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford Loans) withdraws from all classes, drops out, or takes a leave of absence, federal regulations require Christian Theological Seminary (CTS) to determine the amount of Federal Title IV Aid (not including Federal Work-Study) that the student earned as of the student’s withdrawal date. The return of funds calculation will be completed within 30 days of the student’s determined withdrawal date.

Determination of Withdrawal Date for Return of Funds

Official Withdrawals: The withdrawal date for students who complete the formal withdrawal process will be the date listed on the Withdrawal Form, the date the student contacted the Registrar to indicate that he/she planned to withdraw, or the date of the student’s last participation in a documented educationally related activity.

A student may provide official notification of the intent to withdraw and then change his/her mind. In order to rescind the intent to withdraw for purposes of this calculation, the student must provide in writing a statement of his/her intention to remain enrolled through the end of the payment period. If the student withdraws after rescinding his/her intent to withdraw, the withdrawal date is the date on which the student provided notification of the intent to withdraw or began the original withdrawal process, or the date of the student’s last attendance at a CTS documented academically related activity.

Unofficial Withdrawals: If the student ceases attendance without providing official notification to CTS the withdrawal date will be considered to be the last date on which the student participated in a CTS documented academically related educational activity.

If it is determined that the student did not begin the official withdrawal process or did not notify the Registrar’s Office of the intent to withdraw due to illness, death, accident, grievous personal loss, or other circumstances beyond the student’s control, the withdrawal date is the date which CTS determines that the student ceased attendance due to the aforementioned applicable event.

For the purposes of this policy, an educationally related activity is defined as:

  • Physically attending a class where there is an opportunity for direct interaction between the instructor and students;
  • Submitting an academic assignment;
  • Taking an exam, an interactive tutorial, or computer-assisted instruction;
  • Attending a study group that is assigned by the institution;
  • Participating in an online discussion about academic matters;
  • Participation at a SCOFE or CPE site, or
  • Initiating contact with a faculty member to ask a question about the academic subject studied in the course.
Calculation of Title IV Aid Earned

CTS will determine the percentage of Title IV funds earned by a student who withdraws by dividing the number of calendar days completed in a semester by the total number of days in the semester. The number of days in the numerator and denominator includes all days within the period, except for institutionally scheduled breaks of five or more consecutive days. If a student withdraws while on a scheduled break of five or more consecutive days, the withdrawal date is the last date of classes prior to the beginning of the break. The day the student withdraws is counted as a completed day.

The amount of Title IV Aid earned by the student is then determined by multiplying the percentage of Title IV aid earned by the total amount of Title IV aid disbursed plus Title IV aid that could have been disbursed to the student or on the student’s behalf.

Title IV Aid to be Disbursed or Returned

If the student receives less Title IV Aid than the amount earned, CTS must offer a disbursement of the earned aid that was not received. This is called a post-withdrawal disbursement.

Post-Withdrawal Disbursements

CTS will provide written notification to the student of his/her eligibility for a post-withdrawal disbursement. This notification will:

  • inform the student of post-withdrawal disbursement funds which were credited to the student’s account for tuition, fees, CTS apartment rent, CTS Hospitality House charges and other educational expenses for which authorization has been granted by the student
  • request permission to credit the student’s account for other current charges for educationally related activities, if prior authorization was not obtained
  • notify the student of the availability of any remaining earned Title IV programs assistance and ask the student if they wish to receive these remaining funds.

This written notification will be sent within 30 days of the student’s withdrawal and will require that the student respond within 14 days of the date on the written notification. if the student wishes to receive any remaining earned Title IV assistance in a refund check. If the student does not respond to this notification within the timeframe, CTS will is not required to make these funds available to the student. Responses received after the timeframe will be considered on a case by case basis.

A post-withdrawal disbursement must be made within 120 day of the of student’s withdrawal.

Title IV Aid to be Returned

If the student receives more Title IV aid than the amount earned, CTS, the student, or both, must return the unearned funds.

CTS must return a portion of the excess funds equal to the lesser of:

  • the institutional charges multiplied by the unearned percentage of funds or
  • the entire amount of excess funds.

The funds will be returned within of the date of the determination that the student withdrew and will be returned in the order listed below:

  • Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans
  • Subsidized Federal Stafford Loans

Unearned loan funds which must be returned by the student will be repaid in accordance with the terms of the promissory note.

Verification Policy

Verification is the process of checking the accuracy of the information reported on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

The guidelines used for verification are published annually in the U.S. Department of Education’s Verification Guide. It is Christian Theological Seminary’s policy to verify all recipients of need-based federal aid selected for verification by the Central Processing System (CPS). Christian Theological Seminary (CTS) also reserves the right to select additional applications for verification.

The verification requirements delineated in this policy statement apply to all recipients of Federal Work-Study funds.

For verification purposes CTS defines a financial aid recipient as an enrolled student who is eligible to receive federal financial aid. Aid will not be disbursed from the aforementioned program, as well as any need based CTS programs, until the verification process has been completed.

Verification Deadlines

Applicants selected for verification will be required to submit documentation to the CTS Financial Aid Office in support of data supplied on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The financial aid office will notify selected applicants of the documentation needed to complete the verification process. All information required to complete the verification process or to resolve conflicting data must be submitted prior to beginning Federal Work-Study employment. If all information is not received, the applicant forfeits all rights to any Federal Work-Study employment during the current academic year.

Applicant Correction and Notification Procedures

The financial aid office will electronically submit to the Central Processing System (CPS) corrections to FAFSA data resulting from verification. The CPS will then send notification of these changes to the applicant as notification of these corrections. Applicants will be notified of award changes resulting from verification by the receipt of an updated award notification from the financial aid office.

Notification of Verification Policies and Procedures

This verification policy is included along with other financial aid policies and procedures in written documentation that is made available to all students selected for verification and is also included on the financial aid website.

Overpayments, Fraud and Abuse

If corrections resulting from the verification process decrease an applicant’s award and create an overpayment situation, Christian Theological Seminary will send notification of this situation to the applicant and attempt to collect the overpayment. If collection of the overpayment from the applicant cannot be made, CTS will refer the overpayment to the Education Department for collection.

The Christian Theological Seminary Financial Aid Office will report to the Office of the Inspector General all instances of suspected fraud where a financial aid applicant, employee, or other individual has misreported and /or altered documentation for the purpose of increasing aid eligibility or fraudulently obtaining federal funds.

The Director of Financial Aid will review all appeals and provide a written statement as to the disposition of the appeal.

Students whose appeals are accepted will be placed on financial aid probation. If Satisfactory Academic Progress is not maintained while on financial aid probation, financial aid eligibility will be terminated and no further appeals will be allowed.

A student may file only one appeal of financial aid termination status.

Reestablishing Financial Aid Eligibility

If satisfactory progress is not made during the semester while on probation status, a student may regain eligibility by bringing both the cumulative GPA and pace requirements up to the minimum standards outlined in this policy.