Principles

The financial aid program at Bethel Seminary is designed to assist students who have limited resources for their seminary education. It is hoped that each student will be able to work out a financial plan that avoids undue financial pressure, excessive employment, or unmanageable indebtedness. The student is responsible for his or her educational and living expenses. However, the seminary seeks to assist the student in meeting expenses through a combination of scholarships, and loans. The financial aid program is based on the following principles, which have been approved by the Association of Theological Schools:

Guiding Principles

  1. The student has the major responsibility for his or her educational and living expenses. The school’s aid will augment the student’s efforts.
  2. Students are encouraged to seek scholarships from third-party sources.  (This includes church scholarships, employer reimbursement, etc.) When private scholarships are reported to the financial aid office, loan eligibility may be reduced, if needed, to keep the student’s total aid package within federal need limits. Institutionally controlled gift aid is reduced if total gift aid from all sources exceeds the financial aid budget for tuition, fees, living expenses, books, and supplies.
  3. Recipients of military-related educational benefits (e.g. army tuition assistance, Post-9/11 GI Bill, etc.) will have their institutionally controlled gift aid reduced if total military benefits, grants, and scholarships exceed the financial aid budget for tuition, fees, room, board, books and supplies.
  4. All financial aid, excluding job earnings, is first credited to a student’s Bethel account. Only after all current term charges are satisfied will a credit balance be disbursed to students for use in meeting other expenses.

Types of Aid

Master’s students enrolled for at least six (6) credits per semester may be eligible for scholarships. Visit seminary.bethel.edu/financial-aid/types for details.

Master’s and doctoral students enrolled for at least three (3) credits per semester may be eligible for federal direct student loans. Visit seminary.bethel.edu/financial-aid/types/loans for details.

Applying for Financial Aid

To apply for financial aid at Bethel Seminary, a student must submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA is available at www.fafsa.gov. Students applying for endowed and restricted scholarships must complete an additional online application. Students applying for military benefits should visit seminary.bethel.edu/financial-aid/types/military-benefits for information and application procedures.

Assistantships

A limited number of assistantships are open to students with good academic records. Each student works under the supervision of one or more faculty members. Students should contact individual faculty members directly to inquire about potential opportunities.

Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy

Bethel University has two methods of monitoring student achievement. There is an Academic Progress, Probation, and Dismissal process administered by faculty committees. Please see policies on Academic Probation in the Scholastic Regulations section of the catalog for standards governing this process. There is also a Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (FA-SAP) policy administered by the Office of Financial Aid.

The FA-SAP policy is mandated by federal and state laws and regulations, and involves the monitoring of cumulative grade point average, pace of completion (ratio of completed to attempted courses), and the total number of courses students attempt. Students who do not meet the minimum FA-SAP standards may lose eligibility for federal, state, and institutional financial aid. Appeals are submitted to the financial aid office and reviewed by a cross-departmental Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress committee.

The following definitions apply to terms used in the Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress policy:

  1. Financial aid probation. Financial aid probation means a status assigned by an institution to a student who fails to make satisfactory academic progress and who has appealed and has had eligibility for aid reinstated. The probationary period is one semester.
  2. Financial aid warning. Financial aid warning means a status assigned to a student who fails to make financial aid satisfactory academic progress at an institution that evaluates academic progress at the end of each semester.
  3. Maximum time frame. Students are expected to complete their program within the normal time for completion (87 semester credits for a Master of Divinity). However, there may be special circumstances like a program change or an illness that would prevent the students from completing their program of study within the normal time frame.
    To accommodate these special circumstances, students may continue receiving aid until they either (a) complete graduation requirements for their program of study, or (b) attempt 150% of the number of credits (including transfer credits, advanced placement, or CLEP credits) required for their program of study, or (c) reach the point where they cannot earn the number of credits necessary to complete their program of study within 150% of required credits for the degree, whichever comes first.
  4. Appeal. Appeal means a process by which a student who is not meeting the institution’s Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (FA-SAP) standards petitions the institution for reconsideration of the student’s eligibility for financial aid.

Frequency of review. Student academic progress is reviewed after fall, spring, and summer semesters.

Visit seminary.bethel.edu/financial-aid/eligibility/academic-progress to view the complete FA-SAP.

Financial Aid Refunds

There are four sources of financial aid: federal government (Title IV funds), state governments, Bethel University, and private third-party organizations. Financial aid is refunded in accordance with policies established by each entity. Refunds are first calculated for federal funds, then state funds, then Bethel and third-party funds.

Refund Calculation Summary Example

  Account Activity Running Balance
Tuition $5,085  
Student Activity Fee $10  
Total Charges $5,095 $5,095
Stafford Loan posted Oct. 10 $(4,200) $(895)
Student withdrew from all classes Oct. 16    
Tuition Refund - 25% (Oct. 16) $(1,271) $(376)
Stafford Loan Refunded to Lender (Nov. 2) $1,605 $1,229

Federal (Return of Title IV Funds) Refund Policy

 If a student withdraws or is expelled from Bethel after a term has begun, the school or the student may be required to return some of the federal aid funds awarded to the student. This “Return of Title IV Funds” policy is required by federal rules and went into effect at Bethel on July 1, 2000.

The federal formula requires a return of Title IV (federal) aid if the student received federal financial assistance in the form of a direct loan, and withdrew on or before completing 60% of the term. The percentage of Title IV aid to be returned is equal to the number of days remaining in the term divided by the number of calendar days in the term. Scheduled breaks of more than four consecutive days are excluded.

Financial Aid Refunds for Institutional and Third-Party Funds

After calculating the federal refund policy, Bethel calculates the potential refunds of state, institutional, and private funds. Students who borrow a Minnesota SELF loan are subject to the Minnesota refund calculation. Students with institutional aid and/or third-party sources of gift aid will have their aid reduced by the same percent as their tuition was reduced.

Because there are several different refund policies involved in most withdrawals, students may still owe money to the school after all calculations have been completed. Students considering withdrawal are encouraged to visit a financial aid counselor and simulate the financial effect of withdrawing before officially withdrawing from the university.

Sample Refund Calculation

Suppose a student is enrolled for nine credits and withdraws from all classes after completing 43 days of a 109-day semester. Sample charges and financial aid are listed below. After applying all the refund calculations, this student will owe Bethel $1,229, and will owe $2,595 in Direct Loans ($4,200 loan less $1,605 refund to lender = $2,595).