“Show me the money!”
By Claudia Aguilar, MDIV '11 Associate Director of Recruitment and Student Services
This is not only one of the best quotes from a popular 90's movie, but also one of the factors that plays a determinant role when debating attending graduate school or not. And seminary is not an exception, especially considering that seminary requires more than just tuition: dozens of books, housing, food, utilities, car, healthcare, conferences, and traveling expenses. All of these are often overlooked. This month, the Columbia Mural is focusing on financial aid and other helpful financial resources for your seminary career. Columbia’s Director of Financial Planning, Vivian Hodo, is sharing the best tips for a healthy financial life as a seminary student, reminding us that money matters entail considering more than just tuition costs.
Know CTS Financial Aid
1. Federal aid and CTS institutional aid are different. Federal aid is a loan and usually must be repaid or forgiven. CTS institutional may be either a CTS scholarship such as the Columbia, Honor or Deans’ scholarships or CTS Financial Aid (FA) which is a combination of grant plus work-study/service. It is not a loan. The grant and work-study/service may not be separated. For every course credit hour that is covered by CTS Financial Aid a student must complete 5 hours of CTS work-study.
2. You must complete the FAFSA
(www.fafsa.ed.gov) It is used to determine your eligibility for federal programs, outside scholarships and for clarification of your situation as you apply for CTS institutional aid. Our school code is: G01560. The FAFSA is required for both federal aid and CTS Financial Aid.
3. CTS FA and scholarship applications must be completed by the stated deadlines. The CTS FA application is password protected. The password is included in your acceptance letter.
4. We participate in the federal loan program but encourage students to borrow as a last resort, taking only what is necessary.
5. Know your resources and needs and how you will manage shortfalls if your needs are greater than your resources.
6. Come to seminary with the “least” amount of educational and / or consumer debt possible.
7. Plan your budget and stick to it.
8. Have a back-up plan for emergencies.
9. Report changes in your situation. The
changes may afford you an unexpected benefit.
10. Your award letters are contracts. Read and keep them. It has useful information that will help you now and in the future.
11. Let everyone (families, friends, congregations, employers, volunteer groups that you have served etc.) know that you are in seminary and how they may help you.
12. Explore all funding opportunities that are available to you.
13. Have a list, available at all times, of items that you may need for yourself and family while in seminary. Someone or some organization may be able to help you.
14. Never borrow unless it’s necessary and never take more than you need even though you may be eligible for more.
15. Consider your repayment options at the same time you are considering a loan.
16. If you have questions about CTS institutional aid, outside scholarships, or federal programs please contact the Director of Financial Planning at: 404.687.4582 or
Director of Financial Aid
Room 212, Campbell Hall
PO Box 520
701 S. Columbia Drive
Decatur, GA 30031