Office of Financial Aid

The Office of Financial Aid believes that a part of our ministry is to aid students in funding their theological education. Our commitment is to making theological education accessible for ALL students as well as assist students in faithful stewardship, lowering student loan debt and to support their education and formation.

Types of Federal Student Aid

Eligible students can receive up to $20,500 per academic year in this program. The aggregate loan amount is $138,500 for a graduate student (aggregate amount includes undergraduate loans awarded to you). You can check your student loan history at

Memphis Theological Seminary is a graduate/professional school; therefore, we ONLY offer two federal loan products:

Direct Unsubsidized Loans are available to eligible students. Interest accrues from the date of disbursement. Repayment begins six months after students graduate, withdraw or drop below half-time status.

If you are over the aggregate loan limit of $138, 500, Direct Graduate PLUS Loans are available to students who must also meet the credit criteria established by the U.S. Department of Education. Students who do not meet the credit criteria may apply with an endorser (coborrower) who does. There is no grace period on the Direct Graduate PLUS Loan. Repayment begins the day after the loan is fully disbursed; however, students can defer repayment while enrolled in school at least half time, and for an additional six months after they graduate or drop below half-time status.*

For more information on these federal student loan products, go to, under the tab for Types of Aid.

Eligibility Requirements

The following requirements must be met for students to receive federal student aid:

be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen;

  • be registered with Selective Service, if required;
  • be admitted into an eligible program of study;
  • be making satisfactory academic progress;
  • not owe a refund on a federal grant or be in default on a federal education loan;
  • have a high school diploma or GED
  • Students must be enrolled in at least six credit hours per semester within a degree plan or eligible certificate program to receive financial aid
  • have a bachelor’s degree or at least 72 hours towards an undergraduate program

*Students with student loans in active bankruptcy are not permitted to borrow additional student loan funds

Forms and Downloads

How to Apply for Financial Aid, use this step by step guide:           

Financial Aid Documents:                                                                                                                                                            

Student Financial Aid Guides:                                                                                                                                                     

Cost of Attendance Sheet:

Loan Disbursements

MTS Bursar will notify the student through their MTS email when loan funds have been credited to the students account.

Disbursement of loans are contingent upon:

  • Completion of Financial Aid Documents
  • Student must be registered for current semester classes
  • Student must show satisfactory academic progress (2.0 Cumulative GPA and must complete 67% of classes attempted), when applicable
  • Academic Dean verifies student has attended first week of classes; DMin students will be verified by the 5th day of the beginning of each term (May 5th, Nov 5th).

If a student is enrolled in courses that do not count toward a degree, they cannot be used to determine enrollment status unless they are eligible remedial courses.  This means students cannot receive financial aid for classes that do not count toward their degree or Drug Alcohol and Addiction Counseling Certificate (DAAC).

Withdrawal/Drop Policy

Students who withdraw, may no longer be eligible for all the federal student aid that has been received. The amount of aid a student is eligible for during the semester depends on the number of days attended. The Office of Financial Aid is required by the federal government to determine how much federal student aid was “earned” up to the time of withdrawal.

Students who receive federal student aid who withdraw from all classes before 60% of the semester is subject to the Return of Title IV (r2T4) calculation to determine the percentage of Title IV funds (Federal Aid) required to return to the U.S. Department of Education. The federal calculation is:

   Days Attended                   =  Percentage Completed                                                                                                                 Days in the Semester

Total Aid Disbursed (X) Percentage Completed = Earned Aid                                                                                                  Total Aid Disbursed (-) Earned Aid = Unearned Aid Student Must Repay

If a student withdraws after the 60% point, no aid has to be repaid.

The Office of Financial Aid encourages students to consult with the Director of Financial Aid prior to actually withdrawing. The Director will explain the Return to Title IV Policy and how it will affect the student.

Federal student aid must be returned within 45 days of the date of the determination of the withdrawal, in the following order:

  • Unsubsidized Direct Federal Loan
  • Federal Graduate Plus Loan      
  • Institutional Scholarships  
  • Other aid as determined by the donor

All aid sources are repaid before any funds are returned to the student. Students who owe repayment are encouraged to immediately pay their account in full in the business office. If a balance is outstanding, the student will be unable to access transcripts or register. Your debt will be reported to the U.S. Department of Education for collection, and you will be ineligible for further financial aid at any postsecondary institution until the debt is paid in full.

Satisfactory Academic Progress – Standards for Financial Aid Recipients

Federal and Seminary regulations require that a student maintain satisfactory academic progress in order to receive financial aid. The minimum standards of satisfactory progress are contained in this document and are applicable for the financial aid programs administered by the Seminary.

  • A student must either maintain a minimum 2.0 cumulative grade point average.  A student must maintain the Seminary’s cumulative minimum GPA to remain in good standing, rather than a 2.0 GPA for one semester.
  • A student must successfully complete 2/3 (67%) of attempted hours as determined by the student’s enrollment status.  The chart below illustrates this criterion.


Status Credit Hours Enrolled  Per Semester Hours that Must Be Completed Successfully
Full-Time Status 9 6
Half-Time Status 6 4

As student must complete the degree or certificate within a specified time frame.

Program Credit Hours Length MTS Time Frame
Master of Divinity 84 4-Years 7-Years
Master of Arts in Religion 36 2-Years 5-Years
Master of Arts Youth Ministry 48 2-Years 5-Years
Master of Arts in Christian Ministry 42 2-Years 5-Years
DAAC Certificate 18 1-Year 3-Years
Doctor of Ministry 36 3-Years 6-Years

A student’s entire academic history (including credits transferred from other schools) is evaluated to determine the satisfactory academic progress whether or not financial assistance was received.

Standards for Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) will be evaluated annually at the end of the spring semester, as grades are posted.  A student who fails to meet SAP will no longer be eligible to receive assistance under the Title IV, HEA programs unless the student has appealed and has been placed on financial aid probation.

Successful Completing of a Class is defined as having earned a grade of A, B, C, D or P. Unsatisfactory completion or non-completion of a class is defined as having earned a grade of F, W, or I.

Financial Aid Suspension

When a student loses Federal Student Aid (FSA) eligibility because they failed to make satisfactory progress, the school will permit an appeal made to the Director of Financial Aid on the basis of:

  • Personal injury
  • Illness
  • The death of a relative
  • or other special circumstance(s)

This appeal must explain why the student failed to make satisfactory academic progress and what has changed in their personal situation that will allow the student to make satisfactory academic progress at the next evaluation.

If the Financial Aid Director determines, based on the appeal, that the student should be able to meet the SAP standards by the end of the subsequent payment period, the Financial Aid Director may place the student on probation without an academic plan.  The student’s progress must be reviewed after the next payment period, as probation status is for one payment period only.

If it is determined, based on the appeal, that the student will require more than one payment period to meet progress standards, the Financial Aid Director may place the student on probation and develop an academic plan for the student.  The Financial Aid Director will review the student’s progress at the end of one payment period as required of the student’s probation status, to determine if the student is meeting the requirements of the academic plan. If the student is meeting the requirements of the academic plan, the student is eligible to receive Title IV aid as long as the student continues to meet those requirements and is reviewed according to the requirements specified in the plan. To get access to the SAP Appeal Form,  click here.

Repeated Courses:  When repeating a course, students may receive financial aid for a course if the previous grade was an F or W.  In addition, students may also receive financial aid for a repeated course if the initial grade earned does not meet the pre-requisite requirement for the next course in the sequence.  Students may only receive financial aid for a repeated course once.

Non-Credit Courses:  These courses are not eligible for Title IV assistance and do not satisfy requirements of any Title IV eligible academic program.  As such they are not considered in the Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress.

Veterans Benefits (contact the nearest Department of Veterans Affairs)

Memphis Theological Seminary is approved for persons wishing to study under the provisions for educational benefits for veterans of the U.S. military services.  Information regarding benefits available should be obtained directly from the nearest office of the Department of Veterans Affairs. Inquiries regarding assistance by the seminary in processing applications should be addressed to:

Gail Robinson, Registrar and Associate Dean of Institutional Effectiveness
Memphis Theological Seminary
168 East Parkway South, Memphis, TN 38104
901.334.5826 Office

Questions regarding Financial Aid, please contact:

Fekecia Gunn, M.Div. ’12, Director of Financial Aid
Memphis Theological Seminary
Brown Shannon Building, 2nd floor, B-205
168 East Parkway South, Memphis, TN 38104
901.334.5887 Office/ 901.452.4051 Fax

The Department of Education regulations at 34 C.F.R. 600.9 requires schools to: In order to be eligible to participate in Title IV programs, an institution must be legally authorized by a State to provide a post-secondary education program, and the State must have a process to review and act upon student complaints about that institution.

Memphis Theological Seminary is legally authorized by Tennessee Code Annotated § 49-7-2004(a)(6) and §49-7-2004(a)(11) and the TN Office of Attorney General is the agency responsible for reviewing any complaints from students lodging a complaint against a school authorized to legally operate in the State of TN.

Complaints can be sent to:
Office of the Attorney General and Reporter
P.O. Box 20207
Nashville, TN 37202-0207
Telephone: (615) 741-3491
Fax: (615) 741-2009

Other Important Financial Aid Information: