Financial Aid Programs and Eligibility

This page describes the types of financial aid administered by the Financial Aid Office and the eligibility requirements for each program, including institutional aid, and Title IV federal studnet aid (e.g. federal Direct Loans and Federal Work-Study).

For information on how to apply for financial aid, please see How to Apply for Financial Aid.


Financial Aid Programs

Institutional Aid X X X X X X X X
Federal Work Study X X X X X X    
Federal Direct Loan X X X X X X X X

*Institutional financial aid for students in the GTU M.A. program is determined through their affiliate institution and communicated to the GTU Financial Aid Office for the purpose of awarding.

Institutional Aid

(Commonly referred to as “grant-in-aid” or “scholarships”)
Institutional aid, which does not have to be repaid, is a form of merit or need-based aid that is intended to reduce the overall cost of a student’s tuition.
In the case of the GTU Common MA program, the seminary or graduate school that the student is affiliated with provides the institutional aid and the GTU Financial Aid Office awards and administers the institutional aid in accordance with their financial aid policies.

Eligibility Requirements

  1. Applicant may be a foreign or domestic student.
  2. For merit-based aid, applicants must complete requirements established by the GTU Admissions Office.
  3. For need-based consideration, applicant must complete a GTU Financial Aid Application. For more information on how to apply for Financial Aid, visit the How to Apply for Financial Aid page.
  4. Must be enrolled at least half-time (at least 6.00 units, each semester).
  5. Must be making Satisfactory Academic Progress. (Please note: A student who completes all the academic requirements for a program but does not yet have the degree or certificate is not eligible for futher additional aid for that program).

Federal Student Aid

Eligibility Requirements

  1. Applicant must be a U.S. citizen or an eligible non-citizen;
  2. Be enrolled as a regular student and working toward an eligible degree or Gainful Employment (GE) certificate program;
  3. Must have a valid Social Security Number;
  4. Be registered with Selective Service (if required);
  5. Maintain satisfactory academic progress (Please note: A student who completes the academic requirements for a program but does not yet earned the degree or certificate is not eligible for futher aid for that program);
  6. Certify that no federal student loan is in a default status and no money is owed on a federal student grant;
  7. Be enrolled at least half-time (no less than 6.00 units per semester).


Federal Direct Loans

The Graduate Theological Union, partnering graduate schools and seminaries each participate in the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan program. Through the Direct Loan program, an eligible graduate student may borrow an Unsubsidized Direct Loan and/or a Direct Graduate PLUS Loan to help finance the cost of education, including the costs for books and supplies, room and board, transportation, and other expenses related to a student's education that are part of the official cost of attendance. These are loans that must be repaid.  The lender is the US Department of Education.  Students may borrow directly from the federal government through the Direct Loan servicer assigned to the student by the Department of Education.

The Direct Loan Program offers several repayment plans that are designed to meet the different needs of individual borrowers. Generally, borrowers have 10 to 25 years to repay a loan, depending on the repayment plan that is chosen.  The standard payment begins six months after the student graduates or is no longer enrolled at least half-time in a qualified degree program, and up to 10 years may be allowed to repay the loan(s).  Students who meet eligibility requirements may request a deferment or forebearance of their loan payment. A borrower will receive more detailed information about repayment options during the required student loan entrance and exit counseling sessions, by contacting the Financial Aid Office, or by visiting the US Department of Education's Federal Student Aid website at: or

The Budget and Control Act of 2011 eliminated subsidized loan eligibility for graduate and professional students for loan periods of enrollment beginning on or after July 1, 2012.

Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan
A student is not required to demonstrate financial need to borrow a Direct Stafford Unsubsidized Loan.  The annual loan limit, the maximum amount a graduate or professional student may borrow, is $20,500 in direct Unsubsidized Loans in a single academic year. The maximum outstanding total borrowing limit for a graduate or professional student (inclusive of subsidized loan debt and subsidized and unsubsidized loans borrowed at the undergraduate level, excluding capitalized interest) is $138,500.  No more than $65,500 of this aggregate amount may be in the form of subsidized loans.  A borrower who has reached his or her aggregate borrowing limit may not receive additional loans. Once loans are repaid, in full or in part, the borrower may apply for additional loans.

The interest rate for a Direct Stafford Unsubsidized Loan disbursed on or after July 1, 2018 is fixed at 6.60%.   Interest accrues (accumulates) on an unsubsidized loan from the time it is first paid out. The interest may be paid while the borrower is in school and during grace periods and deferment or forbearance periods, or the interest may accrue and be capitalized (that is, added to the principal amount of the loan).  Choosing not to pay the interest as it accrues will increase the total amount a borrower will have to repay.  Accrued interest is capitalized once the loan enters repayment. Repayment begins 6-months after a borrower graduates or otherwise drops below half-time enrollment.

An origination loan fee of at least 1.062% is deducted from the total amount of each Direct Stafford Unsubsidized Loan disbursement.

Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan
An additional loan provided under the Direct Loan Program is the Direct PLUS Loan for graduate and professional students.  The terms and conditions include: a determination that the applicant does not have an adverse credit history and a fixed interest rate of 7.60% for loans disbursed on or after July 1, 2018.  An origination loan fee of at least 4.248% is deducted from the total amount of each loan disbursement.  Before a student will be considered for a PLUS Loan, the Financial Aid Office must determine the student’s maximum eligibility for Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loans.  The maximum PLUS Loan amount an eligible student can borrow is the cost of attendance minus any other financial assistance received.

The repayment period for a Direct PLUS Loan begins at the time the PLUS loan is fully disbursed, and the first payment is due within 60 days after the final disbursement. However, a borrower may defer repayment while enrolled at least half-time.  For Direct PLUS Loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2008, a borrower may also defer repayment for an additional six months after ceasing to be enrolled at least half-time.


Federal Work-Study Program

Federal Work-Study (FWS or “work-study”) is a federally funded, campus-based aid program administered by the institution to assist students who have demonstrated financial need in offsetting the costs of a student’s educational expenses.  Federal law states two general purposes for the program.  The first and original purpose is to stimulate and promote part-time employment of graduate and professional students who need employment to pursue courses of study at eligible institutions.  The Higher Education Act of 1992 added a second purpose, to encourage students receiving federal student financial assistance to participate in community service activities that will benefit the nation and engender a sense of social responsibility and commitment to the community.

Using a statutory formula, the US Department of Education allocates funds based on the institution’s previous funding level and the aggregate need of eligible students in attendance in the prior year. Through the FWS program, the federal government pays a portion of the student’s salary while the institution or off-campus organization the remainder.  Institutions are required by federal law to use at least seven percent (7%) of its overall allocation to support students working in community service jobs with at least one student employed as a reading tutor for children in a reading tutoring project or performing family literacy activities, that may include: reading tutors for preschool age or elementary school children; mathematics tutors for students enrolled in elementary school through ninth grade; literacy tutors in a family literacy project; or emergency preparedness and response.  To further encourage schools to employ FWS students in these positions and as mathematics tutors, FWS regulations authorize a 100% federal share of FWS wages.

 The law requires that participants be in good academic standing, be citizens or permanent residents of the United States, and demonstrate financial need. FWS students may work up to a recommended limit of 20 hours per week during school periods and up to 37.5 hours per week during non-enrollment (vacation) periods. The amount of the award is based on a student's need as determined by the Financial Aid Office and availablity of funds. Students may be employed on or off-campus.  Federal Work-Study awards do not guarantee a student employment with an eligible employer.