February 16, 2024
“Can I afford Seminary?” and “What scholarships are available to me?” are commonly asked questions when considering whether to attend seminary.
At Westminster, we tend to encourage prospective students to first think about the quality of the training that they are going to receive, and the content of the education into which they are investing their tuition dollars. However, that is not to say that finances aren’t important. We understand that while finances aren’t the sole factor to consider when pursuing a seminary education, they are a significant one, and often a major hindrance to entering or remaining in ministry.
In this article we will be overviewing the contours of Westminster’s financial aid offerings by covering the internal scholarships available, our Match to Zero scholarship, and some external scholarships that may be available to you.
Westminster offers two traditional scholarships to residential students at the time of publishing this post.
The first scholarship is need-based/academic scholarship that is available for these residential programs: MDiv General, MDiv Pastoral Fellows program and MAR programs. Every student who is admitted into either of these programs is automatically considered for the scholarship. The MDiv General Ministry program and the MAR scholarship covers 66% of the annual tuition costs. This decreases the tuition per year from just over $34,000 down to just under $12,000 per year. The MDiv Pastoral Fellows program scholarship covers 90% of the yearly tuition costs. This decreases tuition from just under $50,000 dollars per year down to just under $5,000 per year.
What this means is that, though Westminster’s tuition cost of $1,230 per credit for the residential MDiv General and $1800 for the MDiv Pastoral is quite high compared to our competitors, the actual maximum tuition burden that falls to the student is minimal.
Match to Zero
This minimal tuition burden can be further decreased by utilizing Westminster’s Match to Zero scholarship. This scholarship is designed such that any ministry partners that desire to come alongside you and help provide for your tuition costs will be matched by Westminster dollar for dollar. If a church, friend, non-spousal family member, or any other ministry partner decides to financially partner with you to cover the tuition cost that remains after scholarships, Westminster will match whatever they contribute down to zero. That means that with this program, you can whittle your tuition costs down to zero leaving you with nothing to pay in tuition each year.
Though this scholarship requires work on your part, to cultivate and build a support network that will partner with you financially, the result can be that your theological education is essentially free, and you are surrounded by people that have invested in you with care and prayer. This scholarship also only applies to residential students. For more information, read this article on Understanding Match to Zero.
As you have hopefully seen so far, Westminster desires to make your seminary education as affordable as possible. So if you are unable to build a network such that your tuition costs are reduced to zero but are still facing financial uncertainty regarding your tuition costs, we encourage you to seek support in various places.
Check your local community and research online for additional scholarship options that may be available– you might be surprised at what opportunities present themselves.
Some external scholarships include The Dana Kull Memorial Scholarship which is a special fund at Ocean City Tabernacle awarding scholarship funds to individuals pursuing education leading to vocations of Christian service. The fund supports the education of students at the undergraduate, graduate, or seminary level, based on the Committee’s evaluation of the application. Learn more here, or to apply, go here.
Another external scholarship is the Bethel Scholarship Program which is a scholarship opportunity for students in seminary, offered by Bethel Korean Presbytertian Church. Learn more here.
The Marguerite Young Endowment Fund is a scholarship that was established at The Pittsburgh Foundation to provide scholarships for students who plan to study theology. Learn more here.
There are many more options available. A more complete (though certainly not extensive) list of external scholarships can be found online here. It should also be noted that none of these organizations are necessarily endorsed by Westminster, but simply serve as a resource for looking for outside aid.
Westminster is committed to theological education that is uncompromising in its biblical fidelity, Reformed and confessional distinctives, and affordability. Because of that we have offset the tuition costs for students by utilizing traditional scholarships, ministry partner matching scholarships, and external scholarships. The result is that no diligent student should be excluded from a Westminster education or hampered in their future ministry due to finances.
If you have any questions about these scholarships or would like to discuss your personal financial barriers to seminary, read more about overcoming financial barriers here or speak to an admissions counselor here.
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