Preparing to Take out a Loan


How Much do I Need? How much Can I Afford?

It is important to investigate and exhaust all other ways to fund your seminary education before taking out a loan, since you are obligated to repay a loan. If a Federal Direct Student Loan is the only option permitting you to attend seminary, the implications of loan repayment and total indebtedness must be considered.

Begin By:

1. Reviewing your budget to determine much money you will need to attend seminary. For help see Managing your Finances.

2. Consider how much you are hoping to earn when you graduate, to ensure that you will be able to repay your loans. The maximum total amount of combined debts (the sum of undergrad and graduate student loans, credit cards and other debt) that a person can reasonably pay back is 8% of their net income (after taxes and tithe). See: 

3. Determine How Much to Borrow, by entering your credit hours, fees, projected expenses and funds (such as savings or scholarships) available to cover these costs for each semester on this Updated for 2016-17 "Loan Determination" spreadsheet. This spreadsheet also will determine the total loan amount to request to ensure that loan fees are covered. (Note: After downloading the spreadsheet, ensure that the Excel Macros are enabled. Entry fields are shaded yellow).

4. To check the monthly amount you will need to repay use the Repayment Calculator once you have determined how much to take out. If you have previous loans you can determine your combined loan repayment amount here.

tHINGS To Consider:

1. Suggested Loan Limits: At Westminster we recommend that students should not exceed a total student loan (combined undergraduate and graduate) indebtedness of:

$26,000 for MDiv or MAR degrees
$20,000 for other Master’s programs

Students requesting loans which will result in them exceeding the suggested loan limits will receive a debt counseling email or will be required to meet with the Financial Aid Officer for debt counseling.

2. If you are a prospective student, with previous undergraduate loan debt, please consider that although you may qualify to defer repayment while attending Westminster, some loans will continue to accrue interest. To check your previous student Government loan history please log onto the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS).

3. Alternative repayment plans are available for students who are unable to pay back their loan(s) according to the standard 10-year repayment terms. For details see Repayment Plans. Please be aware that the total loan amount to be repaid (principle + interest) may be greater for plans whose repayment term is longer than 10 years.

4. The following Auburn Seminary video presents information about taking out loans to finance a seminary education.

If you have questions about your current loan debt or concerns about taking out a loan, the Financial Aid Office at Westminster would be happy to meet with you. Contact us at