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New financial aid policy begins in 2018-19 academic year

100 percent tuition covered for residential pastoral, diaconal students

Zero. That is the amount students pursuing pastoral and diaconal ministry certification at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis will pay for tuition beginning in the 2018-19 academic year.

The Seminary’s new financial aid policy — made possible by the incredible generosity and support of Seminary donors — guarantees financial aid at least equal to the cost of tuition for all Master of Divinity (M.Div.), Residential Alternate Route (RAR) and Deaconess Studies students effective this fall.

The application deadline for the upcoming academic year is Feb. 28 and the financial aid deadline is April 1.

“Some of our future pastors and deaconesses don’t receive enough financial aid to cover their tuition bill in full,” said Seminary President Dr. Dale A. Meyer. “This new policy will cover that shortfall, relieving that burden and, I pray, opening the door to more students down the road who can put the worry of how to pay for their Seminary education behind them.”

The Seminary’s Board of Regents approved the new policy in September and Meyer first introduced the new policy at a convocation held on campus Oct. 25. (Watch a recording of the convocation here.)

Students receive financial assistance from many sources, including scholarships, the Adopt-a-Student Program, and specific support from home congregations and districts. Under the new policy, if an M.Div. or RAR student still has a tuition shortfall after factoring in that outside aid, the Seminary will completely cover the shortfall with a Residential Program Grant. Previously, these students were guaranteed a grant for 25 percent of the charged tuition before other sources of financial aid were factored into their tuition bill.

“While we celebrate and give thanks to our donors for their generous support, which has been given as a result of the Generations Campaign and makes this new policy possible, it’s important to remember that removing our students’ out-of-pocket tuition expenses can only continue and get even better with the ongoing support of our partners and donors,” Meyer said. “We need to be in partnership in this.”

All Seminary-based financial aid, including the grant established under the new policy, are grants and not loans, and therefore do not need to be paid back. The amount each student receives will vary based on his or her tuition shortfall. Other expenses incurred, including housing, insurance, books and other necessities, are the responsibility of the student.

The new policy requires M.Div. and RAR students to sign a “Partnership Covenant” with the Seminary, agreeing to the policy and committing to maintain satisfactory academic performance, apply for scholarships, disclose all sources of financial aid and communicate regularly with Adopt-A-Student donors.

Deaconess Studies students also will receive a grant that will completely meet their tuition bill after other types of aid are factored into their tuition costs. To maintain their eligibility for this financial aid, deaconess students also must agree to maintain satisfactory academic progress and are encouraged to apply for scholarships and correspond with donors.

“Concordia Seminary students are receiving record amounts of financial aid,” said Financial Aid Director Laura Hemmer. “We are committed to continuing to assist students in keeping financial concerns at a minimum and supporting them as they continue their Seminary studies and pursue ministry in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

About Concordia Seminary
Concordia Seminary, St. Louis provides Gospel-centered graduate-level theological education for pastors, missionaries, deaconesses, scholars and other leaders in the name of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS). To learn more, visit