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As we all know, a student, though he may gain the richest treasures of wisdom and knowledge during his course of study, will not pocket much change in the meantime. Seminary often is a sacrifice, a time for dipping into savings, for resting in God’s providence. Because of the academic rigor of RTS Jackson, we cannot recommend working over twenty hours a week. As a private, religious institution we cannot accept government loans or other federal funding. How will you make it through? We have put some materials together to give you some suggestions—how we can help and what others before you have done.
Thanks to donations and endowment, the standard cost of tuition has already been greatly underwritten. We also make life easier by providing very affordable campus housing. If you compare our costs for room and board with other seminaries or private graduate schools, you'll find you're already somewhat ahead financially.
To start, you must assess your resources and consult your church about support. We expect you to rely on your own resources as much as possible to make it through your program. An important first step is to contact your local church. Apart from your personal finances, the church can be your greatest resource as they invest in you spiritually and financially. (See Church Partnership Program below.)
Here at RTS our scholarship grants are only for full-time students and are always need-based. Once you have been accepted into a degree program at RTS, you may submit a financial aid application. This form enables us to see how much you need by showing us your personal resources as well as the difference between your monthly income and approved monthly expenses. Make sure you have the form in by the deadline!
A significant source of financial help comes through RTS partnership programs. All partnerships are exclusive and are done in lieu of RTS grants. The Church Partnership Program is simple. If your home church contributes up to 1/3 the cost of your tuition, RTS will match their funds up to 1/3 of the cost of tuition. To be approved, you must turn in a completed financial aid application before the deadline accompanied by a letter from your church indicating the quantity and duration of support. The Admissions office will let you know whether or not you have qualified for the Church Partnership Program.
Other partnerships include: students who have been significantly involved with Reformed University Fellowship or Campus Outreach and current staff members of Campus Crusade for Christ, Young Life, and InterVarsity. Contact the Admissions office for more information about seminary partnerships.
As a seminary, we encourage students to pursue the seminary partnerships since they represent more than we are able to do through seminary grants. But if you don't qualify for a partnership program, financial aid can be distributed through a wide array of RTS grants.
If you look on page four of the financial aid application, you will see that we have listed On-Campus Work as an option. If you desire to work on campus and are approved, hours will be allotted for you to work. Those hours are limited (see the form), and you will not be paid if you work more than the hours that you are awarded. Please note that all recipients of scholarship grants must work at least 10 hours a week, but that work does not necessarily have to be on campus.
Jackson and the surrounding community boast a wide variety of different kinds of employment. Local employers frequently contact RTS looking for part-time employees because of our long-standing presence in the community. Students work at UPS, Starbucks, local restaurants, as RDs at Belhaven University and Mississippi College, and of course in the many churches in the area. Ministry internships abound in the local churches, and students serve in a wide variety of areas: Christian Education, Discipleship, Missions, Visitation, Youth, College Ministry, and Pulpit Supply. For a listing of current local jobs, click here.
You can build a support network from individuals as well. Many students, by casting a vision of the ministry to which God has called them, will raise support from among family and friends. Often the student’s home church will set up an account in the student’s name as a mechanism to collect those funds. Enclosed in this packet is the documentation of a former student's support letters. They may provide valuable help in understanding how to rely on the body of Christ as you raise support.
Not many students decide to take out loans for their seminary education, and we don't typically recommend it. However, if you are in that situation or have outstanding educational debt from your undergraduate degree, here is a helpful handout that outlines what to expect financially as you work through paying off that debt after graduation.
You may be able to find exterior scholarships or private grants which are not listed on page four of the financial aid form. For a fairly extensive list, visit our "Grants Page." You are welcome to search on your own there or elsewhere for any that might fit your situation!
Finally, you have the option of looking into private loans. The key here is that RTS does not accept any government funds. In November 2008, due to the economic crisis which hit the loan market especially hard, the companies that had offered private loans to RTS students ceased offering loan options to our students. Since RTS does not accept federal funding, the only remaining opportunity for private loans would be through your local bank. RTS is searching for other loan options for our students. When they become available we will change this web page. For more information, contact our Admissions office at Admissions.firstname.lastname@example.org.
So, how will you make it through seminary? This is a challenging time. And God makes it challenging for a purpose. In seminary, you will be acquiring knowledge, gaining wisdom, sharpening skills. And the danger that creeps in here is to start to think, "I can do ministry." But God longs for broken and humble servants who depend on Him. He wants pastors, teachers, counselors and missionaries to come to Him with empty hands relying wholeheartedly on Him for their very sustenance. God makes this a challenging time so that again and again we might run to Him, and therein establish a pattern for ministry.