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Financial Aid for Service


Webinars With PeopleJoy

Student Loan 101

For church workers, staff serving PCUSA related institutions, and students in preparation for ministry.

Learn about managing educational debt and maintaining your student or parent loan to achieve Public Service Loan Forgiveness.

The January 31st webinar recording is available here.

College Financial Planning

Figuring out how to pay for college can be difficult and discouraging. The college financial planning tool will help you understand the costs of college, the likely return on your investment in education, and options to help with the cost.

To use the tool visit College Financial Planning at PeopleJoy (

Use your email address and authorization code: FAFS to register.

Welcome! Financial Aid for Service focus is education for a lifetime of discipleship. In addition to managing the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s student aid and student loan relief programs, the team provides grant administration services to:

  • Grant Programs for Presbyterian related schools, colleges, and universities.
  • Theology, Formation, and Worship programs.
  • Mariner’s Family Ministry program.

Programs Accepting Applications

Presbyterian Scholarship for Undergraduates
Serving Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) members seeking a first degree. Students must be full-time, attending a U.S. college or university, and making satisfactory academic progress towards a degree. This is a need-based aid program.

Presbyterian Study Grant
Serving Presbyterian students preparing for a career in a church occupation, this program serves MDiv and MACE/F students attending seminary or divinity school in the United States.

Samuel Robinson Award 
Serving Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) members attending Presbyterian-related colleges or universities who will graduate in 2023 or 2024.

Theresa Mumford Award
This program serves orphan girls from Brantley County, GA and surrounding counties in Georgia.

Online student aid applications are supported by Kaleidoscope. Upon submission of a PCUSA application, students are eligible to apply for scholarship programs offered by Kaleidoscope partners.

Resources for students and families

Free Application for Federal Student Aid

College Scorecard

Paying for College

Bureau of Labor Statistics for K-12 students

Occupational Outlook Handbook

Presbyterian related

Association of Presbyterian Colleges and Universities
Learn more about Presbyterian Colleges and Universities.

Our Presbyterian Theological Seminaries
Everyday life has changed significantly since the first of our Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) theological seminaries were founded.

Preparation process for ministry
Are you considering a career in ministry? Visit the preparation process resource page to learn more about the ordination process.

Board of Pensions
Learn more about transition-to-college grants for the children of professional church workers participating in the Board of Pensions.

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For parents

Transition-to-college assistance grants
The Board of Pensions of the PC(USA) is pleased to offer this pilot program that can help mitigate transitional expenses for eligible families of college freshmen.

Preparing for College
The U.S. Department of Education Web site offers a comprehensive overview for students and their parents preparing to go to college. Includes interactive calculators and planning tools. This Web site contains content available in English and Spanish.
Excellent resource for parents looking for information on academic preparedness and financial aid. The PC(USA) does not endorse products sold on the Collegeboard Web site.

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For students

Preparing for College (Students)
Excellent resource for college bound students with information on applying to college, preparing applications for admissions, and financial aid. The PC(USA) does not endorse products sold on the Collegeboard Web site.

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Information on financing for education

How We Pay for College
Broadcast on August 21st, on NPR’s Talk of the Nation, this overview of financial aid is a good starting point for students and parents with questions about financial aid. The running time for the segment is 38 minutes. You can also visit the FAQ page on our website.

If you are interested in more information about Presbyterian-related colleges and universities there is a new catalog published by APCU in partnership with Collegiate Ministries. You can order a free copy online or by contacting Presbyterian Distribution Service toll-free at (800) 524-2612 (ask for PDS #85-100-08-003).

The first step to applying for need-based assistance is the Free Application for Student Aid through the U.S. Department of Education. Any grant, scholarship or loan program based on need will depend on information provided through the FAFSA.

Financial Aid and Taxes

FinAid is a good, general site about scholarships, grants and loans.

Sallie Mae
Sallie Mae is the nation’s leading provider of educational loans, managing student loans for more than seven million borrowers. The College Answer site offers pointers on the entire “going-to-college” process from preparation to getting loans. College Answer also has interactive tools that enable you to analyze the affordability of schools, compare financial aid award letters and search for scholarships.

Student Loan Calculator
How much will your loan cost after you graduate? Visit this simple and easy to use loan calculator.

Kentucky Higher Education Student Loan Corp. (KHESLC)
Have a loan with PC(USA)and you want to look up your account balance or change your mailing address?

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Searching for financial aid opportunities

College Board
Search will find potential opportunities from a database of more than 2,300 sources of college funding.

Search database of over 600,000 scholarship opportunities.

United Negro College Fund
Over the course of 60 years, the United Negro College Fund has made America stronger by helping to educate 300,000 students at more than 950 colleges, providing operational funding for 38 member schools and providing advanced training for faculty and administrators.

Hispanic Scholarship Fund
The Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF) is the nation’s leading organization supporting Hispanic higher education.

American Indian College Fund
This organization is giving hope to and creating better lives for generations of Native American students and their families and communities.

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Seminary/theological students

Omaha Presbyterian Seminary Foundation
For students who attend Presbyterian-related seminaries and who are seeking financial assistance with the first professional degree as well as pastors seeking assistance in continuing their education.

The Fund for Theological Education
For students seeking assistance with a wide variety of degrees. Serves undergraduate, graduate and post graduate students with a data base of potential aid resources.

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Tips on searching the web for financial aid

Before you complete a profile with a scholarship search database, create an email account that you can use exclusively for scholarship inquiries. Many of the scholarship database services are advertiser supported—which means that you don’t have to pay for them but your email address may be shared with advertisers if you don’t exercise the opt out.

Visit FinAid’s page on common scholarship scams just to get familiar with what you might run into.

How am I going to pay for college?

Through scholarships, grants and loans.

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What’s the difference between a scholarship, a grant, and a loan?

Scholarship and grants do not have to be repaid. Loans do.

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Do I need to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid in order to apply for PC(USA)scholarships/grants/loans?

Yes, all of our programs require that the applicant demonstrate financial need. This application is available at the Free Application for Federal Student Aid Web site.

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How do we renew my scholarship?

There is no separate renewal application. To apply for a renewal you can fill out the Presbyterian Scholarship for Undergraduates or the Presbyterian Study Grant applications.

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How do I contact my loan service provider?

Kentucky Higher Education Student Loan Corporation (KHESLC), (800) 693-8220

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Are international students eligible for undergraduate scholarships?

We have limited funding for new immigrants. Generally we do not believe that students in the United States on a student visa are de facto immigrants to the United States. Currently the only students on student visas that we fund are those who are the children of Religious Workers in the United States serving Presbyterian congregations and students who are under care of a PC(USA) presbytery in the process of becoming ordained.

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Will the scholarship award be mailed directly to me?

Funds are sent to your college/university/theological institution and applied to your account. The funds are designated for educational expenses.

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If I qualify to apply for more than one grant program, can I receive more than one grant?

Students are limited to one grant/scholarship and one loan per year, so generally speaking, no, you can’t qualify for more than one grant/scholarship from PC(USA). There is one program for seminary students with supplemental grants, but the rule of thumb for PC(USA) grant and scholarships is that if you have to complete more than one grant/scholarship application, you probably aren’t eligible for both awards.

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What does the deadline date really mean?

All of the deadline dates on the web site are ‘mail by’ dates—sort of like your incomes taxes. You need to have your application postmarked by the deadline date. We do not accept any application materials by fax or email attachment. If you fail to mail them in on time, the application will be received late. With limited scholarship and grants funds we are unable to consider late applications for funding.

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Need based? What does that mean?

The need rationale that we use in the Office of Financial Aid for Studies is cost of attendance minus the expected family contribution, free forms of aid and the maximum subsidized Stafford whether the student accepts the loan or not. It is unfortunate, but our financial aid decisions are predicated on the notion that all students will absorb some educational debt. Our priority is to assist students whose need exceeds what is generally available from the subsidized Stafford program.

Most of our scholarship and grant programs have a need based requirement. Loans are not need based, however the loan must fit inside the cost of attendance. To determine loan eligibility we subtract free forms of aid and the subsidized Stafford from the cost of attendance.

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What is the expected family contribution (EFC)?

The expected family contribution or EFC is a figure that is a product of the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA). It represents the family’s contribution to a student’s education for calculating financial aid, most typically where free forms of aid such as grants and scholarships are concerned.

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What is ‘financial reliability’ for a student or parent loan?

The Office of Financial Aid for Studies considers information from the application and the credit report to determine financial reliability. Borrowers are presumed to be reliable unless:

  • They are in default or past due on a significant element of debt such as an educational loan, auto loan, mortgage or revolving credit account.
  • The credit report for borrower or co-signer has unpaid collections, public records, delinquent accounts or write-offs to bad debt.
  • There is a pattern of late payments over one or more accounts in the previous twelve months.
  • The borrower or cosigner has been late in making payments on PC(USA) student loans they are a party to, or a member of the borrower or cosigner’s immediate family has a history of late payments.
  • The borrower has excessive educational debt, as defined by PC(USA).

Excessive Educational Debt. Amended in September 2010 by action of the General Assembly Council, the financial reliability standard for Education Loans will now distinguishes between undergraduate and graduate students:

  • Undergraduate total educational debt must be below $25,000
  • Graduate student educational debt must be below $50,000
  • Theological Student Loan (Forgiveness) educational debt must be below $75,000

Reported by one or more of the following sources: the student, credit bureau, or the student’s college/university/seminary as a portion of the student’s award for the academic year.

Note: Excessive Educational Debt was amended, September 2010 by action of the General Assembly Mission Council and was formerly capped at $38,000 of educational debt for students. Parent borrower’s educational debt is not considered under the debt cap, but may be considered as a part of the borrower’s payment history.

The financial aid programs of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) are to help make undergraduate and graduate studies possible for students who have inadequate financial resources. All of our programs are funded by endowments to the church by members who have designated a specific scholarship. All programs offered by the Office of Financial Aid for Studies are based upon need except the Samuel Robinson Award. A student may apply for one scholarship/grant and the loan program annually. Funding will be awarded to students attending institutions accredited by the regional, national, professional and specialized agencies recognized as accrediting bodies by the U.S. Secretary of Education. Ordinarily, assistance is not given to students for overseas study.

Scholarship award amounts may vary and are based on the number of applicants and available funds.

To help you find what you need, we’ve provided an index of all of our programs, scholarships, applications and grants by name. You can also find them by group.


Undergraduate scholarships and programs

Graduate/seminary scholarships and programs

Institutional programs and grants

Loan forgiveness programs

Loans (note: Financial Aid no longer offer loans, but we continue to service the loans that we have previously handled)

Programs by name (alphabetical order)

Agnes and Dorothy M. Marschner grant for medical doctors in mission service

John C. Martin Award, which supports teaching the Bible at Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) schools equipping communities of color. This is a part of the Teaching the Bible Grant.

Mariners grant for family-oriented programs at institutions

National Presbyterian College Scholarship, for students attending Presbyterian-related colleges and universities, Now: Presbyterian Scholarship for Undergraduates

Native American Education Grant for full-time undergraduate students who are Native American, Now: Presbyterian Scholarship for Undergraduates

Presbyterian Scholarship for Undergraduates, for church members attending college or university in the United States, seeking a first bachelors degree

Presbyterian Study Grant for seminary students planning to serve congregations as pastors or Christian educators

Samuel Robinson Grant, for undergraduate students; knowledge of the Westminster Catechism is required.

Student Opportunity Scholarships, providing need-based aid to undergraduate college students, Now: Presbyterian Scholarship for Undergraduates

Teaching the Bible Grant Application, providing support for Presbyterian educational institutions in teaching the Bible


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