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Financial aid and scholarships

ESR provides both merit-based and need-based financial aid to assist students in meeting their education expenses, and to encourage full-time participation. Financial aid is available to degree-seeking and certificate students.

Types of aid available to ESR students include scholarships, discounts, loans and need-based aid, as well as non-ESR aid. We also provide some additional financial resources for current students.


ESR students have access to a number of scholarships. These merit-based opportunities vary in amount from $2,500 to full tuition.


Need-based aid is available to all degree-seeking students taking a minimum of six credits per session (3 credits for certificate students) who have not been awarded any other full-tuition scholarship. Need is calculated from information provided by the student on their FAFSA.

Except in cases of exceptional need, need-based aid covers up to 50% of tuition for degree-seeking students.


ESR offers discounts for students who are just beginning seminary studies and for those who prepay their programs of study.

  • Introductory course discount: Students receive an automatic 50 percent discount on tuition for the first course taken at ESR as either a degree-seeker, Certificate, or an Occasional student.
  • Certificate program discount: A student admitted to an ESR Certificate Program receives a 25% discount, based on the tuition rate for each year (rate may change by July 1 of each year). 


Through Earlham College, ESR participates in the Federal Direct (Stafford) Loan Program. The Federal Budget Control Act of 2011 limits graduate students to Direct Unsubsidized and GradPLUS loans. FSA loans are used by students to cover Cost of Attendance expenses, such as Tuition and Fees, rent, food, insurance, and certain other personal expenses as defined by the Department of Education.

Before applying for FSA loans, ESR counsels students to carefully consider their ability to repay loans, based on expected future income and other factors. The Business Manager can assist you in this determination. Students who request FSA loans must complete the Federal on-line Entrance Counseling process, and ESR’s “A Guide to Thoughtful Student Debt Planning” video series, both of which provide detailed information on receiving and repaying FSA loans. The student must also electronically sign a Master Promissory Note and participate in the Developing Financial Acumen Workshops.

A student’s Cost of Attendance and total credit hours covers any or all parts-of-term in which the student takes classes, including 2-week and weekend Intensives, full-semester and full-year classes and summer CPE courses. All FSA loans are disbursed in two payments. If the loan covers the full academic year, those two disbursements come at the beginning of each semester. If the loan is for one session only, the first disbursement is at the beginning of the semester, and the second at the half-way point of the semester, mid-October, or mid-March.

If the student has requested loans in an amount that exceeds tuition and fees, that amount will be refunded to the student to use for those living expenses detailed on their Financial Aid Application Budget Worksheet. Refund checks are issued within 14 days of the loan disbursement. If a student requires a small advance for books and supplies, they should see the Business Manager.

Loan amount: Using Department of Education guidelines, the Business Manager determines the amount for which a student is eligible. Calculations are based on information received on the student’s ESR Financial Aid application and FAFSA. The student may request all or part of the eligible amount, which is disbursed to the student’s account in equal payments at the beginning of each Session. The Unsubsidized Loan maximum per year is $20,500; GradPLUS loan amounts vary according to a student’s financial need.

Eligibility: FSA loans are available to all degree-seeking students enrolled in at least 6 credits per session. FSA Loans can be used for living expenses after tuition and fees have been deducted.


ESR encourages students to utilize all other resources of financial aid. The Business Office will cooperate with outside agencies to coordinate aid. For confidentiality reasons, a written request from the student is required before ESR will release a student’s aid application, or information contained therein, to an outside agency. Some sources students should explore are denominational support, family support, and non-ESR scholarships.

List of non-ESR aid and scholarships


Beyond financial aid for tuition and fees, ESR students also have access to the following financial resources during their time as students.

In support of student self-care, ESR offers up to $25 per session for three sessions of spiritual direction annually. A list of available spiritual directors may be found here. Reimbursement processes may be found here.

A $500 matching investment grant is available to degree-seeking students who complete the Financial Acumen Workshops, made possible through a Lilly Endowment grant. Funds must be used for retirement purposes. A form to request these funds may be found here.


Questions about the types of aid available to you? Contact our Business Manager to discuss your options.

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