Students
Ranging in age from 22 to 70 and representing over 40 faith traditions, our student body is the most diverse and inclusive anywhere. Religiously curious and passionately compassionate, our students create a provocative yet nurturing community here in the heart of Chicago.
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Costs and Financial Aid

Due to the generosity of donors who support the seminary, CTS is delighted to provide financial support to many qualified students. A variety of scholarships, fellowships, grants are available and as well as federal student loans. To be considered for financial aid, students should complete the CTS Application for Financial Aid and submit this along with your completed application materials no later than the priority deadline for the relevant funding program as listed below. U.S. citizens and permanent residents are also asked to file the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) by March 1. The CTS school code for the FAFSA submittal is G01661.

Questions about Scholarships and Financial Aid? Please contact Mr. Howard Nelson, Financial Aid Officer at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ; 773.896.2412

Merit Scholarships

Each year, a number of competitive scholarships are awarded to entering students with outstanding educational preparation as well as promise for transformative leadership. In order to be eligible for a Merit Scholarship, an applicant must complete the admissions application process by the priority deadline (February 15). Applicants for admission to the Spring semester or those missing the priority application deadline for Fall admission may be considered for a merit award in their second year of seminary upon proper application to the Financial Aid Office. Merit Awards typically range from 50% to 80% of the cost of tuition and extend through the completion of the degree program. Merit Award recipients must remain in good academic standing by maintaining a cumulative G.P.A. of at least 3.5 in order to renew the award from year to year.

Named Scholarships & Awards

CTS donors fund a number of scholarships and awards providing substantial  financial support to select students. Details on criteria for each of these awards will be available here shortly. Scholarships and Awards include the following:

Jeremiah A. Wright Scholarship, Gilberto Castaneda Scholar, The Kenilworth-Union Urban Ministry Scholarship, and the G. Campbell Morgan Preaching Award

Akaka Scholarship

The Rev. AkakaIn August 1990, describing why he set up the Rev. Akaka Ministries Foundation, Kahu Akaka wrote, "The call of God to me and my life commitment is to glorify God by filling needs and uplifting individuals by encouraging and supporting churches and temples, schools and universities, hospitals and people-helping institutions and to build a world of peace."

Kahu Akaka was born February 21, 1917, and earned his education in Hawaii public schools, at the University of Hawaii, and at Illinois Wesleyan University where he received a double major in Sociology and Music. After witnessing the war of Hitler in The Netherlands in 1939 at a Christian Endeavor conference, Kahu entered Chicago Theological Seminary with the help of the Atherton Family. He served on Kauai 1943-145; Maui 1945-1954; Hawaii 1954-1957; and Honolulu 1957-1984.

He led the Hawaii community through statehood to seek God in all arenas whether it was economic, social, educational, or political. He delivered the sermon, "The meaning of Aloha" which served as a basis for the Hawaii Legislature to name Hawaii, "The Aloha State."

The Foundation continues through Kahu's children and his grandchildren. It provides kokua to individuals in need, widows, those who are sick and sorrowing, students who seek to make a difference in the world, and to groups who serve the needy. The Foundation helps Hawaiian churches and provides scholarships to students seeking graduate-level education at Chicago Theological Seminary. In October 11, 2011, a classroom at the seminary's Chicago campus was named "The Rev. Akaka Aloha Room". The Foundation continue in His ways to bring the Good News to all people.

The hope of both the Foundation and CTS is that the Scholarship provide tuition assistance to a Hawaiian student, a student from Hawaii, or a student from Asia. Over the years, master's and doctoral level students preparing for pastoral ministry or academic teaching have received assistance.


Need-Based Grants

Available to students in Masters programs as well as all as all international students, these awards are made on a yearly basis and apply to the cost of tuition only. Students may re-apply for a need-based grant each year. The amount of the award is based upon each student’s financial need, as assessed by the F.A.F.S.A. and the CTS Application for Financial Aid.

STM Tuition Fellowships

As a means to encourage academic development beyond the master’s level and to offset the cost of preparation for Ph.D. level study, students accepted into the one-year, advanced master’s degree, Master of Sacred Theology Program, automatically receive a 50% tuition discount.

PhD Tuition Fellowships

CTS awards a number of tuition fellowships to support outstanding PhD students. In order to be considered for an award, applicants must complete the admissions application by the priority deadline (February 15).

United Church of Christ Awards

After completing a year of study within a degree program, students who are "members in discernment" (in-care) with their particular Association of the United Church of Christ, may become eligible for a select number of UCC sponsored awards. These awards are typically granted in the second and third year of master's level programs. For some awards a student must be nominated by the CTS faculty and for others the student applies directly to a particular body of the UCC. Recipients need to maintain a strong academic record, and reveal gifts and graces for leadership in the church and academy. More information can be found on the UCC website. Click on the link to "Scholarships for Theological Education".

Federal Direct Loan Program for Student Loans

CTS participates in the Federal Direct Loan Program. These low interest student loans from the US Department of Education are available to eligible US residents who are enrolled at least half time in a degree program. For more information about student loans consult the Student Direct Loan Fact sheet link below or contact the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid.

Financial Aid Forms & Links

AmeriCorps, City Year, Peace Corps & VISTA Application Fee Waiver

Persons serving as volunteers, team members, corp members, staff and alums of the AmeriCorps, City Year, Peace Corps, and VISTA service organizations are eligible for an application fee waiver when applying to CTS degree programs. Applicants must provide proof of affiliation in order to utilize the fee waiver option. Such proof of affiliation should be submitted at the time of application. Proof of affiliation may be accomplished by selecting a supervisor from the organization to serve as a reference, or providing official documentation from the organization affirming one’s relationship/service.