Academic Policies

Contents

 


Admissions

 

New York Theological Seminary (NYTS) is a professional graduate school whose primary mission is to prepare men and women for ministries in Christian churches and other religious institutions.  Students are admitted without discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, or orientation, and represent a broad range of denominations, theological views, faith commitments, and cultural traditions.  All candidates for degrees or certificates are expected

  • to be able to articulate an understanding of their own particular call to ministry, recognizing that this is interpreted differently across the range of traditions represented within the Seminary
  • to belong to a particular community of faith which has in some manner recognized or affirmed that calling.

Further requirements for each degree and certificate are listed elsewhere in this catalogue in the relevant program description sections.

The Seminary has a rolling admissions policy for all master’s degree programs:  the Master of Arts in Pastoral Care and Counseling (MAPCC), Master of Arts in Religious Education (MARE), and Master of Divinity (MDiv).  Applications are reviewed and interviews with prospective students are scheduled on a regular basis throughout the year.  Once admitted, a student may register and begin attending classes in the next available semester.  Interested candidates should know that the required courses in biblical studies and foundations of ministry are offered sequentially in fall and spring semesters, and are thus encouraged to complete their applications in time to begin the fall semester.  Financial aid is awarded during the spring of each year in order to assist students with their financial planning for the year.  Applications are available from the Director of Financial Aid and online at the Seminary’s web page (www.nyts.edu).

Admission into the Master of Professional Studies (MPS) program is limited to candidates who are currently incarcerated within the New York State Department of Corrections system, and who meet additional eligibility requirements set by the Department of Corrections.  For more information on admissions to the MPS, contact the Director of the MPS program at NYTS.

 

Admission to the Doctor of Ministry (DMin) program is generally in the fall, but may take place prior to the beginning of any particular track.  For more information on deadlines for application to the DMin, contact the Director of the Doctor of Ministry Program.

Admission to the Certificate Program (CP) is generally during the week prior to the beginning of the fall or spring semester, as posted in the academic calendar available on the NYTS web site or from the Registrar.  Special registration periods are held at various sites throughout the New York metropolitan region and online for the CP.  Candidates may apply and register for the CP at the same time, provided they complete all necessary application information.

An application for admission must be completed in its entirely in order for a student to be fully admitted into one of the Seminary’s degree programs.  All information contained in a Seminary application is considered confidential and will be kept on file in the Office of the Registrar.  Further information regarding the Seminary’s compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) can be found below.

Students who have been admitted to one of the master’s degree programs who wish to transfer to another program may do so only with the permission of the Academic Dean.  Students seeking to so transfer are not required to complete a new application, but will be asked to complete a supplemental statement indicating the reason for the transfer in programs.  Students who have completed one master’s degree at NYTS and wish to enroll in one of the other master’s degree programs will be required to complete a new application.

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Academic Calendar

 

NYTS offers courses on an academic calendar that begins July 1 and ends June 30 of each year.  The Seminary’s master’s degree programs operate on a two-semester (fall and spring) basis with each semester being fifteen weeks in duration.  The fall semester starts the week following Labor Day in September, while the spring semester starts the last week of January or the first week of February.  Courses at the master’s level are also offered in month-long intensive formats in January (called “the winterim” period); as well as in June, July and August (“the summer” period).  The DMin program is offered on a year-long basis only, with course work offered either in a semester-based format (fall and spring semesters) or in week-long intensive formats (actual times vary with programs).  CP courses are generally offered in the fall and spring on a twelve-week semester basis, but additional CP courses may be offered in the summer months as well.

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Registration

 

Registration for master’s level programs takes place several times a year before the beginning of each semester, as posted in the annual Seminary calendar that is available on the NYTS web page or from the Registrar.  Students can expect in general to register the last week of August and the first week of September for the fall semester and winterim courses; the fist week in December for winterim only; the second week of January for the spring semester; and the second week of May for summer courses.   New students are encouraged to register early in any registration period.

There are regularly scheduled add/drop days and students may change their registration at such time.  As a matter of normal policy refunds are given for tuition only, according to the schedule published both here in the Catalogue and in the Student Handbook.  Late fees are assessed after the close of the announced registration period for each semester or intensive period (winterim or summer months) in any academic program.  It is possible to make arrangements to register early for any program if circumstances warrant. All new and continuously enrolled students can expect to receive further information posted on Moodle, the Seminary’s online learning system, and sent through the student’s Seminary email from the Registrar prior to each registration period.

Registration for the DMin program for all years takes place during the second and third weeks of September each year.  Thereafter registration is by appointment only with the office of the Registrar and with the approval of the Director.  Registration for the DMin can be completed either in person at the Seminary or online.  Details for completing the registration process are included in the package sent to candidates informing them of their acceptance into the program.

The registration procedure for all degree programs includes: a) approval by the appropriate faculty advisor; and b) payment or arrangements made with the Student Accounts Office for a payment plan.

Students in all degree programs who enroll in the Seminary’s payment plan are expected to pay 30% of the total cost of tuition and fees that are due at the time of registration.  Payment may be made by check, cash, Visa, or MasterCard.  Financial aid is available from the Seminary.  A separate application for financial aid is required.  See the section below on Financial Aid for more details.

No student will be permitted to register for a new semester with an outstanding balance due.

All auditing and unclassified students must pay in full at time of registration.  Deferred payment plans are available only to students enrolled in an academic program for a degree.

Registration for the CP varies from site to site and is held prior to the beginning of the fall and spring semesters.  Payment for CP students is expected at time of registration

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Student classification

 

A matriculated student is one who is admitted to a designated degree program.  Matriculated students at the Seminary are expected to register continuously from semester to semester in all master’s degree programs; and from year to year in the DMin.

An unclassified student is one who is admitted to study for credit without having been admitted to a specific degree.  In some cases a student who has not completed the application for a degree program will be admitted as an unclassified student and allowed to complete the application during the first semester of coursework.  Unclassified students also include those enrolled in a degree program in another school that does not belong to the New York Theological Consortium (see below), and who wish to take courses from NYTS in order to transfer these to their other institution.  An unclassified student may become a matriculated student by completing the application process and being admitted into a program.

An auditor is a maticulated student who is taking a class in a degree program without seeking to earn credit.  An auditor pays a reduced fee for the course and is expected to participate in the class.  A professor may limit the number of auditors in a class.

Continuing education students and members of Partner Churches are persons who are not pursuing a theological degree but are interested in pursuing learning opportunities at the Seminary.  Such opportunities are usually conferences, public lectures, and other events that the Seminary sponsors, but they may also entail attending a class that is part of a degree program.  Continuing education students may be graduates of the Seminary or of another institution who are seeking to enhance their professional skills and development.  The Seminary extends the opportunity to any member of a Partner Church (see the section elsewhere in this Catalogue that describes a Partner Church) to sit in on classes from time to time as well.  Continuing education and Partner Church members must register for any course they seek to attend, subject to restrictions that may be imposed by the Academic Dean or the Registrar, and subject to the permission of the professor.  Such persons pay a reduced fee and are invited to attend classes but are not expected to participate in class discussions and will not be asked to complete written assignments for a grade.  Upon completion of the course these individuals will be given a certificate indicating their successful attendance.

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Time Frame for Completion of Degrees

 

NYTS recognizes that the majority of its students are completing degrees while engaged in professional ministry, secular vocations, or in many cases both.  Students are encouraged to consider carefully their academic work load each year in light of their responsibilities and commitments beyond the Seminary.

The minimum and maximum time in which a student can expect to complete his or her degree program is as follows:

Program Minimum and maximum time for completion
MPS 1 year
MA 2 to 5 years
MDiv 3 to 7 years
DMin 3 to 6 years

Students who go beyond the maximum time frame for completion of their degree must request from the Academic Dean in writing formal permission to continue.  Approval for continuation beyond the maximum time for completion must be granted each successive year by the Academic Dean until the degree is completed.

Students in the DMin program are not eligible for financial aid or loans beyond the third year in the program (formally known as continuation years).

 

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Interrupting continuous registration

 

Matriculated students in all degree programs are expected to register continuously until such time as they complete their degree and graduate.  Students in a master’s degree program are expected to continue to register each semester (fall and spring).  Registration for the winterim session (January) or for one of the summer sessions (June, July and August) will be considered to apply toward continuous registration; failure to register for a winterim or a summer course, however, does not interrupt continuous registration.  Matriculated students in the DMin must register each year.  Students in the MPS register for the entire year in the month of August.  Students in the CP are expected to register on a semester-to-semester basis until the complete their course of study and earn their Certificate, but they are not required to register continuously.

The following policies apply to students who do not register continuously within degree programs:

 

Stop-Out

A matriculated student in a master’s degree program (other than the MPS) who is unable to enroll in a particular semester due to extenuating circumstances may Stop-Out for one semester without losing her or his matriculation status.  Such a student should inform the Registrar in writing prior to the published registration period for that particular semester, and will be asked to complete a Stop-Out form.  A student who fails to inform the Registrar that he or she is Stopping-Out for one semester will be contacted by the Academic Dean and asked to complete the necessary form in order to remain in good standing.  Failure to complete such a form in a timely fashion will endanger the student’s matriculation status.  A Stop-Out semester counts toward the total time allowed for completing a degree.  No Stop-Out is permitted for the MPS or DMin degrees.

 

Leave of Absence

A matriculated student in a program who does not intend to register for two successive semesters (fall and spring) must apply for a Leave of Absence from the Academic Dean in order to maintain her or his matriculation status.  A student in the DMin program who does not intend to register for a consecutive year must apply for a Leave of Absence from the Director of the Doctor of Ministry in order to maintain his or her matriculation status.  Any student who fails to register for a third consecutive session in a master’s degree program, or for a consecutive year in the DMin program will be contacted by the Seminary and asked to formally apply for a Leave of Absence.  No Leave of Absence is permitted for the MPS program.

Any student requesting a Leave of Absence will be asked to provide a reason, and the time at which he or she expects to return to the degree program.  Should a student need further time, a subsequent Leave of Absence may be granted by the Dean or Director.

Any student who does not register for two consecutive semesters (fall and spring) in a master’s degree program or for a consecutive year in the DMin, and who does not submit a Leave of Absence request or is not granted a Leave of Absence will lose her or his matriculation status.  Any student who passes the identified time granted for her or his Leave of Absence without being granted a subsequent Leave will also lose his or her matriculation status.  Such a student must apply for readmission to the degree program in order to continue.

A student cannot apply for a Leave of Absence in a master’s degree program for a semester in which she or he is currently registered; or in the DMin for a year in which he or she is currently registered.  A Leave of Absence can only be approved for a semester or year that has not yet begun.  A Leave of Absence will not count toward the maximum time allowed for completing a degree (see below).

 

Withdrawal

Any student in a master’s degree program who begins a semester and then seeks to withdraw from one or more courses must apply to the Registrar for a formal Withdrawal in order to be eligible to receive any refund in tuition that is due (see schedule for refund below).  Students who withdraw from a course within the designated Add/Drop period will not have that course appear on a transcript.  Students who withdraw following the Add/Drop period will receive a W on their transcript and will be required to pay for the course in full to register for it again in the future.

Any student who fails to notify the Registrar in writing of their intention to withdraw from one or more courses within the allocated time frame will be held responsible for all tuition that is due for the course or courses.  Students who stop attending classes or otherwise participating in a course and who fail to inform the Registrar that they seek to withdraw from the course will be considered as being enrolled and will be issued a grade at the end of the course.  Notification of a professor does not qualify as formal notification of Withdrawal.  For a Withdrawal to be in granted, notification must be given to the Registrar in writing (in person, by email, or by regular post).  Any refunds for tuition will be calculated on the basis of the date that the Registrar was initially notified in writing of the student’s intention to withdraw.  For purposes of determining continuing status, any student who withdraws from all courses in a master’s degree in any given semester will be considered to have registered for that semester.

As registration for the DMin is for the entire year only and with a set curriculum, Withdrawals from individual seminars is not permitted.  Students in the DMin who find that they must interrupt their course of study for a compelling reason but who wish to be able to return to complete that particular year at a future date may make special arrangements with the Director for Withdrawal with permission to return.  Such permission to return is granted strictly at the discretion of the Director and must be put in writing.  It will then allow the student to resume the Doctor of Ministry program at a future time, picking up approximately where the student’s studies were interrupted.  The student will be responsible for all tuition for that particular year that was due at the time that the Withdrawal was first requested (see the schedule for refunds below).  At such time as the student may return, the student will be responsible for completing payment of tuition at the rate that is in effect in the year that the student returns.

For purposes of determining continuing status, any student who withdraws from the DMin will be considered to have registered for that year, and thus will be required to repeat the year at full payment.

 

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Incompletes

 

Individual professors at their discretion may grant a student an extension for any course for up to 90 days following the last session of that course.  The exact amount of time allowed for the extension is to be set at the time when it is granted.  The student is expected to complete all outstanding work for the course within this period.  A student seeking an extension must fill out entirely the appropriate Extension Form found in the Office of the Registrar or online in Moodle, and must have it signed and dated by the course professor prior to the end of the semester.  Any student who has been granted an extension receives an “Incomplete” on his or her transcript until such time as the work is completed and the faculty member turns in the regular grade.  Extensions are granted strictly at the discretion of the professor and are not to be considered automatic by students.

At the conclusion of the extension period that is identified on the completed Extension Form, all outstanding work is to be submitted and a grade turned in by the appropriate professor to the Office of the Registrar.  Extensions beyond 90 days can only be granted on the basis of extenuating circumstances.  A new Extension Form must be completed with an identified expected date of completion.  If no grade is turned in either at the end of the 90-day period or at the end of the additional Extension (when granted), the professor for the course must turn in a new grade to replace the “Incomplete” on the student’s transcript.  If sufficient work has not been completed for a passing grade, the student will receive No Credit for the course.  If the course is required in the curriculum, the student must repeat it.  A grade of No Credit will not be removed from a transcript at a later date, even if the course is repeated and a passing grade for the repeated course is earned.

 

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Retreats

 

NYTS is a non-residential school, which means times for community life are limited.  In order to facilitate community life and its accompanying spiritual formation, the Certificate and master’s degree programs include regular opportunities for program-wide retreats during the course of the academic year.  Students in each program are required to attend each of the scheduled retreats for their program, as published in the Academic Calendar.

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Transfer of credits

 

NYTS will transfer credits toward an MA or MDiv degrees from another graduate school of theological education that is accredited by the Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Education in the United States and Canada (ATS).  Courses from non-ATS accredited theological schools within the United States and Canada are accepted for transfer on either the basis of an existing prior agreement between NYTS and the designated institution (normally memorialized through a formal Memorandum of Understanding), or a case-by-case basis determined by the Academic Dean.  Transfer of credits from graduate programs in theological education from outside the United States and Canada are also considered on a case-by-case basis by the Academic Dean, unless a prior agreement with an institution is in place.

Requests for transfer must be made in writing to the Academic Dean, and will be administered only after a student has completed one full semester at NYTS.  Only graduate-level courses that have received a letter grade of B or above may be transferred.

Required courses for the NYTS degree may be met through transfer of work completed at another school of theological education, but in no case shall any required courses be omitted, even if that should eventuate in a total of more than 90 final credits including the transfers.  The decision as to whether a transferred course meets an NYTS requirement is made by the Academic Dean.  Any student graduating with an NYTS degree must normally complete at least half the credits in an NYTS program, even if that eventuates in more credits being earned than required for the particular degree.  Students may transfer up to one-half the credits that are already applied toward an earned degree toward a degree at NYTS.

NYTS will transfer up to 12 credits toward the MDiv degree and up to 24 credits toward one of the MA degrees in specialized ministry from an accredited graduate-level non-theological degree program, including courses in religious studies offered in a non-ATS accredited graduate school, provided that the course is comparable to an elective that is offered within the NYTS program or fits the particular area of ministry in which the MA degree is offered.

All decisions regarding transfer of credits from another institution to NYTS are made by the Academic Dean, whose judgment is final.

Matriculated students at NYTS may take courses at other ATS-accredited theological schools that are not part of the New York Theological Consortium (see below) and transfer the earned credits toward one of the MA or the MDiv degree at NYTS only with the written permission of the NYTS Academic Dean.  Courses taken at another institution are transferred to NYTS as electives.  It is the responsibility of any student taking a course at another institution to have the grade or evaluation sent to the NYTS Registrar at the end of the course.  In all cases the judgment of the NYTS Academic Dean is final.

Students seeking to complete both the MDiv and an MA degree at NYTS may apply up to 24 credits from the MA to the MDiv, and up to 24 credits from the MDiv to the MA.  Students holding an MPS from the Sing Sing program may apply 18 credits of the MPS toward an MA and all 36 toward the MDiv degree.  In the latter case, however, students are required to relinquish their MPS diploma.  Credits being transferred from one NYTS degree to another may be applied to meet the required courses of the additional degree.

Generally no courses are normally accepted for transfer into either the CP, MPS, or DMin at NYTS.  Exceptions are made only by the Director of those programs.  In the case of the DMin, advanced standing is granted for those students who have completed work at an institution with which the Seminary has an explicit published agreement, such as the Blanton-Peale Institute.  See the program description for the DMin elsewhere in this publication for more information.

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Advanced standing for the NYTS Certificate Program in Christian Ministry

 

Students who have completed the NYTS Certificate in Ministry may receive Advanced Standing with credit toward the NYTS MDiv degree if admitted and enrolled in the graduate program.  Students must request Advanced Standing through the Academic Dean.  Advance Standing from the CP can only be applied to the MDiv degree.

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New York Theological Consortium Cross-Registration

 

NYTS belongs to the New York Theological Consortium (NYTC), which also includes the Theology Department of Fordham University, Union Theological Seminary in New York, General Theological Seminary, St. Vladimir’s Seminary, Jewish Theological Seminary, and Hebrew Union College.  NYTS students in the MDiv or one of the MA programs who have at least a 3.5 GPA are permitted to cross-register for up to six credits of course work in any of these other schools.  Students may not normally use cross-registration to fulfill a requirement in their NYTS degree program, must meet any additional prerequisites for the course or courses in which they seek to enroll, must have the approval of their NYTS academic advisor, and must comply with the enrollment procedures required by both NYTS and the other consortium school or schools.  Students register for a course in one of these others schools as part of their regular registration at NYTS, paying tuition to NYTS but attending the class at the other institution.  It should be noted that semester dates differ among these schools, so any student seeking to cross-register should be sure to check the starting date and register at NYTS appropriately.  Additional information is available from faculty advisors or the NYTS Registrar.

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Assessment, Academic Performance, and Professional Development

 

Assessment is integral to all aspects of learning at NYTS.  The Seminary employs “outcomes-based” learning methods throughout its various degree programs.  In addition, formal assessments are conducted several times a year and include academic performance as well as professional development.  An adverse evaluation of a student in either of these areas may lead to dismissal from an academic program of the Seminary after due process, as described below.

Graduates of NYTS from all programs will be able to demonstrate

  • competence in biblical and theological reflection that is faithful to one’s own tradition, dynamic in its articulation, and relevant to contemporary intercultural and multifaith contexts
  • the ability to identify, design, and put into practice diverse and inclusive models of ministry to achieve personal, ecclesial and social transformation and reconciliation
  • the ability to engage in critical reflection that fosters spiritual formation and renewal of individuals, faith-based communities, cities and the world.

Additional learning outcomes appropriate to the various academic disciplines and specialized degree programs of the Seminary, as well as for each individual class, may apply.  Regular opportunities for self-assessment and assessment by the faculty throughout the course of each degree program are an integral part of the overall learning experience at the Seminary as well.

As part of the overall process, the faculty reviews the academic performance of all students in degree programs at the conclusion of each semester.  This review is based in part upon the grades received by the students, measured by the student’s cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA).

  • Students in the MPS program whose GPA falls below 2.0 are placed on probation.
  • Students in the MA and MDiv program whose GPA falls below 2.5 are placed on probation.

Notification of probation shall be given by the Academic Dean by regular mail to each student placed on probation within two weeks of the assessment review.  Remaining on probation for at least two consecutive semesters without indication of academic improvement will be considered grounds for dismissal by the Faculty.

The Seminary is permitted to admit into the various master’s degree programs a limited number of students who do not possess an earned bachelor’s degree.  Such students must complete the regular application process and undergo an interview with the Academic Dean to determine their readiness to undertake graduate studies.  In addition, such students will be automatically placed on academic probation during their first year of studies, and will be expected to maintain a 3.0 GPA to remain in good standing.

NYTS is a professional graduate school whose primary mission is the preparation of men and women for ministries in Christian churches and in other religious communities. Candidates for its certificates and degrees are expected not only to maintain good academic standing as defined in this Catalogue and in the Student Handbook published annually for each program, but to demonstrate professional readiness for ministry as well.  Professional readiness for ministry includes emotional, psychological, and spiritual dimensions of a student’s preparation.  Students are assessed regularly by the faculty of the Seminary in a variety of ways, including in confidential sessions that touch on these latter topics.

The faculty normally reviews the professional development of each student twice yearly in the student review process.  However, a faculty member may request, at any time, an evaluation of a student’s professional functioning if there are indications for concern.  During these confidential assessment sessions faculty members may discuss issues of professional development of any candidate for a certificate or degree.  Matters to be considered may include, among other things, psychological readiness for ministry, professional presentation, and personal conduct.  Individual students may be requested by the faculty to undertake an outside evaluation regarding the individual’s readiness for ministry.  Failure to undertake such an assessment or evaluation may constitute grounds for dismissal by vote of the full faculty.  Formal notification of dismissal for either academic performance or professional development shall be given by the Academic Dean by regular mail to the student within two weeks of the date that the action is taken by the Faculty.

 

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Academic Credit Hours

 

A “credit hour” is the unit by which an institution measures its course work. The number of credit hours for which a course is listed is defined by a combination of the number of hours per week spent in class, and the number of hours spent in “out of class” supplementary work (such as completing reading assignments, conducting library research, engaging in field interviews, or writing papers).

A credit at NYTS typically represents fifteen hours (each hour entailing 50 minutes of instruction time) of class.  For each credit hour, students should expect to spend an additional thirty hours of supplementary assignments.  While the amount and difficulty of readings will vary from course to course, students should generally expect to be assigned up to 500 pages of reading per credit.  Independent studies are expected to follow these guidelines when computing the number of credits to be awarded for work.

 

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Definition of a Grade

 

NYTS awards letter grades for all course work completed for credit toward a degree.  The Core Faculty has adopted the following guidelines defining grades:

A:        Conspicuous excellence, showing a mastery of the material, critical use of sources, exceptional creativity, constructive imagination, outstanding oral and written expression and organization

A-:       Exceptional graduate-level attainment, with conspicuous excellence in most respects, but not uniformly so

B+:      Superior level of attainment, marked by consistently good work, advanced understanding of the material, clear logic, circumspect judgment, originality and clear communication

B:        Good work, with general indication of constructive ability in application

B-:       Satisfactory achievement, with assignments completed accurately and on time, but without significant evidence of excellence or distinction

C+:      Satisfactory understanding of course contents, with significant limitations in analysis, communication, integration, or class participation

C:        Minimal understanding of course content, with significant limitations in several of the following: analysis, communication, integration, and class participation

C-:       Minimum understanding of course content, with significant limitations in all of the following: analysis, communications, integration, and class participation

D:        Faithful participation and effort, but inability to grasp the most important essentials of the course (NOTE: A grade of D or higher must be received in order for a required course to be considered successfully completed)

F:         Work is unacceptable and fails to meet requirements for a passing grade.

NC      Sufficient work to assign a grade was not completed and student failed to properly withdraw from class, student did not apply for or receive an extension, or an extension was granted but student failed to complete work within the agreed upon time for the extension.

Any student who receives an F or NC for a required course in the curriculum will be required to repeat the course in order to graduate.  When a student has repeated such a course, both the original grade of F or NC and the subsequent grade will be recorded on the transcript and will be factored into the overall student GPA.  Students repeating a course must pay full tuition.  Financial aid either in the form of scholarship or federal loan may not be used to pay the tuition of a course being repeated.

I:          An “Incomplete” may be given when a student is unable to complete all assigned work within the particular semester.  Students must apply for an Incomplete by filling out an extension form that is then filed with the Registrar.  Incompletes are only granted at the discretion of the Professor, for any period of time up to 90 days, and must be reported on the appropriate form that is available from the Registrar’s office.  After 90 days without further action, an Incomplete will automatically be converted to an NC

X:        Final materials presented to the Professor; but final grade not yet submitted

P:         Students may register for a limited number of elective credits on a “Pass/Fail” basis.  Permission but be granted by the Professor, and students are limited to 8 credits of course work being taken on a P/F basis.  A grade of “P” has no effect on a student’s GPA, while an “F” does.

 

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Competency in English composition

 

All students in the master’s degree programs are expected to be proficient in speaking and writing in English.  An English language assessment test may be administered to those whose first language is not English in order to determine the need for possible further work in this area. An English language writing test is administered to all entering a master’s degree program students during the orientation session in the fall semester of each year.  Students who are determined to need further work in English composition will be notified and required to comply.  Continuation in the academic program will depend upon meeting this requirement.

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Plagiarism

 

One of the primary learning objectives of the Seminary is to help students acquire the gift of discernment in the form of the ability to think critically. Essential to this task is the requirement that students learn how to investigate the thoughts of others, to organize these thoughts in a fresh way, and, in combination with one’s own thoughts and experiences, to communicate one’s findings effectively.

It is with this conviction that the Seminary does not permit the presentation of someone else’s thoughts as one’s own. Books, articles and other materials used in the presentation of assignments must be credited properly in the foot- notes/endnotes and the bibliography. It is the faculty’s view that failure to do so is not only personally dishonest, but a violation of the integrity of the ministry.

Any student turning in written work that is not her or his own, including copying from a published source, copying from the internet, or copying from another student, will be charged with plagiarism. Any student charged with Plagiarism by an instructor will receive a sanction proportionate to the level of scope of the plagiarism and and/or its repeated occurrence. Plagiarism may result in automatic course failure, and in the case of repeated action, may result in possible dismissal from the Seminary.  A student who disputes either the charge of plagiarism and/or the sanction imposed by the professor may request a review by the Faculty Committee. The Committee will review the charge and sanction and communicate its findings within 14 days of receiving the appeal. The decision of the Faculty Committee is final.

 

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Graduation requirements

 

All academic requirements must be completed and all financial obligations must be met prior to candidates participating in graduation exercises in which they receive a certificate or diploma.

Those students completing requirements after a deadline set by the faculty may be granted their degrees at a regularly scheduled meeting of the Board of Trustees later in the year.  Such candidates will be invited to march in the commencement service the following May.

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Tuition and fees

 

NYTS seeks to maintain reasonable tuition and fees for all programs as a matter of policy and commitment.  Tuition and fees at the Seminary remain among the lowest in the New York metropolitan area.  Students who enter any degree or certificate program can expect to see a modest annual raise in the cost of their theological education as they progress through the program.  A list of costs for all programs is published each spring on the NYTS web page under “Tuition and Fees” and is available from the Registrar or Academic Dean.

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Financial aid

 

Financial aid at New York Theological Seminary is available to students in the Master’s programs as well as the Doctor of Ministry program. The Seminary seeks to be as helpful as possible to students as they plan and manage their educational expenses. Students are also strongly urged to seek scholarship support through other external agencies, including their local churches and denominations. Further information on Financial Aid can be found on our website at  nyts.edu/finaid.

Institutional Scholarships

The Seminary’s institutional scholarships are awarded to full-time Master’s students. Applicants must meet and maintain specific qualifications and award amounts are set by the Financial Aid Office. Named scholarships are reported by the President to interested donors annually. Scholarship renewal is not automatic and students must re-apply each year. Students receiving scholarships are expected to register continuously as awards are offered once a year. No aid is awarded to a student who is on a Stop-Out or Leave of Absence (see definition for each above). Scholarship awards are meant to reduce student’s tuition costs and may cover up to fifty percent of tuition charges, depending on the year in school and demonstrated need. Scholarship disbursements that exceed a student’s tuition charges remain on their account as a credit.

Institutional scholarship applications are made available on March 1 of every year with a deadline of early June for returning students and early August for first time applicants.

Work Study

In addition to institutional scholarships, the Seminary offers a limited number of Work Study positions each year to students who have the requisite time and skills for specific assignments. Work Study is awarded on an hourly basis and only after submitting completed timesheets to the Office of Student Accounts. Work Study can only be applied against tuition and fees. Students must apply for Work Study each year through the Office of the Academic Dean, where specific job descriptions are kept on file.

Federal Student Aid

The Seminary participates in the William D. Ford Direct Loan Program. Direct Loans are low-interest loans available to students to help pay for the cost of education after high school. Students must meet specific requirements set by the U.S. Department of Education through the Title IV, HEA programs and complete all necessary application requirements and counseling.

Direct Unsubsidized loans are borrowed through the federal government and must be repaid. Students will accrue interest from the time a loan is disbursed until it is paid in full. If interest is allowed to accumulate, it will be capitalized. Loan repayment begins six months after the student leaves school or is no longer enrolled at least half-time (at least 4 credit hours/term). The interest rate varies, depending on the date/year of disbursement.

Direct Graduate PLUS loans (Grad PLUS) loans must also be repaid but can help students cover education expenses after they have used their maximum unsubsidized loan eligibility. Unlike the Direct Unsubsidized loan, borrowers complete a credit application and must not have adverse credit history or must obtain an endorser who does not have adverse credit history. The maximum loan amount is the student’s cost of attendance (determined by NYTS) minus any other aid received.

Veteran’s Benefits

The Seminary is an approved site by the State of New York Division of Veterans’ Affairs Bureau of Veterans’ Education for veterans who may be eligible under VA Form 22-1990 which can be found on the VA website listed below. The Seminary is approved for study under the following Title 38 US Codes:

  • Chapter 30 (the Montgomery GI Bill)
  • Chapter 31 (the Vocational Rehabilitation Act)
  • Chapter 32 (the Post-Vietnam Era Veterans Educational Assistance Act)
  • Chapter 33 (Post 9/11 GI Bill)
  • Chapter 35 (the War Orphans Educational Assistance Act)
  • Chapter 1606 (the Montgomery Selective Reserves)

For more information on Veterans Benefits please visit http://www.benefits.va.gov/benefits/ or call the NY State Approving Agency at (1-888-442-4551).

For further information about financial aid contact
Office of Financial Aid
New York Theological Seminary
475 Riverside Drive, Suite 500
New York NY 10115
(212) 870-1211
www.nyts.edu.

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Satisfactory Academic Progress

 

Maintaining satisfactory academic progress is one of many requirements mandated under federal statutory and regulatory requirements for federal student aid programs and for institutional financial aid offered by New York Theological Seminary. In order to remain eligible for federal student aid at NYTS, students must maintain both a qualitative and quantitative standard for satisfactory academic progress. These standards measure a student’s progress in three different aspects:

  • Semester and cumulative grade point average
  • Credit hour completion rate, and
  • The maximum time frame allowable for completion of an academic program as a recipient of federal student aid.

This satisfactory academic progress policy is specific to maintaining eligibility for federal student aid and does not replace academic policies pertaining to academic standing and/or degree progression. Federal regulations require a specified level of academic achievement and the completion of a set number of credits within a given time frame. Students must meet the minimum standards in this policy after each academic year in which the student is enrolled. The Financial Aid Office will review satisfactory academic progress at the end of the spring semester and will accordingly notify federal student aid recipients.

 

Quantitative Standards

Students are expected to complete their academic program within reasonable time frames based on the average length of the academic program and not exceeding maximum time frames as set forth in federal regulation. This is measured in two ways:

  • Semesters enrolled – fall, spring, and the summer sessions.
  • Credit hours attempted – All courses attempted, with the exception of audited courses.

Maximum Time Frames

Credit hours included in the maximum time frame are comprised of all credits applied to a student’s degree program, as follows:

  • All transfer credits applied to the student’s academic program.
  • All credits attempted, regardless of passing or failing grades, and including incomplete grades, an unsatisfactory grade, no grade, or a withdrawal from a course.
  • Courses taken for credit or no credit.
  • All courses taken, regardless of a student’s change of academic program, and regardless of whether a student had multiple majors and/or academic concentrations.
  • All repeated coursework.

Audited courses are not counted towards maximum time frame.

 

Average and maximum time frames are as follows:

Degree Program Avg. Timeframe/Credit Hours Max. Timeframe/Credit Hours
Master of Divinity 4 years; 90 credit hrs. 7 years; 135 credit hrs.
Master of Pastoral Care & Counseling 2 years; 48 credit hrs. 5 years; 72 credit hrs.
Master of Religious Education 2 years; 48 credit hrs. 5 years; 72 credit hrs.
Master of Youth Ministry 2 years; 48 credit hrs. 5 years; 72 credit hrs.
Master of Religious Leadership & Administration 2 years; 48 credit hrs. 5 years; 72 credit hrs.
Doctor of Ministry 3 years; 42 credit hrs. 6 years; 63 credit hrs.

Rate of Completion/Pace

The credit hour completion rate refers to the pace at which students must progress through their academic
program to ensure that the student completes their academic program within the maximum time frame per federal regulation.

At the end of the academic year (June 30), the Financial Aid Office will evaluate a student’s academic progress in accordance with the following regulatory formula:

Pace = total hours completed ÷ total hours attempted

This means that courses for which the student withdraws after the drop/add period has ended will be considered as attempted credit hours. For all students, attempted hours is defined as all courses in which they are enrolled after the drop/add period has ended and for which academic credit will be earned. This means that courses from which students withdraw after the drop/add period has ended will be considered attempted hours. All attempted hours will be counted regardless of whether financial aid was received. The following course designations are included in attempted hours:

  • Withdrawals
  • Incompletes
  • No grades
  • Courses taken as Pass/Fail
  • Repeated coursework
  • Failing grades

All graduate students will be expected to complete 67 percent of credit hours attempted, during all terms of enrollment, including the summer session.

 

Qualitative Standards

New York Theological Seminary has established academic progress standards of at least a 2.0 grade point average for all degree programs. Therefore, students must maintain at least a 2.0 grade point average for continued federal student aid eligibility. Courses marked AU, I, P, X, or W are not considered in determining the grade point average, except that courses marked “I” will be considered when a final grade is recorded.

 

Evaluation of Satisfactory Academic Progress

The Financial Aid Office will evaluate satisfactory academic progress for all students receiving federal student aid in accordance with this policy at the end of the academic year. Students who do not meet satisfactory academic progress will be notified of their status by email.

Students who fail to meet satisfactory academic progress requirements will be given an automatic financial aid warning and will have one semester to meet requirements as set forth in this policy. Failure to meet satisfactory academic progress requirements following a financial aid warning will result in the student being ineligible for all federal student aid. Students who become ineligible and have extenuating circumstances which contributed to poor academic performance may appeal to be placed on financial aid probation for one additional semester of eligibility. After a period of financial aid probation, students must either meet satisfactory academic progress requirements or fund their educational expenses without the use of federal student aid.

A student may appeal the denial of federal student aid by writing to the Financial Aid Committee. Appeals are considered in cases where there has been a death of a relative, injury or illness of the student, or other special circumstances. Our committee may consult with deans, professors, or physicians (as appropriate) to determine if an appeal for financial aid probation should be approved.

The appeal must include:

  • A letter of explanation as to why the student failed to make satisfactory academic progress along with supporting documentation that substantiates the circumstances. Documentation should be from unrelated adults such as professors, academic advisors, clergy, doctors, or mental health professionals.
  • A separate academic and enrollment plan developed in conjunction with and approved by your academic advisor which provides a path to follow that allows the student to meet the requirements at the end of the Financial Aid Probation (one semester).

Please note that federal student aid (and scholarships), once lost, cannot be reinstated retroactively for previous semesters where the student was ineligible. Upon reinstatement, students will be eligible to apply for federal student loans.

 

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Refund Policy

 

Refunds of tuition are granted only on the basis of formal notification of withdrawal to the Seminary’s Registrar, initiated by the student. All such notifications of withdrawal must be completed in writing and submitted only to the Registrar. The tuition refund amount that is due as a result of an official withdrawal is determined by the date the initial request is made. Students may inform the Registrar of their intent to withdraw via email or postal mail however, a Stop-Out/Leave of Absence/Withdrawal form must also be submitted no more than 14 days later for the withdrawal process to be considered complete. Notifications submitted by postal mail will be dated according to the postmark. Notifications submitted by email to the Registrar will be dated upon receipt.

Master of Divinity and Master of Arts Degree Programs

Refund of tuition for withdrawal from a Master’s degree program is assessed using the following schedule:

  • 100% of tuition charges for a withdrawal completed prior to the end of the second week of class (for semester-based courses) or the second class session identified on the syllabus (for intensive courses).
  • 50% of tuition charges for a withdrawal completed by the midpoint of the course (determined by contact hours).
  • 0% thereafter

Doctor of Ministry Degree Program

Students in the D.Min. program must register for the entire year prior to the beginning of the first class session in Year 1, and during the month of September in Year 2 and Year 3. Refunds of tuition for a withdrawal in the D.Min. program are assessed using the following schedule:

Doctor of Ministry – Year 1

  • 100% of tuition charges for a withdrawal completed prior to the end of the first week of an intensive format program, or the sixth week of a semester-based program.
  • 50% of tuition charges for a withdrawal completed prior to the beginning of the second intensive week in an intensive format program, or prior to the beginning of the second semester in a semester-based program.
  • 0% thereafter

Doctor of Ministry – Year 2

  • 100% of tuition charges for a withdrawal completed prior to the end of the first week of the intensive, or the sixth week of the semester.
  • 50% of tuition charges for a withdrawal completed by January 15.
  • 0% thereafter

Doctor of Ministry – Year 3 and Continuation Year

  • 100% of tuition charges for a withdrawal completed by October 1.
  • 50% of tuition charges for a withdrawal completed by January 15.
  • 0% thereafter

 Refunds for audited courses, continuing education courses and Partner Church members will be granted in full prior to the first meeting of the enrolled course, with no refund thereafter.

All fees are non-refundable.

Students in the DMin program in each year of the program must register for the entire year in the fall semester.  A student who fails to register for the third or continuation year before October 1 may register only with the approval of the Director of the Doctor of Ministry program.  A student who fails to register for the third or continuation year and does not receive a Leave of Absence, then in a subsequent year seeks to return to the program to complete the written thesis and graduate, may be re-admitted at the discretion of the Director, but will be charged for the third year tuition plus any subsequent continuing year fees that apply at the rate that was in effect during the year or years that the tuition was due.

Certificate Programs

Refund of payment for the CP is granted according to the following schedule:

  • 100% refund if withdrawal occurs before classes begin
  • 50% refund no later than the second class week
  • no refund thereafter

Refund of fees for audit, continuing education, and Partner Church members in any class is granted in full prior to the first meeting of the particular class, with no refund thereafter. 

 

All fees are non-refundable.

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Return of Title IV Funds policy

 

The U.S. Department of Education requires that all schools, including New York Theological Seminary, implement a Return of Title IV Funds policy when a Title IV (federal financial aid) recipient withdraws from school. A federal financial aid recipient is defined as a student who has received Title IV funds such as but not limited to Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplement Educational Opportunity Grant, Federal Direct Loans, Federal Perkins Loan, and Federal Direct PLUS Loan. This policy applies to students who complete 60% or less of the enrollment period for which they received Title IV aid. A student who drops a class but still completes one or more classes does not qualify for the Return of Title IV Funds policy.

In order to adhere to this policy, the Registrar must determine the student’s withdrawal date, which is defined as either:

  1. the date the student began the withdrawal process by officially notifying the Registrar at New York Theological Seminary of his or her intent to withdraw or;
  2. the midpoint of the semester or the last date of attendance in an academically-related activity by a student who does not notify the Registrar.

The calculation determines a student’s earned and unearned Title IV aid based on the percentage of the enrollment period completed by the student. The percentage of the period that the student remained enrolled is derived by dividing the number of days the student attended by the number of days in the period. Calendar days (including weekends) are used, but breaks of at least 5 days are excluded from both the numerator and denominator. Course professors will be asked to verify a student’s absence or presence through attendance in a classroom, participation on an online learning exercise, or some other such means in order to determine the amount of Title IV Funds that are to be returned.

Until a student has passed the 60% point of an enrollment period, only a portion of the student’s aid has been earned. A student who remains enrolled beyond the 60% point is considered to have earned 100% of awarded federal aid for the enrollment period.

It is very important to note that earned aid is not related in any way to institutional charges. In addition, the Seminary’s refund policy and the Return of Title IV Funds policy are independent of one another. A student who withdraws from a course may be required to return unearned aid and still owe the Seminary for the course. For more information on New York Theological Seminary’s withdrawal and institutional charges policies, please see the Student Handbook or Seminary Catalog.

The responsibility to repay unearned Title IV aid is shared by the Seminary and the student. For example, the calculation may require NYTS to return a portion of Federal funds to the Federal Title IV programs. In addition, the student may also be required to return funds based on the calculation. A student returns funds to the Federal Direct Loan programs based on the terms and conditions of the promissory note of the loan. The return of Federal aid is in the following order: Unsubsidized Federal Direct loans then Federal Grad PLUS loans

 

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Continuing Education and Partner Church Program

 

As indicated above, the Seminary seeks to extend opportunities for continuing education to graduates and others who are seeking to enhance their professional skills and development in theology and ministry.  In line with its mission to serve the churches and other religious institutions, the Seminary also seeks to extend opportunities to Partner Churches (see the section elsewhere in this Catalogue that describes a Partner Church) to make use of its resources as appropriate.  Such opportunities are usually conferences, public lectures, and other events that the Seminary sponsors, but they may also entail attending a class that is part of a degree program at the Seminary.  Not all courses offered in the NYTS curriculum are open for continuing education or for Partner Church members, due to the content of the course.  The size of a class is also taken into consideration when determining whether or not a class is open to continuing education students and members of Partner Churches.  Continuing education students and Partner Church members pay a reduced fee and are expected to sit in on classes but are not expected to participate in discussions fully, and are not expected to turn in written work that is to be graded.  Upon completion of the course these individuals will be given a certificate indicating their successful attendance.   The Seminary will not generate transcripts for continuing education students or for Partner Church members who attend a class under these conditions.  For information on courses that are open to continuing education and Partner Churches, contact the Registrar or Academic Dean.

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Immunization requirements

 

New York State law requires all undergraduate and graduate students to be immunized against measles, mumps, and rubella. The law applies to all students born on or after January 1, 1957. Students must provide written proof of immunization within 30 days of the start of their classes. Immunization record forms may be obtained from the Registrar. Failure to comply will regretfully result in dismissal from the program.

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NYTS non-discrimination policy

 

NYTS reaffirms its long-standing policy of non-discrimination. The Seminary is an academic institution that, in compliance with federal, state, and local laws, does not engage in illegal discrimination on the basis of race, color, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, marital or parental status, citizenship status, veteran status or disability in its educational program and activities, including employment, or in admission to programs or activities.  Additionally, it is the policy of NYTS that all actions within the Seminary toward students and employees will be based on performance-related criteria. Attitudes and preferences of individuals that are personal in nature, such as private expressions or sexual orientation, will provide no basis for judgment related to such individuals.

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Grievance procedure

 

Any student who believes that he or she has a personal or professional grievance with another member of the NYTS community other than one that is strictly academic in nature (that is, concerning a grade or other decision by an instructor), or is a matter of sexual harassment (see the next paragraph below), be it with another student, instructor, staff member, or member of the Seminary’s administration, should first seek to resolve that grievance directly with the person involved.  If a student is unable to resolve the grievance to his or her satisfaction through such means, the student may appeal to the Academic Dean in writing concerning the issue.  The Dean will seek to resolve the grievance, and may consult with other members of the community, including other faculty members or student leaders, for the purposes of doing so.  If a grievance cannot be resolved through this means, the Dean may bring the issue before the full Faculty for deliberation and action.

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Sexual harassment policy

 

NYTS seeks to promote a cooperative work and academic environment that fosters mutual respect for all.  As an institution that seeks to embody Christian principles, it is bound by the injunction to seek the well-being of all who work, study or pass through its programs.  Harassment of anyone based upon sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression is inconsistent with these objectives and contrary to Seminary policy.  Sexual harassment is also illegal under federal, state, and city law.  It is the policy of NYTS to prohibit sexual harassment of employees and students.  It is a violation of this policy for any member of the Seminary community to engage in sexual harassment, or for any member of the Seminary community to take action against an individual for reporting sexual harassment.  Prompt investigation of allegations will be made on a confidential basis to ascertain the veracity of complaints, and appropriate corrective action will be taken.

Sexual harassment is defined as “unwelcome sexual advances, request for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.” Questions regarding this policy or initiation of a grievance regarding sexual harassment should be directed to the Academic Dean, or in a case where the Dean may be compromised, to the President of the Seminary.

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Seminary drug-free statement

 

In accordance with the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 and the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act, New York Theological Seminary maintains a drug-free environment.  The unlawful manufacture, possession, distribution, transfer, purchase, sale, use, or being under the influence of alcoholic beverages or illegal drugs while at work in the Seminary, or while attending or participating in Seminary-related activities is strictly prohibited and may lead to disciplinary action, including suspension or dismissal.  When appropriate, the Seminary may refer the employee or student to approved counseling or rehabilitation programs.  Should an employee or student be convicted of a drug-related crime that occurred on Seminary property or while engaged in a Seminary activity, s/he must notify the President.  Appropriate action, including possible disciplinary action and/or the requiring of participation in a drug-abuse assistance or rehabilitation program, may result after notice of the conviction is received.

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Compliance with FERPA

 

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) as amended is a federal law which is designed to protect the privacy of students by limiting access to their educational records.  The law prohibits disclosure of information related to a student to anyone other than a legitimate Seminary official without the student’s explicit written consent.  A Seminary official is someone for whom the disclosure of the information is necessary in order for the person to carry out her or his responsibilities at the Seminary, and includes both faculty and staff.

NYTS will not disclose information of a general nature such as a student address or phone number, or information related specifically to the student’s educational performance such as transcripts or evaluations to anyone who is not a legitimate Seminary official without explicit written consent of the student.  NYTS does publish an internal directory of students that is only available to members of the faculty and staff, and may not be shared beyond the institution.

Students (both current and former) have the right to inspect and review all information contained in their education records, including transcripts or reports.  Students who wish to review their records must make an appointment to do so with the Registrar and Academic Dean.  Students who believe that their records contain information that is inaccurate or misleading may petition the Office of the Academic Dean in writing with a request that such information be changed.  Decisions regarding such changes are the responsibility of the Academic Dean and will be communicated to the student in writing within thirty days from when the petition is received.

Students (both current and former) may file a complaint regarding any alleged violation of the FERPA law with the United States Department of Education by writing at:

 

Family Policy Compliance Office

U.S. Department of Education

400 Maryland Avenue, SW

Washington, DC 20202-5920.

Further information regarding the law may be found at FERPA@ed.gov.

 

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Student Handbooks and MOODLE

 

Further information on academic policies and procedures, along with general information each year on the specific program, is published annually in a Student Handbook for each degree and certificate program.  Students should consult the appropriate publication for their program for any changes in the policies listed above, as well as for additional information.  Students should also visit the Seminary’s online learning site, or MOODLE, for updated information, including academic calendar and changes in registration dates.  A direct link to MOODLE can be found on the Seminary’s main web page at http://www.nyts.edu.

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