Aid and Eligibility

The Institute of Buddhist Studies offers both institutional aid (scholarships and awards) and, through the Graduate Theological Union, federal student aid (federal direct loans) to eligible students. Financial Aid is awarded based on a standard 9-month academic year, not by calendar year. Students must apply for financial aid each academic year for which they wish to receive financial aid. It is the student’s responsibility to reapply for funding as necessary by completing the Financial Aid Application, FAFSA, and any subsequent documents requested by the IBS Registrar’s Office or the GTU Financial Aid Office. Awarding normally occurs in the Spring, but students entering in the Spring term can apply in the Fall. Financial aid applications for new students are reviewed only after the GTU Financial Aid Office has been notified that a student has been admitted.

Materials are due no later than March 1 for the following academic year. (For students entering in the spring, the financial aid application is due November 1.)

Download Fall 2016 IBS Scholarship Application

Please consult the GTU Financial Aid Office for complete information on application processes and eligibility.

Federal Student Aid

Eligible students may apply for a Federal Direct Student loan. Currently, only students enrolled in the GTU M.A. program and the Certificate in Buddhist Chaplaincy are eligible for Federal Direct Student loans. Please contact the GTU Financial Aid Office for specific eligibility and application requirements.

Requirements for Federal Direct Student loans are:

  • Applicant must be a U.S. citizen or an eligible non-citizen;
  • Be enrolled as a regular student and working toward an eligible degree or Gainful Employment certificate program*;
  • Must have a valid Social Security Number;
  • Be registered with Selective Service (if required);
  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress;
  • Certify that no federal student loan is in a default status and no money is owed on a federal student grant;
  • Be enrolled at least half-time.*
  • Only students enrolled at least half-time (minimum of 6 units) in the GTU M.A. or Buddhist Chaplaincy Certificate programs are eligible for Federal Direct Students loans.

Pursuant to California Education Code §9490 9(a)(11), if a student obtains a loan to pay for an educational program, the student will have the responsibility to repay the full amount of the loan plus interest, less the amount of any refund, and that, if the student has received federal student financial aid funds, the student is entitled to a refund of the moneys not paid from federal student financial aid program funds.

Institutional Aid

Institutional Aid generally refers to scholarships and other awards that do not need to be repaid by the student. Members of the Buddhist Churches of America, the Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha, and other organizations and individual donors have generously raised funds in support of Buddhist, ministerial, and chaplaincy education.

General requirements for institutional aid (IBS scholarships) are:

  • Applicant must be a regular student enrolled in a degree or certificate program (i.e., auditors and special students are excluded from these awards);
  • Must be enrolled at least half-time;
  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress;
  • Some awards have additional requirements and may include additional application materials.

How to Apply for Scholarships and Loans

Students enrolled in either the GTU M.A. or the Certificate in Buddhist Chaplaincy programs must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid and submit supporting documents directly to the GTU Financial Aid Office. Please contact that office for specific instructions, deadlines, and necessary forms.

All students who wish to apply for IBS-specific awards or scholarships must submit an application form directly to the IBS Office of the Registrar. Please contact that office for specific instructions, deadlines, and necessary forms.

Awards and Scholarships

Scholarships by special application

The Hongwanji Scholarship Award

Due to the generous support of the Jōdo Shinshū Hongwanji-ha in Kyoto, Japan, IBS is pleased to offer an annual scholarship to one qualified student enrolled in either the M.B.S. or M.Div. degree program. This scholarship is awarded to a student in need who shows exceptional academic promise or a history of religious leadership with a clear vision of how she/he will apply their education at the IBS post- graduation as a scholar, minister, or chaplain. The applicant must intend to enroll as a full-time student for the duration of the year of the award; the award amount varies by year, but generally is at least $5000 per year. Award recipients are publicly announced in the Buddhist Churches of America’s newsletter, Wheel of Dharma.

All application materials must be received no later than March 1 for the following year.

In addition to the institutional aid application requirements above, applicants should submit:
1. Hongwanji Scholarship Award application sheet (available via the IBS website);
2. Cover letter addressed to the Scholarship Committee detailing why the applicant is qualified for the award, what her/his goals are in the IBS program; and what contribution she/he hopes to make post-graduation in a specific community or academic field;
3. Current resume or curriculum vitae;
4. Two letters of recommendation (may be the same letters of recommendation for program admission if those letters speak to the requirements of this award).

Scholarships by Nomination

Shin Buddhist Ministerial Scholarship

The membership of the Buddhist Churches of America has generously raised funds in support of Jōdo Shinshū ministerial education. Scholarships are awarded annually to those students in need who are enrolled in the Kyōshi Certificate Program, the Shin Buddhist ministerial track of the M.Div. program, or in another program and have participated in the Center for Buddhist Education’s MAP Program. No additional application is required, but students must apply for financial aid via the application process listed here. Nominations are made by the Scholarship Committee after reviewing all applications. Returning students must maintain satisfactory academic progress to be eligible.

Scholarship for Women Shin Buddhist Ministerial Aspirants

This award supports women students who wish to pursue a career in Shin Buddhist ministry. This scholarship is awarded to any qualifying student in need who is enrolled in the Kyōshi Certificate Program, the Shin Buddhist ministerial track of the M.Div. program, or in another program and have participated in the Center for Buddhist Education’s MAP Program. No additional application is required, but students must apply for financial aid via the application process listed above. Nominations are made by the Scholarship Committee after reviewing all applications. Returning students must maintain satisfactory academic progress to be eligible.

Buddhist Chaplaincy Scholarship

These scholarships are awarded annually to those students in need who are enrolled in the Buddhist Chaplaincy Certificate Program, the Buddhist chaplaincy track of the M.Div. program, or in another program and have participated in the Sati Center chaplaincy program. No additional application is required, but students must apply for financial aid via the application process listed above. Nominations are made by the Scholarship Committee after reviewing all applications. Returning students must maintain satisfactory academic progress to be eligible.

Need-Based Awards

Additional need-based scholarships are available to qualifying students in any or certificate program. Students must apply for financial aid via the application process listed here, and must complete the FAFSA by the stated deadline to be eligible. Awards are made by the Scholarship Committee after reviewing all applications. Returning students must maintain satisfactory academic progress to be eligible.