188.8.131.52 Financial Assistance for the Ministry Formation Program
1. Participants in the approved programs of theological study associated with the Ministry Formation Program are responsible for the total costs of their participation, including texts, tuition, fees, books, retreats and similar activities, materials and transportation. They are encouraged to defray costs by obtaining grants, scholarships and other funds. (Approved programs are noted in #2.2.2 Ministry Formation Program.)
2. Because the intended service of some participants is for the direct benefit of the sponsoring unit(s), it is highly recommended that sponsoring units share the financial burden of the participants by assisting them with scholarship, grant or subsidy. (Sponsoring unit is treated in #2.2.2 Ministry Formation Program.)
a. All participants in the process for Ministry Formation must present the written endorsement of their pastor or the competent administrator (e.g., pastoral coordinator, agency or diocesan department head, etc.). This endorsement does not necessarily contain any agreement to provide financial support. In such a case, the recommendation is that the sponsoring unit consider paying up to 50% of the cost of tuition.
b. With the approval of the director of the Office of Lay Ministry, the diocese may provide a subsidy of no more than 25% of the cost of tuition, subject to its discretion and financial conditions. (This is ordinarily done on a first come basis, until the funds designated for this purpose are expended.)
c. The participant remains responsible for the remaining costs, according to number 1 above.
d. The registration of a participant who is in arrears for previous tuition billing is not to be accepted.
3. Sponsoring units are prohibited from making any loans to participants, and no scholarship, grant or subsidy is to be understood as repayable. However, if a scholarship, grant or subsidy is refunded because it is not used for some reason, it must be returned to the sponsoring unit that gave it.
4. It is forbidden to reduce the wages, salary or benefits of a participant who is employed by the sponsoring unit because it gives a scholarship, grant or subsidy to the person.
5. Scholarships, grants or subsidies are to be given only for the current academic semester.
6. Both the unit and the recipient must maintain appropriate records and comply with any pertinent legal requirements as well as diocesan norms. It is the responsibility of the recipient to evaluate any personal tax or legal implications that could result.
7. The pastor or administrator of a sponsoring unit may permit an employee to participate in the program during normal work hours. However, this is to be noted in a written agreement.
8. All policies of the Diocesan Employee Handbook, including any policies established locally, are to be observed.