Reply To: Paying for seminary

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There are numerous ways to pay for sem.

MASA and TAP/PELL are the big well-known ones.

MASA is funded by the Israeli govt. therefore, some more right-wing seminaries will not accept it. Everyone is eligible for $1000. For americans, if your income falls below $22500 per person in the household (even boys learning out of town) then you are eligible for either $3700 or $4000 depending on whether the seminary school year is 9 months or 10 months long that year. (For example: If you have 8 kids (somaich al shulchunno) then if your combined gross income is $224,999 or less, you are eligible for the full 3700/4000). For those residing outside the USA, the amount is considerably more. (I have no idea why.)

MASA, too, can only be applied for, after the beginning of the year (Jan).

PELL is federally funded and is income based. Go to after the beginning of the year (Jan) and once you have done your taxes, and file online. I takes approx 20-30 minutes. Max available: approx $5500.

TAP is for NYS residents only. (When you fill out your info on, they offer to automatically send your info to TAP.) Max available: approx $4500.

HOWEVER, to be “eligible” for TAP/PELL, besides income, you need to be registered in a college. Seminaries, by themselves are NOT institutions. There are currently three colleges that have an “Israel program”.

a) Touro. Registration in Touro requires (I think) an 85 average plus an you must take an SAT (starting in 2010) and get either a 1400 or 1600, I don’t remember. Registration cost $1500 (last year). Acceptance into the Touro/Israel option makes NYS residents eligible for both TAP and PELL. (

b) HTC/TI (Hebrew Theological College/Torah Institiute) is in Skokie, IL, so you are only eligible for PELL. I really don’t remember their academic requirements, but they do require an SAT score. Registration $1500. (

c) MJI (Michigan Jewish Institute) is located in Southfield, MI. Again, since it’s outside NY, you are only eligible for PELL. I don’t think you need an SAT. Registration (I think) is $2500, but as far as I remember, they only charge you a small part of it up front, and the rest they take out when paying out the remainder to the seminary. So there is less “out of pocket”. (

When registered with one of the above, the seminary year is probably good for approx 30+ college credits. For those eligible for MASA ($4000) TAP ($4500) and PELL ($5500), for approx $4K it’s a very good deal, besides you get to be in Eretz Yisrael.

For those NOT eligible for TAP/PELL, due to the economy, SOME seminaries are open to VERY SERIOUS discounts.

Meohr has a program where you can have your Charter Oak College accept Meohr classes for credit. (cost: approx $300).

Additionally, Execelsior now accepts Tiferes (NOT Ateres) and Peninim’s transcripts AS IS for college credit. There is currently NO cost for this.

Reizel Reit is working on an ISRAEL program, that will also help those who don’t want to go thru Touro etc.. but that won’t be up and running in time for this year.

Additonally, there are many private scholarships available. (Toyota, Walmart, Coca Cola etc….)

To address those who are bothered by the cost of the seminary year, a few points.

1. Take the cost of tuition in the USA, and add in all the additional costs of room, board, and travel, (plus the college credits) and suddenly it’s a pretty good deal.

2. Have you ever heard of a seminary supplementing their tuition with an annual dinner, like your local mossad does?

3. Nobody is forcing you to send your daughter. If you feel there is a perceived peer-pressure, GET OVER IT. HANDLE IT LIKE A MATURE ADULT. Don’t knock every one else who can afford it. I personally can’t, so my daughter who was motivated, worked very hard babysitting etc.. thru high school and paid for 2/3 of it herself.

4. Seminary is a business. Just like your local bagel store, supermarket, insurance broker, mechanic, seforim store, Walmart etc…… Not just that, but it’s a luxury business. So, if you can’t afford it, just move on. Just like you would walk past the Jaguar dealership. Skip the sour grapes.They are entitled to make a living. And they do make a DECENT living. I am privvy to what goes on behind the scenes, and they do well, no doubt about it. But they are not flying around in the private jets or even in first class. It’s a business, and they are entitled to charge what they can. Again, supply and demand. Think it’s so easy? Start a seminary yourself!

Having said that, they are subject to the same laws of capitalism as everyone else in the free world. So, if there wasn’t a demand, they wouldn’t be there (and constantly opening new programs). That doesn’t mean that everyone should go. Some kids cannot and should not be trusted on their own. Some are more mature than others. but many others do grow a lot in both maturity and in ruchnius.