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Policy Manual

Introduction
Accrededitation
Covenantal Docs
Facts
History

The Bible Seminary

2655 S Mason Road

Katy, TX 77450


281-646-1109 (Phone)


Info@TheBibleSeminary.edu




Introduction


The Bible Seminary (TBS) is an independent, non-denominational, 501(c)(3) charitable institution of higher education incorporated in Texas in 2010 to offer training for laity and vocational ministry professionals. On-campus and Distance Education programs include a non-degree certificate program, as well as Dual Degree Completion, Master of Arts, and Master of Divinity degree programs. The seminary is an Accredited member of the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS), a member of the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA) approved to offer Distance Education, a member of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), an approved CEU provider for the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI), and an accredited member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA).


TBS aims to help nurture a biblically literate populace via comprehensive, strategic, Bible-based training. Faculty seek to integrate studies of the Bible with instruction in historical, theological, and practical disciplines critical to developing professional skills for life and ministry. Experiential education occurs through classroom instruction, study tours, hands-on ministry training, and community-based training with ministry professionals. Leadership includes Dr. K. Lynn Lewis, President; Dr. Scott Stripling, Provost and Vice-President of Donor Relations; Dr. Israel Steinmetz, Dean of the Graduate Programs and full-time Professor; numerous adjunct faculty, ministry professionals, and mentors who serve as part of the teaching team; and a Board of Trustees.


Accreditation


The Bible Seminary is a member of the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS) [15935 Forest Road, Forest, VA 24551; Telephone: (434) 525-9539; e-mail: info@tracs.org] having been awarded Accredited Status as a Category III institution by the TRACS Accreditation Commission on October 26, 2020. This status is effective for a period of five years. TRACS is recognized by the United States Department of Education (USDOE), the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), and the International Network for Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education (INQAAHE). For more information, visit TRACS.org.


TBS is an Accredited member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA). Based on the ECFA Seven Standards of Responsible StewardshipTM, including financial accountability, transparency, sound board governance and ethical fundraising, ECFA accredits leading Christian nonprofit organizations that faithfully demonstrate compliance with the ECFA Standards pertaining to financial accountability, fundraising, and board governance. For more information, visit ECFA.org or call 1-800-323-9473.


The Bible Seminary is a participating member of the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA), a private nonprofit organization [501(c)(3)] that helps expand students’ access to educational opportunities and ensure more efficient, consistent, and effective regulation of distance education programs. For more information, visit NC-SARA.org.


TBS is a member of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), the only national organization focused exclusively on accreditation and quality assurance in accredited colleges and universities throughout the United States.


TBS is listed on GuideStar and holds a GuideStar Platinum Seal of Transparency. Foundation Center, formerly the largest source of information about global philanthropy, and GuideStar, formally, the largest source of information on U.S. nonprofit organizations joined forces to become Candid in 2019 to help connect people who want to change the world to the resources they need to do it. For more information, visit Candid.org or GuideStar.org.


For additional information, visit TBS profiles on the following websites:


• Council for Higher Education Database of Accredited Institutions

U.S. Department of Education Database of Accredited Institutions


Read the TBS Covenantal Documents


Read the TBS Facts


Read the TBS History



The Bible Seminary

Admissions Policy


Requirements and Procedures

The Bible Seminary (TBS) offers training for laity and vocational ministry professionals through the degree and non-degree programs below.


Bible Certificate (BC) and Vocational Ministry Certificate (VMC) – Enrolling in TBS graduate courses at a non-degree (audit or certificate) level requires completion and return of a "Non-degree Student Application.” Contact our office or click “Admission – Apply” on TheBibleSeminary.edu.


Dual Degree Completion, Master of Arts (MA) and Master of Divinity (MDiv) – Prospective graduate students seeking to prepare for vocational, professional ministry may initiate a degree application process as follows:


  • Submit an inquiry online at TheBibleSeminary.edu under “Admissions – Apply”

  • Send an e-mail message to info@thebibleseminary.edu

  • Call 281-646-1109.  Normal office hours are typically 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.  If no one answers, please leave a message and someone will promptly return your call.

  • Visit the TBS at 2655 South Mason Road, Katy, TX, 77450.  Please call in advance to confirm an appointment.


The application process will proceed through several steps.  Please contact admissions by e-mail or phone for assistance. Each applicant must provide the following information:


  • A completed Degree Application. Forms are available online at TheBibleSeminary.edu under “Admissions” or can be provided by e-mail or mail.

  • A $50 non-refundable application fee.  Several payment options are available.

  • Official transcript(s) submitted directly from the college or university to The Bible Seminary address.

  • Four references (including at least one pastoral reference) submitted by e-mail or mail to the Provost.

  • Authorization for a criminal background check.  Other than as specifically requested by questions in the Degree Application, an external criminal background check is not completed or utilized as a part of the admissions process.  However, depending on the ministry options selected by an admitted student, a background check may be required prior to beginning to serve in certain ministries.

  • A personal interview, to be scheduled during the admissions review process in person or by phone.


Admission to a degree program will be at the discretion of the TBS Admissions Committee, based on their review of the information provided. General criteria considered as minimum requirements include the following:


  • Evidence of a clear calling of the applicant to a life of personal and professional ministry as a pastor, missionary, church planter, or other servant of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

  • Applicant agreement to and acceptance of The Bible Seminary's Covenantal Documents.

  • Accredited baccalaureate degree or courses applicable to a baccalaureate degree with a minimum of 2.5 unweighted grade point average on a 4.0 scale.

  • For students whose primary language is not English, a TOEFL iBT score of at least 79, TOEFL CBT of 213, or TOEFL PBT of 550, or 7.0 IELTS.


The TBS Admissions Team is afforded discretion to grant exceptions to degree, grade point, and English language criteria, within the bounds of applicable accreditation standards.


Admissions Procedure – Initial contact with TBS inquiring into a degree program earns prospective students a status of “Inquiry.” Following the submission of a completed application and payment of the application fee, the TBS Admissions Team will open an application file for the student and move them from “Inquiry” to “Applicant” status. Generally, “Applicant” files are reviewed and students notified on a monthly cycle, as reviews are conducted and students notified within a maximum of 30 days. Regular notifications, usually by e-mail or phone, inform students about their application status, as well any notes, requests, or items pending receipt or review. Upon receipt and review of all application materials requested, the TBS Admissions Team makes a determination of “Accepted Applicant” or “Denied Applicant” and follows up with both a letter sent by postal mail and e-mail. Acceptances additionally include information about enrollment procedures, financial aid awards, and upcoming dates, deadlines, and events. Accepted applicants who subsequently enroll in at least one seminary course within one year of the date of acceptance will be moved to “Student (Graduate)” status. Accepted applicants who subsequently fail to enroll in at least one class within one year of the date of acceptance may be marked “Applicant Withdrawn.” Reconsiderations may be granted on a case-by-case basis. 


Competency Assessment – The Admissions Committee, comprised of all full-time faculty members and administrators, seeks to ensure that students have the thinking, writing, and research skills to succeed at TBS. An earned bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution normally demonstrates acceptable mastery in these critical areas. The Admissions Committee further seeks evidence that a prospective student possesses a baseline of biblical knowledge. Undergraduate or graduate degrees in Bible or a related field of study normally satisfy this criterion. Students with undergraduate degrees in unrelated fields may be asked to complete an admissions exam if they are unable to establish through a portfolio that they satisfy this requirement.


Residency Requirements

  • TBS does not offer residential housing as part of the on-campus experience.

  • TBS does not require students who are U.S. citizens or legal residents to live on or within a certain distance of the main campus, any branch campus or teaching site, or any remote instructional location.

  • Students may participate in courses exclusively live on-campus, live online (synchronously), recorded online (asynchronously), or a hybrid mixture.

  • TBS is NOT currently a Student Exchange and Visitor Program (SEVP) approved school and cannot accept applicants in the U.S. under an F-1 Student Visa.


Special Admissions Requirements – Students whose GPA is below 2.5 may be admitted to TBS on academic probation for a specified period of time, until they demonstrate the ability to successfully complete graduate-level work. Students who are incarcerated or who have been incarcerated may have additional requirements.


Credit for Prior Learning – TBS does not grant credit for prior learning at the graduate level; however, students in the TBS dual-degree program may be awarded credit by exam, on the basis of certificates, or by assessment of prior learning, in compliance with the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL).


Admissions Policies Exceptions – Students seeking exceptions to TBS admissions policies must petition the Provost in writing. The Provost may grant exceptions to the stated admissions policies, assuming that the exceptions do not violate accreditation standards. The Provost or a designee monitors all students on probation and provides a written update to these students at the end of each academic year.


Probation

  • Undergraduate students in graduate programs – Dual-degree students will remain on academic probation until they complete all general education deficiencies or complete at least 12 TBS hours with a minimum GPA of 3.00.

  • New Students – Students admitted on academic probation may be removed from probation following successful completion of a minimum of 12 credit hours and earning a minimum of a cumulative 2.50 grade point average.

  • Existing Students – Current students may be placed on academic probation if the cumulative grade point average slips below 2.00 – the standard threshold for consideration for graduation with a graduate degree. Probationary status may require a student to take a reduced workload. Students on Probationary status for more than two consecutive terms will be dropped from seminary enrollment.

  • Readmission - Any student dropped from enrollment due to academic probation for two consecutive terms or a student conduct violation may, after a period of one calendar year from the date of removal, seek readmission. In order to reapply for admission and reconsideration, the student must explain how he or she has addressed the deficiencies in their education or conduct that will enable them to succeed the second time. All students readmitted will be placed on academic probation. No student will be allowed to reapply if he or she has been dropped from seminary enrollment twice.


Withdrawal Procedure – Applicants and Accepted Applicants may withdraw their application at any time by contacting the Provost. There are no refunds of Application Fees. Enrolled Students may request withdrawal from the institution by contacting the Provost. All outstanding tuition and fees owed are still due in accordance with the policy below. Unpaid tuition and fees will result in a lock on student records and transcripts. Only upon payment in-full of all tuition and fees due will a former student’s records and transcripts be released to the student and/or any other institutions. The following conditions define the amount of refunds of tuition and fees paid to the seminary by a student or on behalf of a student may be issued for students who withdraw from TBS classes. Refunds will generally be returned to the original Payee(s) on record.


Normal course schedule

  • Prior to the first day of the semester – Full tuition and fees refund, less a 5% administrative fee.

  • On or up to 10 calendar days after the first day of the semester – Refund of 90% of the tuition paid; no refund of fees.

  • After 10 calendar days after the first day of the semester, but not later than 30 calendar days after the first day of the semester – Refund of 50% of the tuition paid; no refund of fees.

  • After 30 calendar days after the first day of class – No refund.


In cases where PART-TIME students withdraw who are taking a special or intensive class not concordant with the standard semester schedule, the policy below applies.


Special course schedules

  • Prior to the first day of the class – Full tuition and fees refund, less a 5% administrative fee.

  • On or up to one calendar day after the first day of class – Refund of 75% of tuition paid; no refund of fees.

  • On or up to two calendar days after the first day of class – Refund of 50% of tuition paid; no refund of fees

  • On or up to three calendar days after the first day of class – Refund of 25% of tuition paid; no refund of fees.

  • On or after four calendar days after the first day of class – No refund.


Hardship and other circumstances may necessitate special consideration of refunds, at the discretion of the Provost. In no case will scholarship funds credited to a student’s account be repaid to a student upon withdrawal. These unused scholarship funds will be redirected back into the seminary scholarship fund for use by other students.


History


First Issue:  10-11-2013.

Revised:  07-14-2015; renamed and revised to apply to all degree programs.

Revised:  09-17-2018; added sections on residency, special admissions, credit for prior learning, competency assessment, probation, and exceptions.

Revised:  08-06-2019; added Veterans Affairs Policy to comply with the Texas Veterans Commission.

Revised: 09-22-2019; changed the GPA requirement to 2.5.

Revised: 02-15-2020; added all updates approved by the Faculty Association on 2/1/2019.

Revised: 04-16-2021; added Distance Education and Non-degree application requirement for Bible Certificate students.

Revised: 01-26-2022; removed Veterans benefits section due to non-participation in the federal program. 


The Bible Seminary

Building Use Policy



Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to assure that the use of the buildings, grounds, and equipment (facilities) of The Bible Seminary (TBS) shall be confined to religious, educational, social, service, and other character-building functions.  Educational activities will always have priority over outside requests.   No meeting may be scheduled by any group that will conflict with any regular or special events involving the faculty, students, and administration of TBS.


Access and Use

TBS offices and library are typically open during normal business hours, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., Monday thru Friday.  Staff, faculty, and adjunct faculty are provided with necessary keys for access to classroom spaces for class periods that may be scheduled outside normal business hours.  Equipment essential for class presentations and activities is included in each classroom.  Faculty and adjunct faculty may contact TBS staff, should any special equipment be necessary but not available in the assigned classroom.  Special equipment is typically stored in the kitchen/storage area of Classroom 270 or in faculty/staff offices.


For those with disabilities, reasonable accommodation for safe access will be provided.  A sidewalk ramp is located at the southwest corner of the building, to assist with wheelchair or walker access to the classroom/offices/library doors.  Parking spaces reserved and marked for handicapped parking only are provided along the south row of parking spaces, in front of the classrooms.  Access to the facilities from those parking spaces is east, along the row of parking spaces, to the sidewalk ramp.  A ramp is affixed to the Suite 263 door threshold, allowing continual access to that entry door.  A similar portable ramp is stored in Classroom 270 for temporary use at any entry door.  Restrooms at the facility each have a stall that is of adequate width for safe and convenient access, and the restrooms are on the same level as the classrooms/offices/library and hallways.  Emergency egress is via the main entry doors or through the hallways to the back door exit across from the restrooms.  The back door exit is level to the sidewalk and grassy area east of the building. For equipment use by those with disabilities, contact the TBS office for details and requests.


Responsibilities

The President and VP – Finance & Administration (VP) are jointly responsible for administering this policy.  Any matters not explicitly or implicitly covered by this policy will be decided by the President and/or VP to the best of their judgment.


Scheduling

All classes and other events associated with TBS programs are routinely scheduled.  Any additional requests for use of the facilities are to be approved and scheduled by the President and/or VP.


Specific Prohibitions


a) Alcoholic beverages (with the exception of wine that may be used solely for administering the sacrament of Holy Communion), illegal drugs, or drug paraphernalia are strictly prohibited from being present or being used on or in any TBS facility.  Appropriate action will be taken to safely remove anyone in possession of such materials or who may appear to be under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs.  Any suspicious materials will be removed.  Appropriate authorities may be contacted to assure enforcement of federal, state, and local laws and ordinances.


b) The use of tobacco products in any form is not permitted inside any TBS facilities.


c) With the exception of seeing-eye dogs or other medically-required service animals, no pets are permitted in TBS facilities.


d) Sponsoring groups who violate this Building Use Policy may be subject to the loss of facility privileges and/or immediate termination of the subject activities or events.


e) Concerning firearms, TBS complies with Texas Government Code, Chapter 411, Subchapter H, Section 411.2031, in that those individuals licensed by the State of Texas to carry a handgun are not prohibited from carrying a handgun on the TBS campus.  However, according to the Texas Penal Code, Chapter 46, Section 46.035 (a-1), while on the TBS campus, with the exception of law enforcement and peace officers, license holders may only carry handguns in a concealed manner (not partially or wholly visible).  All other firearms are prohibited inside TBS facilities.


History

First Issue:  08-09-2012

Revised:  09-18-2014; updated position titles and responsibilities.

Revised:  07-12-2016; incorporated August 1, 2016, changes in Texas Government Code concerning License to Carry a Handgun; expands pets to include other service animals.

Revised:  08-24-2016; amended alcohol/drug prohibition to allow the exception for wine used for Holy Communion.

Revised:  09-29-2018; added Access section.


The Bible Seminary

Conflict of Interest Policy


It is in the best interest of The Bible Seminary (TBS) to be aware of and properly manage all conflicts of interest and appearances of a conflict of interest. This conflict of interest policy is designed to help directors, officers, employees and volunteers of TBS identify situations that present potential conflicts of interest and to provide TBS with a procedure to appropriately manage conflicts in accordance with legal requirements and the goals of accountability and transparency in operations of TBS.


1) Conflict of Interest Defined 

In this policy, a person with a conflict of interest is referred to as an “interested person.”  For purposes of this policy, the following circumstances shall be deemed to create a Conflict of Interest:

  • A director, officer, employee or volunteer, including a board member (or family member of any of the foregoing) is a party to a contract, or involved in a transaction with TBS for goods or services.

  • A director, officer, employee or volunteer, (or a family member of any of the foregoing) has a material financial interest in a transaction between TBS and an entity in which the director, officer, employee or volunteer, or a family member of the foregoing, is a director, officer, agent, partner, associate, employee, trustee, personal representative, receiver, guardian, custodian, or other legal representative.

  • A director, officer, employee or volunteer, (or a family member of the foregoing) is engaged in some capacity or has a material financial interest in a business or enterprise that competes with TBS.

Other situations may create the appearance of a conflict, or present a duality of interests in connection with a person who has influence over the activities or finances of TBS. All such circumstances should be disclosed to the board or staff, as appropriate, and a decision made as to what course of action the organization or individuals should take so that the best interests of the nonprofit are not compromised by the personal interests of stakeholders in TBS.

Gifts, Gratuities and Entertainment. Accepting gifts, entertainment or other favors from entities or individuals can also result in a conflict or duality of interest when the party providing the gift/entertainment/favor does so under circumstances where it might be inferred that such action was intended to influence, or possibly would influence, the interested person in the performance of his or her duties. This does not preclude the acceptance of gifts of nominal or insignificant value, or entertainment of nominal or insignificant value, which are not related to any particular transaction or activity of TBS.


2) Definitions

  • A "Conflict of Interest" is any circumstance described in Part 1 of this Policy.

  • An "Interested Person" is any person serving as an officer, employee or member of the Board of Directors of TBS or a major donor to TBS or anyone else who is in a position of control over TBS who has a personal interest that is in conflict with the interests of TBS.

  • A "Family Member" is a spouse, parent, parent of spouse, child or spouse of a child, brother, sister, or spouse of a brother or sister, aunt, uncle, niece or nephew, of an interested person.

  • A "Material Financial Interest" in an entity is a financial interest of any kind, which, in view of all the circumstances, is substantial enough that it would, or reasonably could, affect an Interested Person’s or Family Member's judgment with respect to transactions to which the entity is a party.

  • A "Contract or Transaction" is any agreement or relationship involving the sale or purchase of goods or services, the providing or receipt of a loan or grant, the establishment of any other type of financial relationship, or the exercise of control over another organization. The making of a gift to TBS is not a Contract or Transaction. 

  3) Procedures

  • Prior to board or committee action on a Contract or Transaction involving a Conflict of Interest, a director or committee member having a Conflict of Interest and who is in attendance at the meeting shall disclose all facts material to the Conflict of Interest. Such disclosure shall be reflected in the minutes of the meeting. If board members are aware that staff or other volunteers have a conflict of interest, relevant facts should be disclosed by the board member or by the interested person him/herself if invited to the board meeting as a guest for purposes of disclosure.

  • A director or committee member who plans not to attend a meeting at which he or she has reason to believe that the board or committee will act on a matter in which the person has a Conflict of Interest shall disclose to the chair of the meeting all facts material to the Conflict of Interest. The chair shall report the disclosure at the meeting and the disclosure shall be reflected in the minutes of the meeting.

  • A person who has a Conflict of Interest shall not participate in or be permitted to hear the board's or committee's discussion of the matter except to disclose material facts and to respond to questions. Such person shall not attempt to exert his or her personal influence with respect to the matter, either at or outside the meeting.

  • A person who has a Conflict of Interest with respect to a Contract or Transaction that will be voted on at a meeting shall not be counted in determining the presence of a quorum for purposes of the vote. 

  • The person having a conflict of interest may not vote on the Contract or Transaction and shall not be present in the meeting room when the vote is taken, unless the vote is by secret ballot. Such person's ineligibility to vote shall be reflected in the minutes of the meeting. For purposes of this paragraph, a member of the Board of Directors of TBS has a Conflict of Interest when he or she stands for election as an officer or for re-election as a member of the Board of Directors.

  • Interested Persons who are not members of the Board of Directors of TBS, or who have a Conflict of Interest with respect to a Contract or Transaction that is not the subject of Board or committee action, shall disclose to their supervisor, or the Chair, or the Chair's designee, any Conflict of Interest that such Interested Person has with respect to a Contract or Transaction. Such disclosure shall be made as soon as the Conflict of Interest is known to the Interested Person. The Interested Person shall refrain from any action that may affect TBS’s participation in such Contract or Transaction.

In the event it is not entirely clear that a Conflict of Interest exists, the individual with the potential conflict shall disclose the circumstances to his or her supervisor or the Chair or the Chair's designee, who shall determine whether full board discussion is warranted or whether there exists a Conflict of Interest that is subject to this policy.


 4) Confidentiality 

Each director, officer, employee and volunteer shall exercise care not to disclose confidential information acquired in connection with disclosures of conflicts of interest or potential conflicts, which might be adverse to the interests of TBS. Furthermore, directors, officers, employees and volunteers shall not disclose or use information relating to the business of TBS for their personal profit or advantage or the personal profit or advantage of their Family Member(s).


5) Review of policy

  • Each director, officer, employee and volunteer shall be provided with and asked to review a copy of this Policy and to acknowledge in writing that he or she has done so.

  • Annually each director, officer, employee and volunteer shall complete a disclosure form identifying any relationships, positions or circumstances in which s/he is involved that he or she believes could contribute to a Conflict of Interest. Such relationships, positions or circumstances might include service as a director of or consultant to another nonprofit organization, or ownership of a business that might provide goods or services to TBS. Any such information regarding the business interests of a director, officer, employee or volunteer, or a Family Member thereof, shall be treated as confidential and shall generally be made available only to the Chair, the President of the Corporation, and any committee appointed to address Conflicts of Interest, except to the extent additional disclosure is necessary in connection with the implementation of this Policy.

  • This policy shall be reviewed annually by each member of the Board of Directors. Any changes to the policy shall be communicated to all staff and volunteers


History


First Issue:  May 9, 2011


Conflict of Interest Disclosure and Acknowledgement Form



Date:  _______________


Name:  ________________________________________________________


Position: _______________________________________________________


Please describe below any relationships, transactions, positions you hold (volunteer or otherwise), or circumstances that you believe could contribute to a conflict of interest between TBS and your personal interests, financial or otherwise:


      _____ I have no conflict of interest to report

      _____ I have the following conflict of interest to report (please specify other nonprofit and for-profit boards you (and your spouse) sit on, any for-profit businesses that may conduct business with TBS for which you or an immediate family member are an employee, officer or director, or a majority shareholder, and the name of your employer and any businesses you or a family member own):


1._________________________________________________________________________


2._________________________________________________________________________


3._________________________________________________________________________


4._________________________________________________________________________



I hereby certify that the information set forth above is true and complete to the best of my knowledge. I have reviewed, and agree to abide by, the Covenantal Documents and this Policy of Conflict of Interest of TBS.



Signature:  _____________________________________________________


Date:   ________________________


The Bible Seminary

Employee Continuing Education Reimbursement Policy


The Bible Seminary (TBS) accepts general responsibility to help cultivate and nurture the professional and spiritual growth of employees as reasonable, within budgetary allowances, and in accordance with due process rules and regulations.


Full-Time Employees


  1. Full-time employees of The Bible Seminary may be reimbursed for job-related undergraduate and graduate-level education and continuing education training opportunities. Reimbursement approval is to be obtained from the President or direct report supervisor in advance and is subject to budgetary restrictions. Employer-directed course work or legally required training will be paid directly by the employer.


2. Generally, the decision to authorize educational assistance is based on the determination that successful completion of the course work will be beneficial to both The Bible Seminary and the employee in terms of increased knowledge, abilities and skills. Coursework may be taken at any accredited public or private higher educational institution.


3. At the discretion of The Bible Seminary, approved tuition/fees, book/equipment/supplies expenses, and travel expenses (meals, lodging, or transportation) may be paid directly to the provider. Invoices or statements verifying expense amounts are to be submitted to the President or direct report supervisor, with identification of those expenses to be paid directly to the provider or to be reimbursed to the employee. Evidence of successful completion of subject course work is a condition for subsequent educational support or reimbursement.


4. In the unlikely event that an employee is no longer employed by The Bible Seminary upon completion of the approved course work, all educational support by The Bible Seminary on behalf of the employee is revoked and due for refund by the employee to The Bible Seminary.


5. Reimbursements are provided only for direct expenses associated with attendance of actual course work, travel, and related expenses, and are subject to the applicable IRS rules and regulations. Currently, according to Publication 970, Section 132(d) entitled “Education Working Condition Fringe Benefit,” reimbursements provided under the above conditions are non-taxable.


Part-Time Employees

Part-time employees may also be reimbursed for professional development opportunities and resources within budgeted allocations with the following conditions:

  1. Expenditures allowed for consideration include job-related books/equipment/supplies; conferences, retreats, and seminars; professional subscriptions; travel expenses (meals, lodging, or transportation); and non-degree continuing education tuition and fees.                                                                                            2. Expenditures must be pre-approved by the President or direct report supervisor and within the budgeted allowance for the designated fiscal year.                      3.Expenses may be paid directly by the institution or reimbursed in accordance with the TBS Reimbursement Policy and as agreed upon in writing (email correspondence is sufficient).



History


First Issue:  Version 1.0, January 26, 2014.

Second Issue: Version 1.0, October 12, 2018.


The Bible Seminary

Credit Transfer Policy


The Bible Seminary (TBS) is open to considering the eligibility of credits earned at other educational institutions toward course and program requirements at TBS. Likewise, credits can be transferred from one TBS degree to another TBS degree. Finally, TBS credits may be transferred from TBS to other educational institutions.


Transfer of Credit to TBS

  1. TBS accepts credits earned at accredited institutions of higher education as long as they are a comparable match in content to the parallel TBS course.                  2. Credits from unaccredited institutions may be considered on a case by case basis.

  2. 3. Graduate students must earn at least 25% of the credit hours required for their graduate degree from TBS, although at least 49% is preferred.

  3. 4. Assessment of credit eligibility may be determined in accordance with standards used by the National Course Atlas (www.courseatlas.com) or other acceptable comparison resources. 

  4. 5. Credit(s) earned at an undergraduate level are not eligible for transfer toward a graduate program, but they can apply for undergraduate requirements for dual-degree students.

  5. 6. The grade received in the course must be equivalent to a C (2.0) or higher at TBS. Pass/Fail or Credit/No Credit courses will not be transferred. Rare exceptions may be granted by the Provost.

  6. 7. Credit transfers do not include the course grade, but only the credit hours. Thus, transferred credits do not count toward a student’s overall GPA at TBS.

  7. 8. For institutions that utilize another form of academic credit (quarter hours/units/trimesters) besides 15-week semesters, transferred credit(s) will be converted into semester hours.

  8. 9. Students desiring to transfer credits must request that their school(s) submit an official transcript to TBS for evaluation. In some cases, a school catalog and/or course syllabus will also need to be submitted to assist in determining credit transfer eligibility. 

  9. 10. Notification of assessment to students will include the course(s) eligibility (Yes or No), any equivalency to TBS credit(s) and a determination of credits assigned toward a student’s program of study at TBS, as well as any relevant notes.

  10. 11. Verification of eligible credits and associated documentation must be kept on record in the student’s official file at TBS.

  11. 12. Assessment of credit transfer eligibility and final determinations are made by the office of the Provost. Reconsideration of denied credit may be requested on appeal to the Provost, but only after submitting full documentation and a formal case for appeal for each credit requested. Appeals will be decided, and the student notified within 30 days of submission. 

  12. 13. Current TBS students considering taking a course from another institution to apply toward required program credit at TBS should submit a request for consideration of potential eligibility to the Provost prior to taking a course. Completion of a course anticipated to be eligible, but not confirmed in writing prior to taking, may or may not be approved. Upon completion of a pre-approved course, the student must request that the school(s) submit an official transcript to TBS for final verification, and final approval must be documented, filed, and the student notified as outlined above.  


Transfer of Credit from one TBS Degree to Another TBS Degree

  • Students with a completed TBS Master of Arts (MA) degree could apply 100% of all applicable hours to a TBS Master of Divinity (MDiv) degree.

  • Students with a completed TBS MDiv degree may apply 100% of all applicable hours to a single additional TBS MA degree. For example, a student with an earned TBS MDiv degree who desires to complete the TBS Master of Arts in Biblical Languages degree would only need to complete the language and culture hours not taken as part of the MDiv degree.

  • Exceptions may be considered on a case by case basis.


Conversion of TBS Audit coursework to TBS Degree Credit

  • TBS graduate course audit students have the option of requesting that their work be graded and may take exams and finals in case they do decide to eventually pursue a degree. In such cases, students may petition the Provost to convert audit course work for graduate credit.


Transfer of TBS Credit to Another Educational Institution

Educational institutions are autonomous in determining policies for transfer of credit. Since transfer of credit is controlled by receiving institutions, TBS does not guarantee transfer of credits either to or from another educational institution. Students should thoroughly examine the policies of other schools to which they may wish to apply in the future regarding the potential acceptance, or non-acceptance, of credit(s) or a degree from TBS.


  • TBS has no means to regulate or guarantee how other educational institutions handle the transfer of TBS credits. 

  • Students are responsible for checking with any potential transfer universities to determine transferability of TBS credits.

  • No formal articulation agreements are in place between TBS and other educational institutions.

  • TBS students have historically transferred credit without prejudice to graduate programs, including doctoral programs, at other institutions of higher learning.


History


First Issue:  5-15-2014

Revised: 10-2-2018

Revised: 2-4-2020

Revised: 7-27-2020


The Bible Seminary

Digital Hardware Policy


The Bible Seminary may loan digital hardware (i.e. laptop computer or other similar product) to individual degree program students based on demonstrated need and at the discretion of the Provost.  The hardware and installed software remains the property of The Bible Seminary, except as noted below.


Eligibility

Eligible students must:


  • Be accepted into a degree program at The Bible Seminary

  • Be enrolled in a minimum of nine hours of Masters level courses

  • Remain continuously enrolled in sequential fall and spring semesters

  • Demonstrate ongoing scholastic commitment to program requirements, maintain good academic standing, and remain on track for graduation


If a student loses eligibility, the student will be notified, and the hardware and software must be returned to TBS within two weeks (14 days) of notification of loss of eligibility.


Repair/Replacement

  • Students are responsible for maintaining the hardware operating system, software, and virus protection up-to-date and in good working order throughout the entire period on loan.

  • If a device is lost, stolen, damaged, otherwise rendered inoperable – or not returned when due – the student is entirely responsible for repair and/or replacement costs.

  • Replacement cost amount(s) will be determined based on a three-year amortized schedule calculated from the date the student took possession of the original device.

  • In case of non-functionality due to unexpected and non-event related software or hardware failure, The Bible Seminary may choose to repair or replace hardware and/or software at no charge to the student.


Ownership

Upon graduation, any eligible student in good standing and utilizing loaned digital hardware/software may request a transfer of ownership from The Bible Seminary to the student.  Terms of any individual transfer will be determined and agreed upon by both parties involved prior to the transfer.


History


First Issue:  02-18-2015


The Bible Seminary

Document Retention Policy


It is the policy of The Bible Seminary to retain and discard documents in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations and as necessary for the proper conduct of its operations. The VP – Finance & Administration is responsible to maintain an appropriate document retention schedule and to coordinate conformance with it. The document retention schedule addresses paper and electronic documents and files.


In the case of legal action by, for, or against The Bible Seminary, destruction of obsolete documents will be immediately suspended for any documents that may be responsive to hold orders, interrogatories, or subpoenas related to the pending case. Document destruction of subject documents may be resumed when the related orders or actions have been settled and/or released.


History


First Issue:  11-27-2012


The Bible Seminary

Faculty Complaint Policy


Faculty of The Bible Seminary with a complaint should follow the rule of Matthew 18:15-16 as their primary model and as outlined in the TBS Grievance Policy. This includes speaking directly and confidentially with the person most responsible for the situation in a timely manner (within 14 days) in attempt to resolve the problem with dialogue through calm, rational dialogue and Christ-like demeanor. If the conversation does not bring a satisfactory response, or if it is not appropriate for the faculty member to speak with the person, the faculty member should speak confidentially with the Provost, who can assist in resolving his or her informal complaint. 


If this process proves unsatisfactory, a formal complaint may be filed to allow both parties due process in resolving an issue not able to be settled informally. The Provost serves as the Complaint Officer for TBS, will advise persons through the formal complaint process outlined in the next section, and keep documentation of formal academic complaints in a locked file in the Provost’s office. 


Complaint Notification Process

  1. 1. It is advisable (although not required) for a faculty member to meet with his or her academic dean to discuss the matter prior to writing a complaint letter.

  2. 2. Official complaints should be submitted in writing to Office of the Provost either by e-mail or letter.

  3. 3. Complaints should clearly denote date(s), facts, person(s) involved, and specific details.

  4. 4. Except in extenuating circumstances, complaints must be signed and dated by the complaining party. Anonymous complaints, or complaints on behalf of persons not directly involved but submitted on behalf of someone else, will not be accepted or reviewed.


Complaint Review Process

1. The Office of the Provost will review the complaint and notify the appropriate person(s) for further action.

2. The appropriate person(s) will investigate the complaint and, as necessary, meet with the complainant and/or other parties to determine an appropriate course of action and response.

3. A report of the investigation and results will be submitted to the Office of the Provost, and a written response to the complainant will be provided, typically within two business weeks of receiving the complaint.

4. If the written response does not resolve the complaint, the Provost will bring the parties together for a conference where the two parties can talk face to face (or if this is not practical, over the phone) in an atmosphere of fairness and cooperative problem solving. This meeting will include the faculty member, the respondent, and the Provost. The respondent may bring an advocate if desired.


Appeal

1. Complainants desiring to appeal a decision may submit a signed statement of appeal within two business weeks of the decision to the Office of the President, The Bible Seminary, 2655 S Mason Rd, Katy, TX 77450.

2. The Office of the President or designee will all documentation related to the situation and review the appeal and may choose to meet with the complainant and/or other parties.

3. The Office of the President will respond in writing concerning the disposition of the appeal within two business weeks of receiving the appeal.

4. If the issue is still not satisfactorily resolved, a final court of appeal in the form of a Judicial Panel may be appointed by the President, and consist of the President, a representative of the Faculty Association, and a member of the Board of Trustees. Their decision is final and binding.


After exhausting each procedural step of the above complaint procedures, persons still not satisfied with the outcome may file a complaint with the appropriate agency as outlined below. To the extent in which TBS has control, TBS ensures that all administrators, faculty, and staff will fully cooperate with the agencies listed below in the event of any complaint proceedings involving TBS.



Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS)

  1. An individual may make an inquiry to the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS) regarding complaint procedures or about issues and concerns that could be considered complaints at which time TRACS will direct the individual to the TRACS website at www.tracs.com with instructions on downloading the packet containing the Policies and Procedures for Complaints Against Member Institutions, the TRACS Complaint Information Sheet, and the TRACS Complaint Processing Form. However, TRACS response and its obligations to meet the specific timetables outlined in these procedures will begin only after the complainant submits all documents required in the TRACS Complaint Information Sheet.

         2. A formal complaint is one that is:

  a. Submitted in writing using the TRACS Complaint Processing Form (including all required supporting documentation);

  b. Signed; and

  c. Sent to the attention of the President of TRACS by the complainant(s). Complaints which are not in writing, anonymous, or sent electronically or through facsimile transmission will not be considered.

  3. Once the complainant has filed a complaint on the TRACS Complaint Processing Form, the following procedures will be followed for review and consideration of the complaint:

   a. TRACS will acknowledge receipt of the complaint within 15 working days.

   b. Within 30 working days of receipt of the complaint, the TRACS staff will review the complaint and its documentation and determine:

  • i. Whether it is within the jurisdiction of TRACS and is related to one or more of the TRACS Standards;

  • ii. If there is adequate documentation in support of the allegations; and

  • iii. Whether the complaint raises questions regarding the institution’s compliance with the TRACS Standards sufficient to require the institution to submit information and documentation regarding the complaint. 4. By the end of the 30 working days review TRACS will inform the complainant regarding one of the following dispositions of the complaint: a. The complaint will not be processed further because it is not within the jurisdiction of TRACS (not related to a TRACS Standard) or there is inadequate documentation to raise questions concerning the institution’s compliance with the TRACS Standards.

  • c. The institution will be asked for information regarding the complaint.

  • 5. If information is required from the institution, TRACS will forward a copy of the complaint to the institution’s President who will be asked to respond and provide all documentation to TRACS within 30 working days of receipt of the complaint.

  • 6. Within 20 working days of receipt of the institution’s response, the President of TRACS will make one of the following determinations regarding the complaint:

  • a. There is insufficient evidence of significant non-compliance on the part of the institution and the complaint will not be processed further. The decision of the President of TRACS is final.

  • b. TRACS is unable to determine compliance at that time and the case will either be included in an upcoming scheduled visit to the institution or a special Focus Team will be sent to the institution to examine documents, interview appropriate individuals, make a determination regarding the compliance of the institution, and prepare a report with recommendations for bringing the institution into compliance.

  • c. No response was received from the institution or evidence suggests the institution is not in significant compliance with one or more of the TRACS Standards and what steps will be taken to correct the issues up to and including possible Adverse Action.

  • 7. If either b. or c. above occurs, within 20 working days the President of TRACS will notify the complainant that the complaint is settled and which of those options TRACS will pursue and also notify the institution which of those options TRACS will pursue.

  • 8. The President of TRACS will present the findings of any team report to the Commission along with a recommendation at the next scheduled meeting; at which time the Commission will make a decision regarding the disposition of any non-compliance. The decision of the Commission is final.


  1. Following that meeting, the complainant and institution will be notified of the decision of the Commission.


For more information on TRACS complaint policies, a complaint information sheet, or to obtain a complaint form, visit “Resources – Publications and Information – Complaint Packet” at TRACS.org. Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS), 15935 Forest Road, Forest, Virginia 24551; Phone: 434-525-9539; Fax: 434-525-9538; Email: info@tracs.org; Website: www.tracs.org.


For complaints related to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, complainants may contact the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, Office of General Counsel, P.O. Box 12788, Austin, TX 78711-2788.


For complaints related to Title IX—Office of Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education, 1999 Bryan St., Suite 2600, Dallas, TX 75201.


For additional information about filing complaints through other governmental agencies, visit DOL.gov, EEOC.gov, or TWC.Texas.gov.


The Bible Seminary

Faculty Employment Policy


The Bible Seminary (TBS) exists to glorify God by training Christian believers in a context of biblical community in all 66 books of the Bible so they can serve the local church and fulfill the Great Commission by the power of God’s Spirit. A 501(c)(3) institution of higher education incorporated in the state of Texas in 2010, TBS offers curriculum that integrates studies of the Bible with standard historical, theological and practical disciplines critical to developing professional skills for ministry in the 21st century.  In conjunction with educationally integrated vocational experiences in local churches and ministries throughout our programs, TBS works to launch highly trained, biblically prepared ministry leaders into vibrant ministry worldwide to exponentially grow the Kingdom of God.  

The educational team employed to help carry out this mission includes full-time and part-time faculty with relevant education, experiences, knowledge and/or abilities beneficial for instructional purposes that align with the courses, certificates, and degrees offered by TBS.

TBS faculty titles include the designations of either “Professor” (persons who generally have an advanced degree, such as a D.Min. or Ph.D., in their subject area of teaching) or “Instructor” (persons without an advanced degree or with an advanced degree in process). Titles may also include the terms “Full-time” (persons employed full-time by TBS) or “Adjunct” (persons hired part-time by TBS as independent contractors).

Faculty employment is contingent upon presentation of satisfactory documentation of credentials, including an original transcript from the institution awarding the highest degree.

Faculty contracts or performance agreements include the following documents requiring signature agreement:

  • TBS Covenantal Documents – Purpose, Core Values, Doctrinal Statement, Ethos Statement, Academic Freedom Statement, Non-discriminatory Policy, and Philosophy of Education.

  • Course Development Addendum (if applicable)

  • Background Check Authorization Form

  • Payroll Information Form


Full-time and part-time faculty members are recruited, hired, and contracted at the discretion of the Provost and/or President. 


Full-time Faculty Policies and Procedures

1. Availability – Full-time faculty opportunities are advertised on the TBS web site and designated job boards.

2. Selection – Faculty applications are reviewed by a selection committee headed by the Provost. Applicants with appropriate credentials and academic and ministry experience may be interviewed by phone, then, if selected for further consideration, asked to submit a comprehensive questionnaire. Top candidates are invited for a personal interview (face-to-face or online). All active candidates are notified of their status in a timely manner throughout the process.

3. Hiring – The selection committee ranks the finalists and presents them to the President in the form of a recommendation. The President, at his discretion, may choose to personally interview the top candidate(s) prior to making a final decision. Once the President ratifies the recommendation, an offer is tendered to the candidate.

4. Remuneration – Remuneration reflects the education and academic and ministry experience of the faculty member. See the Payroll and Benefits Policy for more details.

5. Appointment – In the event that a faculty position must be filled due to an emergency such as death, illness, resignation, or firing, the Provost will recommend qualified and available applicants to the President for short-term hire as guest professor for a period not to exceed two years.


History

First issue: Version 1.0, October 1, 2018


6. Retention – Similar to all other TBS full-time employees, full-time faculty members are hired under a contract executed annually as one-year performance agreements. In the absence of offenses worthy of termination, as noted in #8 below, and assuming good annual evaluations and adequate finances to continue funding the position, faculty members are retained. TBS does not offer tenure to faculty members.

7. Advancement – Faculty members who perform their duties in an exemplary manner are eligible for advancement as TBS grows. For example, faculty members may be asked to serve as department heads or to fill administrative openings.

8. Dismissal – Faculty members who violate the TBS Covenantal Documents, including the Ethos Statement, may be subject to immediate dismissal. Faculty members may also be dismissed for unrepentant insubordination. Failure to demonstrate growth on performance concerns on faculty evaluations may also serve as grounds for dismissal or non-renewal of contract. Except under extreme circumstances, the Provost will inform a faculty member at least one month prior to the end of contract term if TBS does not plan to renew his or her contract.

9. Complaints and Grievances – Faculty members with complaints or grievances should follow policies and procedures outlined in the TBS Faculty Complaint Policy and TBS Grievance Policy.

10. Teaching Load – Full-time faculty members teach an average of four graduate-level courses per semester or the equivalent thereof. Two Bible Certificate courses equal one graduate course. Teaching loads may be reduced for faculty members who are assigned significant projects. Faculty members must obtain written administrative approval to teach courses for other colleges, universities, or seminaries.

11. Student Advising – Students should have access to faculty for academic and spiritual advising outside of actual class time. Faculty should maintain availability at least 15 minutes both before and after classes as a recommended minimum.  Additional time(s) of availability and contact information should be noted in course syllabi. Full-time faculty may utilize their own office space on campus or other available classrooms and library/conference room spaces.  Off-campus advisement is also acceptable, for instance at remote instructional or teaching sites, at another office or at restaurants or other establishments, provided all meetings in all circumstances abide by the TBS Ethos statement.

12. Faculty Association – Full-time faculty members comprise the Faculty Association and are eligible to serve as officers (see the Faculty Association Bylaws for details).

13. Personal, Professional, and Spiritual Development – (see the Continuing Education Reimbursement Policy for details).  



Part-time Adjunct Faculty Policies and Procedures

1. Availability – Part-time, adjunct opportunities are not generally advertised but recruited directly.

2. Remuneration – Remuneration reflects the education and academic and ministry experience of the faculty member. See the Payroll and Benefits Policy for more details.

  1. Institutional Role(s) and Responsibilities

    1. Adjunct faculty members will teach no more than 25% of graduate courses and 75% of certificate courses.

    2. Adjunct faculty members must attend an orientation session at least once each academic year and must follow all TBS policies.

    3. Adjunct faculty members serve as independently contracted employees whose rights and responsibilities are spelled out in their employment contracts.

5. Dismissal – Faculty members who violate the TBS Covenantal Documents, including the Ethos Statement, may be subject to immediate dismissal. Adjunct faculty members may also be dismissed for unrepentant insubordination. Failure to demonstrate growth on performance concerns on faculty evaluations may also serve as grounds for dismissal or non-renewal. Except under extreme circumstances, the Provost will inform a faculty member at least one month prior to the end of contract term if TBS does not plan to renew his or her contract.

6. Complaints and Grievances – Adjunct faculty members with complaints or grievances should follow policies and procedures outlined in the TBS Faculty Complaint Policy and TBS Grievance Policy.

7. Student Advising – Students should have access to adjunct faculty for academic and spiritual advising outside of actual class time. Adjunct faculty should maintain availability at least 15 minutes both before and after classes as a recommended minimum.  Additional time(s) of availability and contact information should be noted in course syllabi. Adjunct faculty may utilize campus office space as available or other available classrooms and library/conference room spaces.  Off-campus advisement is also acceptable, for instance at remote instructional or teaching sites, at another office or at restaurants or other establishments, provided all meetings in all circumstances abide by the TBS Ethos statement.

8. Faculty Association – Active Adjunct faculty members who have taught at least one course in the previous three semesters may participate on faculty committees and as voting members of the Faculty Association. Adjunct faculty members may not chair committees or hold offices.

9. Personal, Professional, and Spiritual Development – (see the Continuing Education Reimbursement Policy and Faculty Handbook for details).  


History

First Issue:  Version 1.0, October 1, 2018.


The Bible Seminary

Financial Aid Policy


Educational funding to support and sustain the mission of The Bible Seminary (TBS) derives primarily from student tuition and fees, scholarships, and donations. Students interested in receiving financial assistance to attend TBS can pursue one or more of the options outlined below.


Scholarships – The Bible Seminary is a 501(c)(3) institution of higher education incorporated in the state of Texas in 2010, and all donations are charitable and tax deductible as allowed by law. Donations to this fund help with student tuition, fees, and other educationally-related institutional expenses. Management of these funds follows policies, procedures and protocols stated in the TBS Financial Policy and TBS Fundraising Policy. As funds are donated to the general scholarship fund, they may be awarded to students who have applied and demonstrated financial need. The Business Office applies awarded funds to student accounts upon written notification of award from the TBS Scholarship Committee. TBS disseminates private scholarship information to students (e.g. Ed E. and Gladys Hurley Foundation). The TBS website, Student Catalog, and Student Handbook list scholarship opportunities and deadlines.


Employment – TBS will invite students with the appropriate skill sets to apply for part-time employment as jobs periodically become available.


Student Loans – TBS does not to participate in general federal or state grant or loan programs, although students may choose to seek personal loans at their own discretion.


Statement Regarding Student Loans

We realize that conventional educational philosophy – and the rising cost of education – has evolved to include the expectation that students will take out loans as part of their educational journey. However, The Bible Seminary does not encourage this practice. Our preference is to do all we can to help our students and their families commit to, journey through, and attain their degrees without incurring financial debt or undue financial obligations that would hinder their future ministry. If students desire to pursue loans for educational purposes, they may, but The Bible Seminary is not registered with the Federal Student loan program or any other governmental or business agency or entity offering these types of services.


Procurement Training – Resource procurement training is included as part of the graduate program and can offer additional assistance upon request. Students learn how to cultivate a support network by writing effective newsletters and appeals, as well as learn tools and resources for scholarship research and administering social media campaigns


Application Process


1. As a part of the application and enrollment process, students are made aware that limited scholarship funds are available for students who demonstrate financial need.  Scholarship applications will be made available to those students and an appropriate date for each semester will be set as a deadline for receiving completed applications.  Seminary staff will be available to meet with students as needed to assist in the process.

2. The TBS Scholarship Application is available in the TBS office and downloadable online at TheBibleSeminary.edu under “Admission – Financial Aid.” 

3. The completed application should be confidentially submitted to the Business Manager in either paper or electronic format to TBS office in a sealed envelope addressed to the “Business Manager,” mailed to “The Bible Seminary, Attn: Business Manager, 2655 S Mason Rd, Katy, TX 77450,” or emailed to Yamile.Soto@TheBibleSeminary.edu.


Approval Process

  1. The Business Manager will review applications for completeness and facilitate appropriate communication with students to resolve any missing information as needed.  

  2. Once the application deadline for the semester has passed, the Business Manager will compile all of the completed scholarship applications.  A semester Scholarship Review Schedule will also be prepared by the Business Manager.  This schedule will include a list of students applying, classes and corresponding tuition and fees for each student, individual and total unpaid balances and total funds available to be awarded.

  3. The Business Manager will provide a review package to each member of the scholarship committee which will include the student applications and the Scholarship Review Schedule in anticipation of a scheduled meeting of the Scholarship Team.  Each member of team will review the package and resolve any specific questions they might have before the team meets to make final scholarship award decisions.

  4. Upon receipt of the package from the Business Manager, the Coordinator or designee will review the admissions status and academic performance for each student. Awards may only be made to fully admitted and enrolled graduate students in good standing. Good standing is represented by a minimum GPA of 2.5 and ongoing progress toward a graduate degree. For those students who have no pending unpaid invoices for tuition, fees, and/or books for the current semester, the Coordinator or designee will determine if the student is expected to enroll in the upcoming semester as a condition for receiving an award.

  5. At the Scholarship Team meeting for each semester a determination will be made as to the amount of scholarship dollars to be awarded to each student which will be limited to the current balance in the Student Scholarship Fund.  This determination will be made based on the merits of needs at the discretion of the team.


Notification, Disbursement, and Refunds Process

  1. Students will be advised of awards by the Chair, Coordinator, or designee.  The Secretary will document the scholarships awarded and communicate to the Business Manager so that the awards are properly reflected in student financial accounts and the accounting records. Granting of awards will be recorded in the accounting records in the month the award is granted.  Scholarship awards to students will be off-set against amounts due on their student account.  

  2. If extraordinary circumstances dictate, students may be awarded a scholarship by the Scholarship Team outside the context of the formal meeting each semester if the same process is followed and documented.  This can be done in a face to face meeting or virtually via electronic communication.

  3. In no case will scholarship funds credited to a student’s account be repaid to a student upon withdrawal. These unused scholarship funds will be redirected back into the seminary scholarship fund for use by other students.


Scholarship Team


  1. Purpose – The Bible Seminary Scholarship Team is responsible for evaluating the financial needs of the students applying for a scholarship award and determining the appropriate allocation of available scholarship funds to be awarded to each of the students in the applicant pool. 


  1. Membership

    • Dr. K. Lynn Lewis, President – Chair

    • Dr. Scott Stripling, Provost – Coordinator

    • Rick McCalip, VP-Finance & Admin – Secretary


3. Quorum – For purposes of approving a scholarship, a quorum of the team is a minimum of two members.  The Secretary is primarily responsible for recording the results of the meeting, but any member of the team can do so in the absence of the Secretary.



History


First issue: October 1, 2018


The Bible Seminary

Financial Policy


The following are the Financial Policies and procedures of The Bible Seminary.  They have been reviewed and approved by the Board of Trustees. They will be periodically updated to reflect improvements and comments from the Finance and Investment Committee (refer to Section H).  These policies and procedures must be observed by everyone involved in the finances of The Bible Seminary.  Any exceptions to these policies and procedures must be approved by the Board of Trustees (refer to Attachment E).  Deviations from these policies and procedures are to be reported to the Board of Trustees immediately.  The primary Board of Trustees contact concerning these policies and procedures is the Secretary/Treasurer.


Responsibilities noted and positions referenced in these policies identify the primary assignment of responsibility for the applicable issues.  These responsibilities may be further delegated to others in the organization by approval of the Board of Trustees.

The body of this document is intended to contain primarily the policies and to be relatively constant.  The Appendices contain procedural details, which may periodically change.

 


1) Accounting of Funds – General


a) Responsibilities.  The Board of Trustees is responsible for the financial policies and the oversight of financial procedures at The Bible Seminary as defined in the Bylaws.  The CFO has the oversight responsibilities for keeping complete and accurate records of account, showing at all times the financial condition of the seminary, as outlined in the Bylaws.  The CFO is also the custodian of the financial resources in the seminary’s possession.  The CFO delegates the daily financial operations to the Finance Manager of the seminary.


b) Operations.  The Finance Manager will follow the financial policies and procedures set by the Finance and Investment Committee as well as generally accepted accounting policies in the seminary’s daily operations.  He/she will make any recommendations for improvements or required changes to the Finance and Investment Committee.  The Bible Seminary uses QuickBooks General Ledger to record the accounting of The Bible Seminary’s funds and operates on both cash (for available cash) and accrual (for pledged donations) accounting basis.  An Income Statement and Balance Sheet are prepared annually and upon request by the Board of Trustees.  Both a General Operating Fund and Investment Funds are maintained.  Other Funds may be kept as appropriate, determined by the CFO and approved by the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees.


c) Funds and Chart of Accounts.  The Seminary’s books must show the detail required to provide meaningful financial information in managing and stewarding the finances of the seminary.  The Finance and Investment Committee will periodically need to review the Chart of Accounts.  The current Chart of Accounts is available from the Finance Manager.


d) Separation of Responsibilities.  It is intended to separate the responsibilities of those who are handling receipt of funds and those who are approving expenditures of funds. While these responsibilities may be rotated periodically, no individual should have simultaneous responsibilities for both handling receipts and disbursing funds.  Checks are required to have two signatures in certain circumstances.  (Please refer to Attachment “A”).


e) Auditing of Financial Records.  The Bible Seminary seeks to achieve a record of the highest financial integrity.  To accomplish this, it is the intent of The Bible Seminary to undertake an annual audit as soon as is reasonable each year by an outside Certified Public Accountant.  The objective is to perform an unbiased, comprehensive review of the seminary’s financial records.  Audits are to be conducted in a manner that provides the Corporation confidence financial matters are being handled responsibly.  The annual audit is to be scheduled soon after the closing of books for each fiscal year and in advance of preparing each year’s annual tax Form 990 filings. The Seminary’s fiscal year end is May 31st.


Revised: July 23, 2021 – Removed VA participation


i) The Audit Committee is responsible for recommending an independent auditing firm to the Board of Trustees and oversees the annual audit. Periodically the Audit Committee will obtain two or more independent bids, inclusive of a bid from a previously approved audit firm or Certified Public Accountant, and from an additional Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or CPA firm for the annual audit and Federal tax compliance work. Obtaining competitive bids are for the purpose of seeking to provide quality CPA services at market rates.


2) Budgeting


a) Purpose.  An annual forecast of income and expenditures will be prepared by the CFO for each fiscal year.  The budget will be utilized to manage and control both operating and capital expenditures.


b) Content.  The budget shall be segmented into sufficient line item detail to provide appropriate management and control.  The budget shall be broken down into monthly increments. The budget shall include all capital expenditures including management fees associated with the management of capital items. The budget will clearly delineate operating expenditures and capital expenditures.


c) Responsibility.  The CFO is responsible for monitoring, forecasting, and timely communication of the seminary’s financial status to the Board of Trustees relative to an approved budget.  The CFO is responsible for developing and proposing a preliminary budget to the Board of Trustees. The budget in turn is recommended for approval at the annual Board Meeting.  Each line item in the budget shall have a designated steward, called the Cost Steward, responsible for managing and forecasting expenditures for that line item.


d) Budget Preparation Process.


i) Cost Stewards of individual line items develop a forecast of expenditure requirements for the upcoming fiscal year.  These requirements are consolidated by the Finance Manager.


ii) The CFO shall forecast income based on input from department leaders, such as the VP of student affairs and the VP of Development and Communications.  From these forecasts and proposals a preliminary budget will be assembled and proposed to the Board of Trustees by the CFO.  


iii) Board of Trustees approval is required for the annual budget.


e) Revisions.  Budget revisions shall be reviewed and approved by the President before being presented to the Board of Trustees for approval.


f) Reporting.  Expenditures will be compiled and compared to the budget by the Finance Manager.  These reports will be provided to the President monthly and will be reviewed annually, or more often as requested, by the Board of Trustees.


3) Bank Accounts


a) The Bible Seminary shall maintain an “Operating Bank Account” with a local bank (please refer to Attachment “B”).  Banking arrangements shall be under the sole jurisdiction of the Board of Trustees and managed according to the approved guidelines specified in Attachment “B”.  Any bank with whom The Bible Seminary conducts business must be FDIC insured.  Other financial institutions holding The Bible Seminary funds must be either insured (by FDIC, SIPC, or other appropriate agency) or related to the United Methodist Church (i.e. the Texas Methodist Foundation).


b) Signature Authority.  The distribution of funds from the bank account shall require two signatures in certain circumstances (defined in Attachment “A”).  Signatory powers will be entrusted to the Chairperson, Vice Chairperson, Secretary/Treasurer of the Board of Trustees, and any other individuals specifically designated by the Board of Trustees.  



c) Bank Account Reconciliation.  Bank account reconciliations must be performed monthly as soon as the bank statement is received.  While the reconciliation may be initially performed by the Finance Manager, or designated persons, reconciliation will be confirmed by the CFO, a designated third party (contract) accountant, or a Board of Trustees member who does not have check signing authority or has not signed any check during the month being reconciled.  


4) Donations


a) Cash donations, checks, or cash received during the week are to be deposited within a week of being received or as quickly as possible. All cash donations received shall be placed into the Operating Bank Accounts. (Please refer to Attachment “B”).


b) Non-cash donations received in the form of stocks or bonds are to be received into The Investment Account. The securities should be sold as soon as practical, but not later than the next business day after being received into the Investment Account. Upon receipt of funds into the Investment Account cash should be transferred to the Operating Accounts or other insured accounts. Any exceptions shall be reviewed and approved by the Board Chairperson and Secretary/Treasurer. (Please refer to Attachment “C”).


c) Individual donation statements will be provided at least annually to named donors, by January 31, for the previous calendar year.


5) Expenditure of Funds


a) Expenditures incurred in the operation of TBS are approved and paid depending upon their size and nature. 


b) Authority for Expenditures. The President and Finance Manager are authorized to approve expenditures as long as expenditures are included in the current approved budget. Extraordinary expenditures and cost overruns that exceed the lesser of ten percent (10%) per line item or $6,000.00, not included in the current approved budget must have the approval of the Board of Trustees. 


c) Contracts and Agreements. The President and Finance Manager have the authority to approve short term financial commitments through contracts and agreements, so long as the expenditures are approved in the current budget. (See Attachment “D” for guidelines). 


d) Capital Transactions. The Board of Trustees retains the authority to approve or disapprove the purchases, sale, disposal and management of all capital expenditures, including land, buildings and other real property.  For the purpose of maintaining appropriate records and depreciation accounting, expenditures in excess of $1,000 resulting in direct ownership by The Bible Seminary of furniture, fixtures, equipment, software, leasehold improvements, etc., that have a useful life in excess of one year will be capitalized.   Per Item B. 2. above, capital expenditures and depreciation will be separately stated in the annual budget.


e) Financial Reserve.  The CFO shall designate balances in one or more bank or investment accounts, providing a minimum cash reserve.  This reserve shall be in the amount of 10% of the currently approved budget.  In the event that the reserve must be expended for continuing operations, the President and CFO will immediately implement a plan of curtailment of discretionary expenses, protecting available cash for use in satisfying requirements for salary and benefits, rent, utilities, and basic educational operations.  When fundraising and income become adequate for resumption of normal expenditures, the President and CFO shall implement a plan to restore the minimum financial reserve to the specified minimum balance, while protecting ongoing operations.


6) Notes Payable and Long-Term Debt


The Board of Trustees retains the authority to approve or disapprove the incurrence of debt.



7) Annual Tax Filings


The CFO, or assignee, is responsible for the timely filing of the annual 990 tax report with the Internal Revenue Service. The CFO, and or assignee, is responsible for the timely compliance and filing of all federal, state and local tax matters. 



8) Periodic Review and Revision


a) The original documentation of these policies and procedures was prepared cooperatively by representatives of the Board of Trustees, the CFO, and Finance Manager.


b) Annually, in conjunction with the annual financial audit, the Finance Manager shall coordinate a review of these policies and procedures, identifying any recommended revisions.  Those revisions are to be reviewed by the CFO and provided to the Finance and Investment Committee.  Final revisions are to be approved by the Board of Trustees, at the direction of the Finance and Investment Committee.


History:


First Issue: Approved April 2, 2012, effective June 1, 2012 - Noted final draft corrections include expected timing of annual audit and reassigned responsibility for tax and other filings from the Secretary/Treasurer to the CFO.  Added requirement to request Board approval of expenditures exceeding budget by 10% for any single line item or $6,000, whichever is less.


Revised: April 30, 2012 - Added reference to Attachment E in the introductory text.  Added Attachment E as documentation of approved exceptions.


Revised: August 5, 2012 - Amended Section E3 to include the threshold and definition of capital expenditures.


Revised:  November 27, 2012 – Added item (3) to Attachment E, authorizing single signature check payments for medical and dental insurance monthly premiums.


Revised:  September 29, 2013 – Approved an amendment to Attachment E, extending the previous monthly office and classroom rental check single signature approval to include Suite 250.


Revised:  June 20, 2015 – Added Section 5(e), providing for a financial reserve.


Attachment “A”


Signature Authority


Signature authority for any bank account should be confirmed through a resolution by the Board of Trustees. The distribution of non-pay roll funds in excess of $3,000.00 shall always require two signatures. Authorized signature authority is entrusted to the Chairperson, Vice Chairperson, Secretary/Treasurer of the Board of Trustees, and any other individuals specifically designated by the Board of Trustees. 


Attachment “B”


Guideline for Managing Bank Accounts


The Bible Seminary shall maintain “Operating Bank Accounts” for basic seminary financial operations. These bank account arrangements will be with a local bank, (currently Amegy). 


The Bible Seminary shall maintain “Investment Accounts” for the purpose of holding funds used for capital expenditures and other expenditures as approved by the Board. An Investment Account relationship has been established with Ameriprise. 


The Secretary/Treasurer is authorized to deposit no more than $250,000.00 in the Methodist Loan Fund at Texas Methodist Foundation plus any accrued interest earned on the maximum principal deposit. 


The Secretary/Treasurer is authorized to deposit no more than the maximum FDIC insured amount in any single bank or SPIC insured amount in any brokerage firm. 


Attachment “C”



Procedure for Handling Receipt of Marketable Securities



TBS accepts gifts of marketable securities.  


1) The donor may transfer stock directly from his/her account to the Seminary brokerage account.


2) For physical stock certificates, the donor must sign the back of the security assigning it to TBS and provide the date.  They must obtain a signature guarantee from a bank on the certificate or notarize it, as necessary.  It is preferable to also include a dated transmittal letter stating to whom you are giving the security.  The donor can have their signature guarantee on the transmittal letter rather than the security if they prefer.  The donor must be sure to sign the certificate and the transmittal letter exactly as the ownership stated on the certificate.  These documents should be mailed to the Seminary or given to the Seminary office.


3) The Finance Manager will issue an acceptance letter and provide it along with the security to the broker.  An order will be given to sell the security.  Our intent is that the broker will provide funds to the seminary within about a week after the sale.


4) The specifics of a marketable security gift are to be made to the Finance Manager and all paperwork directed to him/her.  The Finance Manger will log it in and follow the usual recording procedures that list the details of the marketable security.  When the check comes in from the broker, the check will be deposited and matched up to the corresponding details of the security in the original entry.



5) The Finance Manager will provide the donor with a contribution statement which will include the following:


Name of security

CUSIP of the security

Number of shares

Date of gift


        This information is provided to the donor as support for their gift for tax reporting purposes.


6) The donor’s statement will show the net amount after brokerage fees which the seminary received.  The purpose for including the net amount on the statement is to inform the donor of progress toward his/her estimated giving goal.


Attachment “D”


Purchasing and Contracting Procedures


This attachment provides the procedures adopted by the Board for purchasing items for TBS and for contracting services. Purchases or contracts for TBS  must follow these procedures. Representatives of the Seminary must always follow the highest ethical standards. Tax exemptions on purchases should be sought wherever possible. These policies need to be reviewed by the Finance and Investment Committee periodically to insure that they are applicable and current. 


1) Purchases


Purchases of equipment, material, or other items must be included in the current budget approved by the Board.  Individual purchases in excess of $6,000 require written approval of the President.


a)  Ethics  

TBS must maintain the highest ethical standards in dealing with its vendors and contractors. Bids from one vendor/contractor must never be disclosed to another. Whenever there is a potential conflict of interest on an item or business, the Cost Steward will put a memo in their file with a copy to the CFO.


  1. b) Exemption from Sales Tax 

On all purchases cost stewards should seek to get exemptions from state sales tax. Forms are available in the Seminary’s office for exemptions. While it is recognized that it may be difficult or inconvenient to get this exemption in all cases, any purchase of $100 or more should have the exemption, or a memo should be put in the Cost Steward’s file stating the circumstances.   


2) Contract for Services


a) The same procedures for purchases apply to the contracting of services.


b) Contracted services longer than one year and up to three years require written approval of the President.  Contracted services longer than three years require the approval of the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees. 


c) An independent contractor must provide a signed IRS Form W-9 which includes the Employer Identification Number (EIN) or Social Security Number (SSN). Completed Form W-9’s are kept on file by the Seminary and used to prepare a 1099 to report income at calendar year end.


Attachment “E”


Approved Exceptions to Policies and Procedures


The following specific exceptions have been approved by the Board of Trustees:


1) Additional Signature Authority


Lynn Lewis has signature authority to the checking account of The Bible Seminary.  This exception was approved at the January 24, 2012, Board meeting and will remain in force until otherwise rescinded.


2) Rental Payments to the Great Southwest Equestrian Center


The Bible Seminary has executed rental agreements for Suites 263 (administrative offices), 250 (classroom/offices), and 270 (classroom) from The Great Southwest Equestrian Center.  Total monthly rent payments exceed $3,000.  The check for these monthly payments, in the amount specified by the rental agreements, is approved by the Board of Directors for execution by one authorized signer.  The original exception for Suites 263 and 270 was approved by the Board of Directors as of April 30, 2012, and is effective through the basic and any optional extended terms of the applicable agreements.  This exception is extended also to include Suite 250, leased as of July 15, 2013, and is effective through the basic and any optional extended terms of the applicable agreement.


3) Medical/Dental Health Care Premium Payments


The Bible Seminary has established a contract with Health Care Service Corporation (Blue Cross and Blue Shield) for medical and dental insurance for full time employees.  Beginning in January 2013,  the total monthly premium payments, which include both employee and employer payments, will require a single monthly check in excess of $3,000.  The check for each of these monthly payments, in the amount specified by the insurance provider, is approved by the Board of Directors for execution by one authorized signer.  The exception is approved by the Board of Directors as of November 27, 2012, and is effective until revoked or amended in writing.


The Bible Seminary

Fundraising Policy


Introduction

The Bible Seminary (TBS) is an independent, non-denominational, 501(c)(3) charitable institution of higher education incorporated in Texas in 2010 to offer training for laity and vocational ministry professionals. The mission of TBS is to glorify God by training Christian believers in a context of biblical community in all 66 books of the Bible so that they can serve the local church and fulfill the Great Commission by the power of God’s Spirit. All donations solicited on behalf of TBS shall be used to further this mission and follow the policies and procedures outlined below.


General Fundraising Policy

TBS received approval as an IRS 501(c)(3) charitable organization on August 8, 2010 registered under Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN) #27-2190032. As a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, contributions made to TBS are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law. 

1. Funds shall be solicited in a respectful manner and without pressure.

2. Donor designated restrictions on contributions shall be honored.

3. Written tax receipts shall be issued for all donations.

4. If the donor receives anything in exchange for their donation, such as a dinner or event admission, the tax receipt shall clearly state what portion of the donation is tax deductible.

5. All third parties not directly affiliated with The Bible Seminary who wish to solicit funds on behalf of the organization must acquire written permission from TBS President prior to beginning any fundraising activities.

 

Donor Acknowledgements

1. Acknowledge all gifts within three business days using appropriate thank-you letters based on the gift level.

2. If no goods or services were provided in exchange for the gift, receipts should include the following note:


TAX CONSIDERATIONS:

  • The Bible Seminary is a 501(c)(3) institution of higher education incorporated in Texas 2010.

  • Your donation is tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.

  • No goods or services were provided in exchange for your gift.

  • IRS form 8283 is required for all noncash donations in excess of $500.

  • The seminary is not able to accept scholarship donations for the direct benefit of an individual student. 

  • Designated giving to the Scholarship Fund will be awarded based on scholarship committee guidelines to eligible students.

3. If a good or service was received, the acknowledgement must inform the donor of its fair market value in order for the donor to know the tax-deductible portion of the contribution. For example, “In exchange for your contribution of $500, you received a book with an estimated fair market value of $75, so $425 may be treated as a charitable donation.”

4. The Board chair will send an additional thank-you letter to donors of annual giving of $5,000 or more.


Donor Privacy Policy

1. Any information supplied to TBS by donors will be used solely to fulfill their donation and shall not be shared for any reason unless permission is granted by the donor to share such information.

2. All requests to remain anonymous shall be honored.

3. TBS does not sell or share donor lists.

4. Donors who supply TBS with their postal address or email address may be contacted periodically for solicitation purposes and/or with information regarding upcoming events.

5. Donors may request to be permanently removed from the mailing list by contacting us via email, phone or postal mail. All requests to be removed from the TBS mailing list shall be honored.

6. Donors who supply TBS with their telephone number may request that they not be contacted by telephone for fundraising purposes.


Gift-Entry and Recording Policy and Procedure

1. Send all checks to the business department for recording, accounting and depositing.

2. Update donor information in the database if the information on the check, response form, online payment receipt is different. If the system provides functionality to do so, note the date of change in the record.

3. Record gifts according to the donor’s intended use, i.e. unrestricted, restricted (specific program or project), endowment, etc.

4. Record in the system the source of the gift if received as a result of a specific initiative, i.e. direct-mail appeal, special event, personal solicitation, etc.

5. Acknowledge all gifts within one week using appropriate thank-you letters based on the gift level.


Gift Acceptance Policies and Procedures


1. Overview

a. Board Commitment: It is the policy of the TBS Board to offer the donor the opportunity to make gifts to the seminary, both of cash and non-cash assets (current and deferred), in a manner beneficial to the donor while protecting the fiscal, legal and missional integrity of the seminary. It is also the policy of the Board to give the opportunity to the donor to make gifts reserving life income for the donor and other beneficiaries through their wills or through current giving. This Board is committed to seeking such gifts and to provide adequate staff and resources for a full and effective program.

b. Ethics in Receiving Gifts: This Board authorizes the acceptance of gifts to TBS only where there is genuine donative intent, where there has been full disclosure between the donor and TBS, including to the best of the seminary's ability, disclosure of tax or other ramifications to the donor. The donor is encouraged to seek his/her own counsel on legal, tax and financial matters.

c. The Fundraising Code of Ethical Pursuit: The fundraising activities of TBS and its authorized agents shall be conducted in a manner that complies with the ethical standards and professional practices approved by the following organizations:


  • Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE)

  • Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA)

  • Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS)


d. Gift Acceptance and Valuing Authority: This Board authorizes the Office of the President, the Vice-President of Finance and Administration, and the Business Office to accept gifts on behalf of TBS. Full responsibility rests on the donor for claiming any deductions on their personal income tax return including filing IRS form 8283, and any appraisals or other documentation. Full responsibility also rests on the donor for the value given for any non-cash property gift.


1. Solicitation and Cultivation of Gifts


a. Approach: When dealing with prospective donors, TBS shall seek only to inform, serve, guide and assist the donor with fulfilling his or her charitable desires.


b. Tax-Exempt Status: TBS shall not accept any gift that would improperly inure to the benefit of any donor or in a manner that would jeopardize the tax-exempt status of the seminary as determined upon the advice of counsel.


c. Authorized Representative: Only authorized representatives of TBS shall present to a donor a current, restricted or deferred gift proposal as part of the seminary's fund raising program. All proposals shall be in accordance with the guidelines and policies approved by the Board.


d. Review of Gift: The Board authorizes the Office of the President, the Vice-President of Finance and Administration, and the Business Office to carefully scrutinize gifts to TBS, including any property that may subject TBS to liability or risk.


e. Confidentiality: All information concerning donors including names and addresses, names of beneficiaries, nature and value of their assets and estates and the amounts of any potential or completed gifts and other details gathered by TBS shall be kept in strict confidence.


f. Conflict of Interest: The interest of the donor is of greatest concern. No agreement shall be made between TBS and any agency, person, company or organization on any matter related to investment, management or otherwise which would knowingly jeopardize the interests of the donor.


g. Legal Advice: Prospective donors shall be advised to consult with their attorney and/or financial advisor in all matters related to deferred gift instruments including the tax implications and estate planning aspects of a potential gift. TBS may make available upon request, technical assistance to the donors including (a) meetings with authorized seminary representatives to discuss the various methods available to the donor for making a charitable gift to the seminary, and (b) presentation of draft documents for the donor to review with his or her own attorney and/or financial advisor. TBS counsel may prepare suggested language pertinent to a bequest or planned gift to be submitted to the donor's attorney for inclusion in the donor's will or codicil or draft of a trust, annuity or other document for review by the donor's attorney. TBS shall inform the donor of the requirement for an appraisal of non-cash contributions, as needed, and that TBS must notify the IRS if the donated item is sold, exchanged or otherwise disposed of within two years of receipt on IRS Form 8282.


2. Acceptance Policies by Type of Property

a. Cash and Traded Securities: Cash and publicly-traded securities (traded on a recognized stock exchange) are the most desirable form of gifts as they are liquid and do not present issues of potential liability. Listed securities, or securities actively traded over-the-counter are acceptable with no minimum amount.


b. Closely-Held Stock: Gifts of closely-held stock shall be reviewed by the Business Office due to their inherent illiquid nature. As part of the review process and prior to acceptance, information concerning the likelihood of a redemption by the company and a qualified appraisal must be presented by the donor. Securities in closely held corporations, S corporations, or otherwise privately held securities are acceptable upon the approval of the majority of the President, Vice-President of Finance and Administration, and Business Manager.


c. Real Estate: Gift of real property may be accepted in accordance with the policies and procedures established by TBS counsel. Full interest, partial interests and remainder interests in real property may be acceptable. Remainder interests are contracts. In the case of such gifts, the donor shall be expected to agree to pay all property taxes, maintain the property and provide adequate insurance on the property. Conditions for acceptance shall include salability, an environmental assessment and annual maintenance costs including evaluation of any liens against the property and any real estate taxes. Donor may be asked to sign a statement regarding liability for previous and current environmental or other conditions if the seminary deems it appropriate.


Tangible Personal Property: Gifts of tangible personal property are acceptable with no minimum. Conditions for accepting gifts include salability or as-is usability and current seminary needs for the type 


a. of property offered, physical condition of the property, cost of any storage or insurance and any other unusual feature or condition involved in the transfer.


b. Insurance: Gifts by contract, particularly life insurance, through which TBS will receive a future benefit are acceptable, so long as TBS is not required to expend funds from sources other than the donor to maintain the contract. TBS may be named as a remainder beneficiary on the insurance contract to maintain the contract. Paid-up policies, in which TBS is the owner and irrevocable beneficiary, require little administration, contain a cash value and provide a guarantee of payment of death benefits, are acceptable with no minimum and should be encouraged.


c. Retirement Plans: Gifts of outright cash and marketable securities in a retirement account are encouraged and accepted. In the event closely-held stock or property other than cash or marketable securities are held in retirement accounts, TBS shall adhere to the policies for such assets.


d. Other Assets and Forms Gifts May Take: Other types of gifts not mentioned in this policy may be acceptable within reason for the purposes given, and in an amount appropriate for the gift type. The Business Office is expected to use fiscally and legally sound rationale for acceptance, be guided by the TBS mission statement and defer to the Finance Committee of the Board when appropriate.


1. Endowed Funds


a. General Guidelines: TBS encourages donors to establish permanent endowed funds and accepts unrestricted endowed funds, preferred use endowed funds and restricted endowed funds.


i. Restricted endowments must contain the following language: "Should the provisions for the use of the income from this endowment cease to be effective or practicable, the Board of Trustees is authorized to use such income in a manner consistent with the general intent of such provisions."


ii. Establishing a different term of years to endow a fund is permitted when approved by the Office of the President in consultation with the Vice-President of Finance and Administration and Business Manager.


b. Endowed Scholarships: Endowed scholarships may be established with a minimum gift of $25,000. Cash and cash equivalent gifts below the minimum, which are designated for scholarships, will be placed in the general scholarship fund unless the donor designates a pre-existing scholarship.


i. Donors may accumulate gifts toward minimum funding of an endowed scholarship with a gift of one-fourth the required minimum and a signed scholarship agreement. Accumulations toward the minimum must be completed within five years from the date of the agreement. When accumulation is not completed, the agreement will be considered terminated, and gift amounts received will be placed in the Seminary's general endowed scholarship fund or an appropriate designated fund.


ii. Scholarship payments to qualified student recipients will not be made until the minimum principal amount for the endowment has been achieved, the scholarship agreement is signed and approved by the Gift Acceptance Committee and sufficient income has been generated for distribution, which is at least one full year after the minimum principal amount has been received. Donors accumulating gifts toward minimums may provide for an annual stipend in the agreement when that stipend is supported by an annual gift.


iii. Scholarships may be established with testamentary or planned gifts. Scholarship monies received by the Seminary through a will or other planned gift, which is less than the required minimum funding at the time of distribution, will be placed in the Seminary's general endowed scholarship fund, unless legally impossible, in which case the Seminary reserves the right to decline the gift.


iv. Scholarship agreements shall be signed by the donor and Vice President for Advancement and Communications, Vice President for Finance and Administration or the President.


a. Endowed Academic Chairs: Endowed chairs may be established with minimum funding negotiated with TBS as determined by the Board, considering the purpose of the chair, the program it will support and the amount of income desired to be generated annually, but with no less than $2 million.


i. Donors may accumulate gifts toward an endowed chair with a gift of one-fourth the required minimum and a signed agreement. The agreement must specify the date within which minimum funding must be completed. Unless otherwise specified, where accumulation is not completed within five  years, the agreement will be considered terminated, and gift amounts received will remain in the seminary's general endowment fund and be used for the program named in the endowed chair agreement while that program is extant.


ii. Endowed chairs may be established with testamentary or planned gifts. Chair monies received by TBS through a will or other planned gift, which is less than half of the fully funded amount at the time of distribution, will be placed in the seminary's general endowment fund and be used for the program named in the endowed chair agreement while that program is extant.


iii. Endowed chair agreements shall be signed by the donor and by the President and show the date on which the gift was approved.


b. Endowed Academic Programs/School: Endowed programs may be established with a minimum funding, as negotiated with TBS and based on the amount of income desired to be generated annually.


i. Donors may accumulate gifts toward an endowed program with a gift of one-fourth the required minimum and a signed agreement. The agreement must specify the date within which minimum funding must be completed. Unless otherwise specified, where accumulation is not completed within five years, the agreement will be considered terminated, and gift amounts received will be placed in the seminary's general endowment fund and be used for the program named while that program is extant.


ii. It is preferred that endowed programs not be initiated with testamentary or planned gifts. TBS and donors should fund only viable programs that merit long-term endowment, and this should be done during the life of the donor. Donors are encouraged to fund endowed programs through testamentary gifts once the endowment is established. Exceptions to this policy may be reviewed by the President and subject to final approval by the Finance Committee.


iii. Endowment program agreements shall be signed by the donor and by the President and show the date on which the gift was approved.


c. Other Endowed Funds: Unrestricted endowed funds, and other restricted endowed funds may be established with a minimum of $25,000.


i. Donors may accumulate gifts toward minimum funding of an endowed fund with a gift of one-fourth the required minimum and a signed agreement. Accumulations toward the minimum must be completed within five years from the date of the agreement. When accumulation is not completed within the specified time period, the agreement will be considered terminated, and gift amounts received will be placed in the Seminary's general endowment fund.


ii. Payments to recipient purpose/program will not be made until the minimum ($25,000) for the endowment has been received, the endowment agreement is signed and approved by the Gift Acceptance Committee, and sufficient income has been generated for distribution, which is generally at least one full year after the minimum principal amount has been received.


iii. Endowed funds may be established with testamentary or planned gifts. Scholarship monies received by TBS through a will or other planned gift, which is less than the required minimum funding at the time of distribution, will be placed in the Seminary's general endowment fund, unless legally impossible. Endowed fund agreements shall be signed shall be signed by the donor and Vice President for Advancement and Communications, Vice President for Finance and Administration or the President.


5. Receipting of Cash Gifts


a. Gifts of cash and marketable securities will be receipted when received according to standard IRS. Gifts of cash and marketable securities of $250 or more must be acknowledged, by receipt, in accordance with the requirements of section 170(f)(8) of the Internal Revenue Service Code.


b. Insurance premiums paid to the issuing firm by the donor of a TBS-owned policy may be considered cash gifts and will be entered into the donor's record. A gift receipt need not be issued unless the premium payment is $250 or more, in which case a donor acknowledgment, meeting the requirements of section 170(f)(8) of the Internal Revenue Service Code will be issued. TBS will not allow charitable split dollar life insurance arrangements (i.e. personal benefit contracts).


c. The funding of charitable remainder annuity trusts and charitable remainder unitrusts is the only exception to this receipting policy; however, this receipting policy does apply to the funding of charitable gift annuities and charitable lead trusts. While no receipt need be issued to the donor of a charitable remainder annuity trust or charitable remainder unitrust, the amount of the assets contributed to the trust may be recorded in the donor's gift history at the remainder interest value at the time the annuity and/or trust is funded.


6. Restricted Current Gifts


a. Cash and Securities – TBS will accept current gifts to establish a restricted fund.


b. Non-Cash Gifts – Once accepted under this policy, non-cash gifts may be restricted under the same guidelines as cash and securities. Donors must be advised before making the gift whether the gift will be sold, held for eventual use, or put to a "related use" as defined by the Internal Revenue Code.


7. Restricted Deferred Gifts


a. Estate/Testamentary Gifts (wills, trusts, life insurance and other instruments): TBS will encourage gifts of unrestricted estate distributions to the endowment fund, since specific designations may become inactive or non-existent over time. TBS reserves the right to decline restricted estate gifts in collaboration with the Finance Committee.


i. Upon the donor's request, TBS will provide language to assist in establishing a restricted estate gift. The sample language may include the following: "This designation represents a preferred use for these funds and is not an absolute restriction. Should the exact designation cease to be effective or practicable before or after the gift is received by TBS, the Board is authorized to use this gift in an alternative way consistent with the general intent of this designation."


ii. Gifts received where TBS had no prior knowledge of the amount or nature of the gift will be treated as if the language above had been included, unless legally prohibitive. These types of gifts will be placed in the unrestricted fund, if the restriction no longer exists.


b. Other Planned Gifts (charitable remainder trusts, gift annuities, pooled income fund gifts, etc.): Gifts established through the planned giving program at TBS may be restricted with the approval of the Vice-President of Finance and Administration.


i. Acceptance will rely in part on the inclusion of the language in the instrument which reads: "This designation represents a preferred use for these funds and is not an absolute restriction. Should the exact designation cease to be effective or practicable before or after the gift is received by TBS, the Board is authorized to use this gift in an alternative way consistent with the general intent of this designation."


ii. Gifts distributed to TBS where the seminary had no prior knowledge of the gift instrument or its restriction will be handled on a case-by-case basis. TBS reserves the right to decline restricted estate gifts in collaboration with the Finance Committee.


8. Naming Opportunities


a. Authority to Name: The Board shall approve all prospective naming opportunities (i.e. buildings, academic chairs, etc.) prior to any solicitation or acknowledgement in association with charitable gifts. If opportunities are approved, the Office of the President is granted authority to solicit and confirm those opportunities with potential donors.


b. Naming New Construction: Negotiations may be initiated by the Office of the President with donors who wish to name the building(s) of new construction with a current gift of at least fifty percent of the construction cost announced at the beginning of a campaign or construction project.


c. Other: As a visible record of institutional history, TBS may desire to place a name on a campus building, a facility, or a special project to honor/memorialize the most significant servant leaders and donors.


d. Process: When appropriate the President shall present at a meeting of the Board a recommended list of current or proposed buildings, facilities or special projects appropriate for naming. The naming authority, the adoption of the recommended list, with yearly priorities, and the interpretations of the following guidelines shall be the sole responsibility of the TBS Board. The motion to name one of the listed projects may occur at any Board of Trustees meeting.


9. Naming Through Planned Gifts:


a. General Policy – TBS reserves naming opportunities for current gifts and living donors. Use of a testamentary or planned gift to name property is not preferred, but will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Unless legally impossible, TBS will treat testamentary or planned gifts with naming elements as a request. TBS will consider the request at the final distribution of the gift when the name is appropriate, and where the gift meets minimum funding for the naming opportunity at the time of distribution. TBS reserves the right to decline gifts with naming restrictions.


b. Campaign Policy – Donors wishing to name an opportunity during a campaign may use the present value of a planned gift only if a) the gift is established during the campaign in which planned gifts are counted, b) the gift is irrevocable, c) the seminary is given a copy of the gift instrument, and d) the present value of the gift equals the minimum funding amount for the naming opportunity.


c. Honorary Naming: TBS reserves the right to honor, through appropriate naming opportunities, any individual or family irrespective of the individual's or family's giving record. Such honors will generally be made after the completion of their service or posthumously and must be recommended by the President and approved by the Board.


10. TBS Sponsored Special Events


a. Fundraising events sponsored by TBS must net at least 50% of gross income. Proceeds of TBS sponsored events must support TBS identified needs and be approved by the Board of Directors.


b. TBS will provide clear communication to event guests regarding IRS regulations that limit the charitable deduction amount to only a portion of the ticket price.


c. All TBS sponsored events must be evaluated for determination of continued offering.


11. Policy Exceptions


a. General Exceptions: Exceptions to this policy must receive the recommendation of the Gift Acceptance Committee, the Development Committee of the Board of Trustees and the Advancement Team of the Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees shall be asked to ratify the Gift Acceptance Committee's recommendations at the next regular Board meeting.


b. Exceptions for Completed Gifts and Gifts Under Negotiation: Gifts made through estate plans that have been properly executed prior to the date of this policy and gifts already received by TBS are grandfathered in under this policy.


c. Reviewing Gifts for Conformity: Gifts established with a written agreement shall be reviewed periodically and action taken to conform the gift agreement to current law and Seminary policy when necessary or appropriate for the well-being of the Seminary. Donors are responsible for conforming gifts where the Seminary is not the trustee or gift manager.


Designated Authority


The TBS Board of Trustees has final authority for these guidelines. 


1. Authority to Negotiate: The Board authorizes the following to negotiate and accept gifts on behalf of the Seminary: President, Vice-President of Finance and Administration, Provost, Business Manager, and full-time faculty.


a. The above may delegate his/her authority on a particular gift or during a particular campaign to a staff member, agent or volunteer for purposes of negotiation. The officer will assume full responsibility for the actions of the delegate. Gifts negotiated by the delegate must be in consonance with this policy.


b. The Board authorizes the above persons/positions and any advisor or outside counsel deemed necessary, to negotiate life income gifts (i.e. charitable remainder trusts, charitable lead trusts, pooled income fund gifts, charitable gift annuities) during the life of the donor and through estate planning.


2. Donor List Management: Donor and prospect lists and related information will be managed under the auspices of the TBS Office of President.


3. The Gift Acceptance Procedure: Negotiated gifts shall be submitted to a Gift Acceptance Committee. The Committee shall consist of the President, the Vice-President of Finance and Administration, and Business Manager. The President will serve as chairperson, with final authority on any decisions. Decisions are to be unanimous. If not, the decision will be referred to the Finance Committee with ultimate authority resting with the Board. Potentially controversial gifts are to receive a recommendation for action by the Gift Acceptance Committee, to be reviewed by legal counsel, and deferred to the Board for acceptance or rejection.


History


First issue: Version 1.0, October 4, 2018


  • Incomplete Work – A student may receive an “I” (Incomplete) in a course if all work for that course is not submitted to the professor or other designated person by 5:00 p.m. on the last day of Final Exam week each semester. Except for unavoidable emergencies, this circumstance requires pre-approval from the professor and the Registrar. Students will generally have up to the end of ten weeks into the following semester to complete the work, or the “I” (Incomplete) will be converted to an “F” (Fail). Students with an active “I” (Incomplete) in two or more classes will not be allowed to enroll in a new semester. 


  • Pass/Fail Option – Students enrolled in an accelerated degree completion program may elect to take a maximum of six credit hours as pass/fail. Students successfully completing a course-designated pass/fail will receive a grade of “P” and those students unsuccessfully completing the course will receive a grade of “F.” A grade of “P” is not calculated in a student’s grade point average. A grade of “F” is calculated in the student’s GPA. 


  • Repeating Courses – Students may repeat a course for which they receive a grade of “F.” Students are permitted to re-enroll one time in a course for which they previously earned a grade of “D” or higher. The grades and credit hours from all courses, not just the re-take, impact students’ cumulative grade point average. 


  • Grade-Point Average – The grade points earned in each course are computed by multiplying the number of credit hours for the course by the grade-point value of the letter grade received. The student’s grade point average (GPA) each semester is determined by dividing the total number of grade points earned in all courses by the total number of credit hours taken. 


  • Academic Honor Roll – The Academic Honor Roll includes students who earn a semester GPA of 3.25 or higher while taking 9 or more graduate credit hours. 

  • Graduation Honors – The provost certifies students for graduation honors according to the following standards:


Summa Cum Laude 3.75 – 4.00

Magna Cum Laude 3.50 – 3.74

Cum Laude 3.25 – 3.49

 

Students who violate the Academic Integrity policy more than once are ineligible to receive graduation honors. 


  • Change of Grade Policy – In the event that a student has a concern that a grade is inaccurate, he/she should approach the faculty member and provide documentation for the alleged inaccuracy within thirty (30) days of the last day of the term. Faculty members may submit a grade change request that must be approved by the Provost up to 90 days after the grade was originally submitted.


  • Policy on Returning Student Assignments – Returned work should be retained by the student in case it is required for a grade appeal. It is the responsibility of the student to collect work from the TBS faculty member. In the event that a student is unable to obtain the work directly from the professor and desires to have assignments returned by mail, a self-addressed stamped envelope with sufficient postage should be included with the assignment when it is turned in. After a period of one semester, TBS and its faculty members reserve the right to destroy any unclaimed work. In the event the professor is willing to accept an assignment via email, it is the student’s responsibility to ensure the professor received the e-mailed assignment. TBS faculty are only required to keep emails with assignments for six months from the date the assignment was originally sent to the faculty member. 


History


Policies first established and included in Student Catalog: September 2012

First compiled policy issue: Version 1.0, February 20, 2020.


The Bible Seminary

Graduation Policy


Properly matriculated students are eligible to graduate from The Bible Seminary upon satisfactory completion of all academic requirements as certified by the office of the Provost AND all financial obligations as certified by the office of the Vice-President of Finance and Administration. Neither completed work with financial balances due nor payment in-full with academic work due will satisfy this requirement. In unique cases, students may be allowed to participate in graduation ceremonies with their graduating class but will not receive a diploma until all the policy requirements have been met.


Students desiring to graduate must pay the program-appropriate graduation fee (see “TBS Tuition and Fees” for the academic year of graduation) and apply for graduation upon enrollment of their final semester of their program and no later than 90 days prior to the next scheduled graduation ceremony. In accordance with the “Credit Transfer Policy” and accreditation requirements, graduate students must earn at least 25% of the credit hours required for their degree from TBS, although at least 49% is preferred.


Programs outlined below include the following: Certificate of Theologiccal Studies (CTS), Dual Degree Completion (DDC), Master of Arts in Biblical History and Archaeology (MABHA), Master of Arts in Biblical Languages and Culture (MABLC), Master of Arts in Biblical Studies (MABS) and four concentrations, Master of Arts in Church History and Theology (MACHT), and Master of Divinity (MDiv).


Certificate of Theological Studies (CTS), Non-degree Certificate Program


Required Courses (Credit hours)


  • BSM 501: Bible Study Methods – Esther, Obadiah, Mark (3)

  • PAS 501: Pastor-Shepherd I – Job, Jeremiah, Lamentations (3)

  • PAS 511: Pastor-Leader I – Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings (3)

  • PRE 501: Expository Preaching and Teaching I – Isaiah (3)

  • SFM 500: Spiritual Formation and Ministry – Bible Panorama (3)

  • THE 501: Theology I – Genesis (3)

  • THE 510: Church History I – Luke, Acts (3)

  • Elective I (3)

  • Elective II (3)


CTS Total = 27-credit hours

 

Note: Any other TBS graduate course may be taken for elective credit.



Dual Degree Completion (DDC), Combined Undergraduate/Graduate Degree Program


This program allows students with an Associate’s degree, coursework toward an unfinished undergraduate degree, and life experiences that may count toward college credit to enroll in The Bible Seminary on a degree track culminating in both a bachelor’s and master’s degree. Students who successfully complete this program earn a Bachelor of Arts in Christian Studies (BACS), and either a companion Master of Arts (MA) or a Master of Divinity (MDiv) degree as described elsewhere in this policy. The BACS incorporates previous college coursework (such as a 60-credit hour Associate’s degree), prior learning assessments, additional college studies, and TBS core graduate courses that can serve as dual bachelor/master credits.


TBS only offers a combined BA/MA or BA/MDiv – or a separate MA or MDiv – but not a stand-alone BA. Accepted students may enroll in a TBS graduate program without any modifications and transfer in or work on the side to complete any non-TBS undergraduate requirements. Dual-degree graduates complete a combined total of between 138 and 150-credit hours for a BA/MA degree, or 174-credit hours for the BA/MDiv degree. Students are eligible to receive both degrees together after all requirements are completed for BOTH the undergraduate and graduate degrees and after all other conditions are met as detailed elsewhere in this policy.


The customized degree may require students to take courses from other colleges or universities.  Tuition for any additional college courses and prior learning assessments outside of TBS and required to complete the bachelor’s degree are the responsibility of the student. Students enrolling in the program are responsible for applying, registering, enrolling, and transferring in credits from other schools and LearningCounts.org with respect to non-TBS undergraduate degree requirements. TBS tuition and fees for dual-credits and graduate credits are the same. For the BACS portion of the Dual Degree Completion program, students must earn approximately 120-credit hours as follows:



Building Use
Conflict of Interest
Employee CEU Reim.
Credit Transfer
Digital Hardware
Document Retention
Faculty Complaint
Faculty Employment
Financial Aid
Financial
Fundraising
Grading
Graduation
Admissions