Racial Justice Resources

PC(USA) students attending any accredited seminary can apply now for a $6,000 scholarship

The application deadline is May 15

by Paul Seebeck | Presbyterian News Service

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) students attending any accredited seminary are now eligible for $6,000 scholarships. (Contributed photo)

LOUISVILLE — Thanks to revisions within Presbyterian Mission Agency’s Financial Aid for Service,  Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) students attending any accredited seminary in the U.S. can now apply for 2020-21 graduate scholarships awards at pcusa.org/apply4scholarships.

Previous scholarship awards, through FAFS’s  Presbyterian Study Grant, were limited to students attending PC(USA)-affiliated seminaries.

The basic scholarship award for Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in Christian Education (MACE) students is $6,000.

Revisions to the Presbyterian Study Grant program were made based on recommendations made by the Presbyterian Study Grant reading committee. The readers were asked to consider how to make the program more accessible to people of color and women. The readers recommended simplifying the eligibility requirements.

Eliminating the requirement to attend a Presbyterian-related seminary recognizes that the freedom to move to one of the Presbyterian-related seminaries is, for many students, complicated by commitments to family and worshiping communities.

According to Financial Aid for Service associate Melonee Tubb, her work with seminary graduates now serving congregations suggests that students carrying the most educational debt are those who didn’t attend PC(USA)-related seminaries.

“Pastors of color and second career pastors, especially women, overwhelmingly fall into this category,” she said. “By opening this program to PC(USA) students studying at all accredited seminaries in the U.S., we hope to meet them where they are and allow a more diverse pool of applicants to emerge.”

The  revisions to scholarship assistance for PC(USA) seminary students aligns with the church’s Matthew 25 invitation, which encourages churches and mid councils to work at building congregational vitality, dismantling structural racism and  eradicating structural poverty.

If need remains after the scholarship is awarded, students of color may be considered for an additional $2,000 of supplemental aid.

Renewal of the scholarships is not automatic. Students apply in the spring for awards announced by August 15.  Applications are evaluated based on the response to an essay application and recommendations.

The deadline to apply for scholarship awards is May 15.  Financial Aid for Service reminds applicants that they alone should apply for the scholarship — not their parents or friends.

Financial Aid for Service provides scholarships for approximately 120 seminary students per year and awards more than $700,000 annually to students pursuing first professional degrees required for ordination or certification of Christian educators annually.


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