United Methodist students may be able to get more money for college than they previously thought.
The Global Board of Higher Education and Ministry is offering scholarships and low-interest loans to students confirmed in the United Methodist Church.
Students working toward their undergraduate degree or who are in seminary are eligible to apply for the awards.
GBHEM is the United Methodist accrediting body for the university and the Saint Paul School of Theology.
Charles Neff, vice president for university-church relations, said the funds are made available through the generosity of church-goers.
“The scholarship monies they are giving out are from Methodists all over the world,” Neff said.
While there are no set amounts for the scholarships, Neff said the amounts usually are between $500 and several thousand dollars.
The organization gives an average of $5.5 million awards per year, according to the GBHEM website. One hundred percent of the donations made to the scholarship fund is given to students.
There are eight OCU students who receive the GBHEM scholarship.
Matt Patrick, religion senior, said the scholarship allowed him to study what he is passionate about.
“The generous scholarships from the GBHEM allowed me to attend OCU and prepare for ministry,” Patrick said. “These scholarships are just one of the many great benefits of being a part of a global denomination.”
The GBHEM scholarship is not given through OCU, and students do not need to be receiving funding from the university to be eligible for these awards.
The GBHEM scholarship is not a replacement for the United Methodist scholarship given through the university. The scholarship was discontinued this year after budget cuts were made in the church.
Neff said this is not the only opportunity for students to receive a scholarship through the United Methodist Church. Students also can apply for financial aid from the United Methodist Foundation and the Oklahoma United Methodist Foundation.
“It’s a great resource for undergraduate studies, and one of the resources we have to us as United Methodists,” Neff said.
For students who are not Methodist, Neff encourages them to look into their own religious organizations.
“I would encourage students to go back to their home church, whether they are Methodist or Baptist or Lutheran, and ask their pastors if there are scholarships from the church,” Neff said.
Applications for the GBHEM scholarships and loans are due March 5 for consideration for the Fall 2015 semester. The application can be found at gbhem.org/loans-and-scholarships.