Two organizations are providing students with thousands of dollars in financial aid.
The United Methodist Higher Education Foundation and the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry are giving scholarships and loans to students who attend Methodist-based universities.
UMHEF and GBHEM are national, Methodist-founded organizations that provide opportunities for church members or any student who attends college at a Methodist-based institution.
OCU students can apply for scholarships or loans to help pay their tuition. Funds range between $500 and $2,000, depending on the scholarship or loan.
Scholarships from GBHEM are reserved exclusively for members of the United Methodist Church, requiring proof of membership in the form of a letter from the student’s home church or other related document verifying active church involvement for one year, or, for international scholarships, three years.
Many of the scholarships from UMHEF, however, are available to OCU students of any faith due to their attendance at a Methodist-based university.
“Some are reserved for United Methodist students,” said Charles Neff, vice president for university church relations. “Others are available to students that study at United Methodist-affiliated colleges, so just by virtue of their enrollment here at OCU, they’ll be eligible for those scholarships.”
Scholarships can all be applied for through generalized, online applications, one for each organization. The basic requirements of each scholarship or loan vary, and the results of the form indicate what scholarships a student is eligible for based on the information. GPA requirements generally range from 2.50 to 3.0, depending on the scholarship.
UMHEF offers a specialized program called “Dollars for Scholars,” which offers one-year members of the United Methodist Church a scholarship that can potentially total up to $4,000. The system works so that if a student’s home church offers $1,000, then UMHEF will match it with another $1,000, and the participating United Methodist-related schools and UMC Conference Foundations will each match with another $1,000. The funds from the Dollars for Scholars program can go towards things beyond tuition as well, such as textbooks and housing.
Of all the Methodist-based universities, OCU tied this year for the number of students attending who received money from Dollars for Scholars, the count being 67 students.
“These scholarships are so helpful, especially for those like myself entering into the ministry,” said John Vick, religion freshman and Dollars for Scholars recipient. “I believe John Wesley would be proud of what the United Methodist denomination is doing for students.”