1:30 P.M. EST March 15, 2010 | NASHVILLE (UMNS)
A student at Claremont School of Theology in Claremont, Calif., tries on
a cap and gown. A UMNS file photo by Ronny Perry.
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Economic woes in the United States don’t just affect those in the
workforce—now they’re affecting those waiting to enter it.
A 13 percent decline in giving to United Methodist Student Day,
coupled with increases in eligible applicants and reductions in other
funds, means several hundred United Methodist scholarship applicants are
likely to be disappointed this year, church officials said.
They are appealing for donations to be made online before June.
Angella Current-Felder, executive director of the Board of Higher
Education and Ministry’s Office of Loans and Scholarships, said 469
students who were eligible for scholarships last year did not receive
money because funds were not available. She fears even more will be
turned down this year.
She said the popular $1,000 Karen Layman Gift of Hope Scholarship for
undergraduates is a good example of the effect of a decline in
offerings for Student Day and World Communion Sunday, lower earnings on
funds managed by the board and increased demand because of the poor
economy. In addition, since scholarship applications were made available
online in January 2009, the number of applicants has tripled to more
“We know that we will have more than 700 eligible applicants for the
Gift of Hope Scholarship, and we will only be able to make awards to
about 300,” Current-Felder said.
The office has already received 2,100 applications, and applications
are accepted through April 15. The Student Day offering decreased more
than $70,000 between 2008 and 2009; World Communion Sunday offerings
dropped almost $100,000 in the same period.
Kimberly Brook received a United Methodist Student Day-funded
scholarship while attending North Central College, Naperville, Ill. A
UMNS file photo by Mike DuBose.
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Current-Felder said the conferences would have less money for
scholarships, too. Annual (regional) conferences that participate in
Student Day get 10 percent of their offering back for conference merit
scholarships that they award to deserving United Methodist students.
Many churches struggling with their own budgets in poor economic
times might have made the decision not to observe Student Day because
they felt they could not ask their members for additional money,
Scholarships are awarded through June for this fall, so donations
would have to be made by June in order to help students this year,
Current-Felder said. Donations made after that would go toward 2011
Ten percent of the receipts go to the United Methodist Student Loan
Fund, and the remainder is for scholarships. In addition to the rebate
to participating annual conferences, a portion of Student Day receipts
goes to United Methodist-related schools, colleges and universities for
scholarships awarded by the individual institutions.
Although Student Day is observed in November, donations can be made
online by visiting www.umcgiving.org/umstudentday.
*Brown is associate editor and writer, Office of Interpretation,
General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, Nashville, Tenn.
News media contact: Joey Butler, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or email@example.com.