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The United Church of Canistota Scholarship Fund Policy

PURPOSE

The United Church of Canistota Scholarship Fund provides for scholarships for eligible members of the United Church of Canistota.

It shows commitment to our interest in the higher education of our members.

It encourages our members to work toward study at an approved seminary leading to life service in Christian Ministry.

It encourages our members to attend accredited post secondary institutions that are affiliated with either the Presbyterian Church (USA) or the United Methodist Church.

It allows for support of a student who feels that the programs of study at an institution that is not affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA) or the United Methodist Church better prepares them for their chosen career and offers ample opportunity for Christian fellowship, witness and study consistent with our church’s mission.

ELIGIBILITY

All active members of the United Church of Canistota are eligible with the following provisions.

1.    The member must be accepted as a full time student of an institution of higher learning that is accredited by a nationally recognized accreditation agency.

2.    The member must submit to the Stewardship and Finance Committee by July 1 of each year the following information.  NOTE: See the examples in Appendix A of this document for further explanation of the information needed to evaluate the application for financial assistance.

a.    A formal written request for a scholarship.  This application must convey the reasons why the applicant wishes to be considered for a scholarship from the United Church of Canistota.  The reasons must include description of the program of study the member is taking as well as their degree objective and career goals.

b.    A letter explaining how their own spiritual growth will be enhanced by attendance at the chosen educational institution.  This letter should describe the opportunities for worship and Christian study and witness that are available at the chosen institution.

c.    A copy of the most recent letter of acceptance from the institution.

d.    A copy of the most recent financial aid award letter received from the institution by the member showing the cost of attendance and financial assistance that has already been offered to the student for the coming academic year.

e.    A copy of a document from the Financial Aid office indicating that satisfactory academic progress is being sustained.  This only applies to students who have completed their first year at the institution.

1.    The financial aid award letter from the institution must indicate that the total “Cost of Attendance” is not covered by the grants and scholarships the student has been offered by the institution or other parties.  It is anticipated that the United Church scholarship will enable the student to reduce the amount of loans that must be taken to pay the “Cost of Attendance”.

2.    The Stewardship and Finance Committee will take into consideration the participation in Church activities the applicant has demonstrated.

USE of FUNDS

The United Church of Canistota scholarship funds may be used to cover “Costs of Attendance” identified by the institution including tuition, institution fees, housing, meals and other costs approved by the institution financial aid office.  Institutions typically include mileage allowances, living expenses and other miscellaneous institution fees as reasonable parts of the “Cost of Attendance” at the institution. 

ADMINISTRATION

The scholarship will be given for one year at a time for a maximum of 5 years for undergraduate study and a maximum of 4 years for seminary study.

For students attending institutions with semester terms, payment of the scholarship will be one half of the scholarship amount for the fall semester and the other half for the spring semester as long as satisfactory academic progress as defined by the institution is maintained.  Financial Aid offices are required by the US Department of Education to determine if each student receiving financial assistance from Title IV funds is sustaining satisfactory academic progress.  This same determination made by the institution will be used by the United Church of Canistota to determine if the member is eligible to continue to receive scholarship funds.

For students attending institutions with quarter or trimester terms, payment of the scholarship will be one third of the scholarship amount for the fall term, one third for the winter term and the remaining third for the spring term as long as satisfactory academic progress as defined by the institution is sustained.  If the student is attending a summer term instead of one of the other terms, then one third of the scholarship will be paid for use during the summer term.

Our preference is that the scholarship amount will be sent directly to the institution to be applied to cost of attendance charges on behalf of the student.  If the institution does not have an agreement with the student to apply scholarship awards to the student’s fees, then a check will be made payable jointly to the student and the institution.

The amount of scholarship money available will be equal to the amount of interest that the Fund has earned in the 12 months previous to August 1 of each year.  It there are no scholarships awarded for a year that available money will be added to the endowment.  The amounts added to the endowment may not be used to pay scholarship funds.  Only the interest earned in each year may be used to pay scholarship funds.

GRANTING of AWARDS

All available funds will be shared by all eligible applicants.  Eligibility will be based upon the information received by the Stewardship and Finance Committee and their assessment of that information.

Each eligible individual may receive a scholarship up to, but not exceeding, the level of unmet “Cost of Attendance” as identified by the institution’s financial aid award letter.  The amount of funds to which each student is eligible will be limited by the total amount of funds available for scholarships in each year and will be determined using a weighting scheme to achieve the Church’s objectives of encouraging students to attend seminary or an institution affiliated with either the Presbyterian Church USA or the United Methodist Church.

Applications for undergraduate study at an institution that is not affiliated with any church will receive a weighting factor of 1.

Applications for undergraduate study at an institution that is affiliated with a church but is not affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA) or United Methodist Church will receive a weighting factor of 3.

Applications for undergraduate study at an institution that is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA) or United Methodist Church will receive a weighting factor of 5.

Applications for study at a Seminary approved by The United Church of Canistota will receive a weighting factor of 10.

SCHOLARSHIP FUND OBJECTIVE

Our goal is to be able to completely finance for one of our members, study leading to Christian Ministry including seminary study.  It is anticipated that funding of a member’s study at a seminary will be supported by a combination of scholarship grants and special contributions that are made separate from the scholarship grants.

The United Church of Canistota wishes for the Scholarship Fund to grow in asset value so that increasing amounts of aid may be offered to our members in the future.  For this reason, contributions or gifts will be accepted from church members or other interested persons and the principle balance of the fund will be designated solely for this purpose and will not be used for other activities or expenses.

 

The United Church of Canistota Scholarship Fund Policy

APPENDIX A

Examples of Information Needed

in a

Student’s Application for Financial Assistance
 

1.     A formal written request for a scholarship.  This application must convey the reasons why the applicant wishes to be considered for a scholarship from the United Church of Canistota.  The reasons must include description of the program of study the member is taking as well as their degree objective and career goals.

The fundamental reason can be quite simple.  The “Cost of Attendance” is greater than the grants and scholarships received from other sources and you don’t want to borrow any more money than is necessary.  However, the Stewardship and Finance Committee needs to know more about you than just that.  We need to know about your career goals, particularly if they include work in a church or other church related activity.  Youth ministry, choir or music ministry and help with the elderly as an activity sponsored by a church are some of the objectives that the United Church of Canistota wishes to encourage.  Perhaps you don’t intend to go into church ministry.  That is OK, but do you plan to be involved in church activities such as teaching Sunday School, serving as counselor at church camps, leading youth activities at a church.  There are many valuable ways to serve God and to use your talents.  Your program of study is typically called your major and minor specialties.  Math, Chemistry, Music, Education are examples.  The degree objective is Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science or some other degree conferred by the institution.

This formal written request should be viewed as important and should be prepared in a formal manner.  It can be in the form of a report or a letter.  It should identify the applicant, provide information that will help us communicate with the institution about your scholarship and should inform us how to reach you to ask questions.  It should also include an address you want us to use to send notices to you about the scholarship.  It you will have one address during the month of August and another while in  school give us both.  If you don’t know the school address when preparing this application, indicate that and make plans to send it to us as soon as you know it.

2.    A letter explaining how their own spiritual growth will be enhanced by attendance at the chosen educational institution.  This letter should describe the opportunities for worship and Christian study and witness that are available at the chosen institution.

This should be prepared in the form of a letter.  Use all parts of a normal letter accompanying your request for financial assistance including date prepared, return address, Stewardship and Finance Committee at the Church address, salutation, body of the letter in clear paragraphs, closing and signature.

Many institutions permit organizations such as Campus Crusade for Christ and other religious groups to use institution facilities for meetings and activities.  Self initiated Bible Study with small groups of students is also quite common.  Perhaps being a columnist on the institution newspaper would provide opportunities for witness.  From your perspective, what will be the opportunities for witness you anticipate and what activities do you plan to engage in that will help in your own spiritual growth?

3.    A copy of the most recent letter of acceptance from the institution.

For first year students this is easy.  A letter of acceptance probably has been received.  For continuing students such letters may not be sent by the institution.  This is OK.  The letter from the Financial Aid office will help.  If you have a pre-registration report from the institution showing your plan to return for the next term, that will serve this purpose.  Just make a copy of it and include it with the other materials you submit.  You can also print pages from a web site that conveys this information as well as the cost, awards offered and progress pertinent to your application.

4.     A copy of the most recent financial aid award letter received from the institution by the member showing the cost of attendance and financial assistance that has already been offered to the student for the coming academic year.

Every student who has applied for financial assistance from the institution will receive such a letter before each year of attendance and sometimes before each term.  The most recent one received is the one we need to see.  If you have not received one, then provide the Stewardship and Finance Committee with a letter from you indicating that is the case and provide the name and telephone number of a financial aid counselor at the institution we can call.  Your letter should explain why you are asking for a scholarship from our Church if you have not requested financial assistance from the institution.  It may be possible that you have applied for financial assistance but the award letters have not yet been sent.  The Stewardship and Finance Committee will not penalize any member if the award letters have not yet been sent.  When one is received, a copy must be provided to accompany your application for scholarship.

Some colleges and universities are putting this information on a web site for the student to view as needed.  A printout of this web site if it is complete will provide us with the information needed to consider your application.

What we need to know to administer the United Church of Canistota Scholarship Fund Policy fairly is the amount of aid you have been offered from other federal, state, local and institution sources.  For instance if you have been offered a full scholarship or full ride grant and do not have to borrow any money to cover Cost of Attendance, then you will not be eligible to received a United Church scholarship.  We want to help our members cover the Cost of Attendance and reduce the amount of money that must be borrowed to pay for your education.

5.      A copy of a document from the Financial Aid office indicating that satisfactory academic progress is being sustained.  This only applies to students who have completed their first term at the institution.

If this information is provided on the institution’s award letter, then additional documentation is not required.  If the institution does not provide any documentation concerning satisfactory academic progress, then provide the name and telephone number of a financial aid counselor we can call to discuss this.

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