How to Start an FLBC Scholarship
Many churches desire to support students who want to attend the Bible College or Seminary, but simply don’t know where to start. This guide can give you the tools to get a scholarship program started.
Recognize the Value
It’s important for your congregation to recognize that supporting Bible College students is a valuable investment of congregational resources. A scholarship program is a tangible way to show students and families that the congregation cares deeply about establishing young adults in God’s Word.
Understand the Need
The actual per student cost at FLBC is approximately $23,000 per year. Donors cover much of this cost up front. Students are then billed $13,000 per year which includes both tuition, room, & board. The majority of students also work part-time jobs while at FLBC, which covers about $6,000 of the student’s cost per year (after taxes and factoring in time off during breaks). Additionally, the average scholarship awarded through FLBC scholarships is $1,500 per year. This leaves approximately $5,500 per year to be covered through other means (church scholarships, summer jobs, savings, help from family, etc).
Determine the Investment
Using the above figures as a basis, your congregation and leadership will need to determine the amount of support you would like to grant to students. We recommend that churches think in terms of a tangible percentage of the cost. For example, $3,000 per year would be half the tuition amount, or $4,000 would be about one-third of the total cost per year. Below are some examples of churches who currently have an FLBC Scholarship. (Church names are kept confidential):
Church A – Covers the full cost of tuition ($6,000) per student per year.
Church B – Grants each FLBC student from their congregation the down payment amount of $3,900 per year or a different set amount.
Church C – Splits a designated budget amount among any students they have attending on a given year.
BIG TIP: The sooner they know, the better.
Students and parents appreciate knowing ahead of time how much support they will receive from the church, so that they can make financial plans. We recommend setting a standard scholarship amount, so that you can provide information to students and parents at any given time.
That’s great, but how do we pay for it?
Determine the Source
Congregations will need to decide where the scholarship funds will originate. Options include the following:
Set budget amount — Determined amount per student. For budgeting purposes, the church would calculate the potential number of students for the following year and use that as their basis for determining the budget. (i.e. three students, $2,000 each = $6,000)
Special funds — Establish a fund in your church that people can contribute toward throughout the year. Promote the fund throughout the year.
Legacy gift — A large gift can serve as an endowment in an account set aside for FLBC scholarships. (i.e. A $60k endowment can generate $3k in scholarships; $300k can generate $15k in scholarships per year.)
Annual fundraisers — Dinners, golf tournaments, etc. can generate funds for scholarships if the money is not in the church budget.
The key is to start somewhere. Perhaps your church would find it hard to add scholarships into your budget for the coming year. Start with a small amount and set a goal to double it the following year, or start with a special fund drive for the first year, then budget an amount for the following year.
Create a Process
Decide how students will go about receiving the funds and how the church will handle distribution of the funds. Provide answers to the following questions:
- Will students need to fill out an application?
- When and how will the students and families be informed of availability of the scholarships?
- When and how will the funds be distributed?
- Who will be the point person for promoting the program and receiving applications?
Timing matters! It’s best to decide scholarship amounts for students sometime in the fall months prior to the year they will be enrolling, so they can factor in the scholarship amount in their college decisions.
Decide if you want to offer scholarships.
Appoint a team or committee to develop a plan or proposal.
Present the plan or proposal to the church leadership and congregation (if necessary) for approval.