New "President's Ministry Grant" intended for students whose parents are ministers
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The new President’s Ministry Grant is making Westmont more affordable for dependents of ministers. The grant is for children of parents and step-parents who minister full time for churches and Christian organizations.
Available to incoming students in the fall of 2019, the grant is a four-year commitment to cover any unmet need remaining after adding up academic scholarships, need-based grants, and need based loans. “When generous donors realized that many children of full-time Christian workers could not afford to attend Westmont, they decided to provide a remedy. They’ve helped make a Westmont education affordable for people who have dedicated their lives to ministry,” said President Beebe according to the “Westmont Launches New Ministry Grant” article on Westmont’s official news page.
Irene Neller, Vice President for Enrollment, Marketing and College Communications said, “Like many of Westmont’s scholarships, [the grant is]provided by generous donors who see a need and have the resources to step in and say, ‘I want to provide that.’” The grant was started because parents who work in ministry, “have spent their lives sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ and yet when they go to put their own child through college, they can’t afford it.” Neller continues: “There is a desire for [parents in ministry] to send their son or daughter to places that mirror and support their own values, and beliefs, and their faiths, [but] often they may not be able to afford those colleges and universities that are faith-based. So [Westmont] is trying to remove that obstacle of cost.” Considering often those in ministries do not receive high paying salaries, the grant looks to fill the gap after other financial aid is applied.
Dependents of ministers include “anyone who is working in church, a parachurch, or organization where it is obvious that their work is reaching people groups with the message of The Gospel, and is serving people in some capacity full-time,” according to Neller. While available to all dependents of ministers, “the group that we really want to assist is dependents of alumni who are serving in ministry, they are our primary priority,” said Neller.
A group of five students who entered Westmont this fall semester of 2018 received the grant. But Westmont is preparing to expand the grant program in coming years now that they have the resources to do so. Neller said, “There was an initiation of this [grant] for the fall of this year; we had an initial introductory opportunity but we didn’t have the opportunity to make it as robust as [it will be] now.” Neller explained, “we are hoping to have about twelve [students receive the grant] in the fall of 2019,” and if there are more than twelve students; Westmont will evaluate how to best fill that need.
Westmont is intentionally advertising to their target audience of the grant, the grant has been featured in Christianity Today, in the Pastor Guide issues as well as other print and online resources for pastors and ministers.