Education and Service Scholarship Policy

Education and Service Scholarship Program
Bethel College Mennonite Church
North Newton, Kansas 67117
August 3, 2023

I. Purpose
It is the intent of the Bethel College Mennonite Church to support its members and particularly its young adults in both service programs and in higher education, each of which enriches their lives and contributes to the mission of the church and the welfare of society.

II. The Service Component
Various Mennonite agencies (e.g. Mennonite Church USA, the Mennonite Central Committee, or MEDA) provide opportunities for persons to contribute a significant portion of their lives in many programs of voluntary service. Sometimes this occurs in a year between high school and college or it can occur during or after college graduation. We want to support our young adults for such service (either a calendar year or equal to the academic year) in proportion to what we support for undergraduate education for Bethel College.  Scholarships are not available for shorter term service, youth group service weeks, or older adult service (e.g. SOOP).

Career or extended years mission and service commitments will be considered and administered by the BCMC Witness Commission through the regular church budget or specially administered support groups.

Financial support for service programs will be drawn from the BCMC Missions and Service Endowment Fund and will be administered by the Education and Service Scholarship Committee using similar guidelines to those for education as appropriate to the individual case.

III. The Educational Component
As a college-related church it is the intent of the Bethel College Mennonite Church to support financially, spiritually, and intellectually the pursuit of undergraduate and seminary study at Mennonite related institutions, with the special interest in our case with Bethel College of North Newton, Kansas.

We believe that our Mennonite educational institutions offer significant benefits among which are the following:

  • An education grounded in Anabaptist/Mennonite values of service, peace, and justice.
  • A caring community of students, faculty, and administration.
  • A commitment to both intellectual and faith-oriented growth and leadership.

Financial support for educational scholarships will be drawn from the annual budget and from fund-raising activities.

IV. Guidelines for Eligibility

  1. Undergraduate scholarships will be awarded to members of Bethel College Mennonite Church.  For this purpose a member is defined as a person or a family member in which at least one parent is a regular member of BCMC.
  2. Scholarships may also be granted at the discretion of the administering committee for young adults who while in high school displayed a high level of involvement with this church and youth group and who express a desire to attend a Mennonite college.
  3. Students must be accepted by and enrolled in an accredited college or university of an Anabaptist denomination or historic peace church or those related to Mennonite Central Committee as listed in an appendix.
  4. Scholarships will be awarded only to students attending fall or spring semester full time as defined by the educational institution.  Summer school is not included.
  5. A person may receive no more than four (4) annual scholarships, or eight (8) semesters for undergraduate programs, a scholarship for one (1) year of service, and no more than a total of seven (7) annual scholarships for accumulated service, undergraduate and seminary programs.
  6. Scholarships may be used toward tuition, room and board or other education expenses up to the cost of attendance.
  7. If a student receives other academic or talent based scholarships and/or grants from federal, state, institutional or other outside scholarship sources which when combined with the BCMC scholarship would exceed cost of attendance, then the BCMC scholarship will be reduced or eliminated. It is further understood that colleges and universities that match church scholarships may also limit their match so as not to exceed cost of attendance.
  8. Scholarships are not available to students already receiving a scholarship from another congregation.
  9. Applications for BCMC scholarships must be submitted annually. Application forms are available on the church web site or at the church office, and must be completed, signed, and returned by the deadline announced via the church bulletin.

V. Additional scholarship components.

International Student scholarship. As a part of the missional commitment of our congregation it has been our policy to provide one annual educational scholarship for tuition for an international student enrolled full-time at Bethel College. This has been in an amount equal to that provided for our own members. This international student is not required to be a member of BCMC to receive this scholarship. The Education and Service Scholarship Committee in consultation with the Admissions Office of Bethel College will select the international student to receive this scholarship.

Seminary scholarships.  BCMC chooses to support persons who are challenged or called to vocations in service of the church, especially pastoral ministry. Therefore we also wish to support our members (defined above) who enroll in Mennonite seminary programs (see appendix) as full time students. The guidelines for eligibility stated above will similarly guide scholarships for seminary students, and they will receive amounts equal to those enrolled in undergraduate programs other than Bethel College.

VI. Financial Aid/Funding

For those attending Bethel College. Because of the special and unique relationship of BCMC to Bethel College, it is our goal to provide an annual scholarship of $2,000 ($1,000 per semester) for each student of BCMC enrolled at Bethel College, assuming the guidelines and limitations stated above. If resources are not available for the full educational component to achieve this amount, we will seek to come as close to the stated amount as possible.

For those attending other Mennonite Colleges, Universities, and Seminaries. It is our goal to provide an annual scholarship of $1,000 ($500 per semester) for each student of BCMC enrolled in a Mennonite college, university, or seminary other than Bethel College (see appendices), assuming the guidelines and limitations stated above. If resources are not available for the full educational component to achieve this amount, we will seek to come as close to the stated amount as possible.

Payments.  All payments of church scholarships will be made via the Church Treasurer of BCMC and made directly to the account of the student within the educational institution identified. In no case will payment be made directly to the student.

Funding.  Following recent practice an amount equal to $1,000 per anticipated student will be placed in the requested annual budget of the Faith Formation Commission.

In addition, the Education and Service Scholarship Committee will conduct fund raising efforts to achieve the higher goal of support for our students.  These efforts may include such things as direct mail solicitation of past recipients and others known to have interest and care for this program, events at which commitments of support are invited, and any other means created by the committee.  These funds shall be deposited into the Education Scholarship Fund.

In future years the Education and Service Scholarship Committee may monitor the annual cost of living adjustment (COLA) and changes in college tuition in order to make changes and adjustments appropriate for the scholarships given.

As stated above, funding for the service component will be through the Mission and Service Endowment Fund. Again appropriate applications will be available and administered by the Education and Service Scholarship Committee.

VII. Administration

Administration of these scholarship efforts is sufficiently complex and focused that the responsibility needs to be a designated group, the Education and Service Scholarship Committee, accountable to the Church Board.

Since much of the work has to do with Bethel College, the present Bethel College Relations Committee could sponsor some events as fund raisers in cooperation with the Education and Service Scholarship Committee.

VIII. Revision

This scholarship program and policy is subject to regular review by the Education and Service Scholarship Committee and the Church Board.  Changes can be made by the agreement of these two bodies.

Original scholarship program dates back to the late 1960’s and early 1970’s

First policy–adopted by Congregation 1-15-1984 

Revision: 1-8-1998 by Church Board

Revision: March 2001; approved by Church Board: May 2001

Revision: February 6, 2003 by Church Board

Revision: December 2010 – Proposed by Faith Formation Commission 

Revision: February 23, 2011 – revisions by Handbook and Policy Committee

Approved by Church Board – March 3, 2011

Revision: November 2011

Proposed by Faith Formation Commission; reviewed Dec 2011 by Handbook and Policy Committee

Approved by Church Board – January 5, 2012 72

Present revision recommended by a special committee appointed by the Church Board, Spring 2013

Approved by the Church Board – November 7, 2013

Amended by Church Board – May 4, 2017


IX. Perspectives and Rationales:

The following are issues and concerns that have been taken into consideration by the present committee. Some of these are issues which we are seeking to solve in the above recommended policies. Others are perspectives that we have identified and that form the basis of our recommendations.

  • We believe there is merit in thinking about our scholarship program wholistically; that is, combining into one administrative unit of the church two quite distinct programs. We want to think in terms of one function – scholarships, with two distinct and separate programs – for service and for education.
  • We have a double purpose in these scholarship endeavors.  Clearly we want to support our young adults in the challenging environment demanding their commitments of time and energy. Financial support is critical in enabling them to engage in activities of growth and development.   But we also have a churchly desire to support our institutions. In particular, we have a special interest in Bethel College and especially its needs for student enrollment. In significant measure, this scholarship program is part of our continuing commitment to Bethel College. Two important goals can be met through one program!
  • The college scholarship program has a long history in BCMC, beginning somewhere about 1970. One of our continuing concerns is sustainability – how do we structure this financially in a way that promises to maintain this into the future? In recent years it has been a part of the annual church budget and we commend the church for that commitment. What that has done is to give a good foundation; what it lacks are motivational factors for giving that could attract additional funds from persons in the congregation who have a high interest in Bethel College and its students.  We also believe that we might challenge those who are past recipients of such scholarship funds to contribute to a new generation of students. We also need ways to increase the amount of the scholarships with the continuing rise of tuition.
  • For approximately ten years BCMC has had available the Mission and Service Endowment Fund, thanks to the generosity of an original donor. To our knowledge it has been used only once in that period. The downturn of all investments in 2008 was also not helpful to maintaining a level of support to make it functional. However we believe that it should now be activated and used as it was intended and that its purpose is well served by our congregation’s desire to support our youth in service programs of the church. It needs promotion and administration by a committee within the church that has its purpose as central to what it does. Therefore we believe that the scholarship committee (however formed) should be given administrative responsibility for the Mission and Service Endowment Fund.
  • Our focus is on young adults. We recognize that there are many good and legitimate forms of service and programs of varying length and available for varying ages. However we believe that shorter term programs of weeks and months and programs for mature adults can be well supported by families and persons engaged in such service. We have chosen to focus these scholarships on youth of post high school through college age and early young adults who are giving full time and year long to their pursuits. When appropriate the Mission and Service Endowment fund could still be available for service programs that are other than the year-long envisioned in the scholarship fund. Longer term and vocational mission commitments need to be given special consideration by our Witness Commission.

    X. List of Accredited Colleges and Universities of an Anabaptist Denomination Related to MCC

Mennonite Church USA

  • Bethel College
  • Bluffton University
  • Eastern Mennonite University
  • Goshen College
  • Hesston College

Mennonite Church Canada

  • Conrad Grebel College
  • Canadian Mennonite University
  • Columbia Bible College

US Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches

  • Fresno Pacific University
  • Tabor College

Brethren in Christ Church

  • Messiah College

Conservative Mennonite Conference

  • Rosedale Bible College

    XI. List of Mennonite Seminary Programs
  • Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary
  • Eastern Mennonite Seminary
  • Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary
  • Graduate Theological Studies program of Conrad Grebel University College – Toronto Mennonite Theological Centre
  • Winnipeg Centre for Ministry Studies
  • Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary at ACTS – British Columbia

    XII. List of Mennonite Service Programs

Since programs and requirements change from time to time, the following are examples only.  Scholarship eligibility will be determined by application to the Education and Service Scholarship Committee.

Mennonite Mission Network

  • Mennonite Voluntary Service
  • Service Adventure
  • Radical Journey
  • DOOR: Dwell

Mennonite Central Committee

  • SALT – Service and Learning Together
  • Seed