Scholarships for Unitarian Universalist Ministerial Students
The Ministerial Credentialing Office administers scholarship funds available to students who are in aspirant or candidate status and who are enrolled in a Master of Divinity degree program leading to fellowship as a Unitarian Universalist minister.
The cost of preparing for the Unitarian Universalist ministry is high. Consequently, financial pressures can be severe if wise choices are not made right from the beginning. The Unitarian Universalist Association is committed to finding ways to help alleviate the pressure through scholarship aid, debt-retirement assistance, counseling, and support for adequate ministerial salaries. If you have questions, please see the financial aid officer at your school, or contact the Ministerial Credentialing Office. The Economic Realities of the Unitarian Universalist Ministry (PDF, 10 pages) has detailed information on the costs of becoming a UU minister, and the average salary range for new ministers.
Eligibility for Aid
To be eligible to apply for UUA financial aid grants, all applicants must be in aspirant or candidate status. Full-time and part-time students are eligible to apply. Those planning to be in an internship are eligible to apply, even if they will not be enrolled in theological school during the internship.
The Unitarian Universalist Association has a variety of scholarship sources. Some are general scholarship and others are named scholarships, with specific criteria. All financial aid grants are determined by the UUA Scholarship Committee. Grants are determined on the basis of academic merit and financial need, consistent with the requirements of the scholarship.
All Financial Aid Forms (PDF, 10 pages) (Word) and all supporting materials, including letters of recommendation, are to be received by the Ministerial Credentialing Office, 24 Farnsworth Street, Boston, MA 02210-1409 or mco [at] uua [dot] org* no later than 5 p.m. (Eastern time), Wednesday, April 15, 2020.
*Email is the preferred method of material submission. (Please note the March 23, 2020, deadline for the Rev. Chuck and Nancy Thomas Scholarship, described below.)
All application requests must be complete. Incomplete applications will not be considered by the UUA Scholarship Committee.
- Complete a 2,000 word essay incorporating the following questions: What do you believe is the most pressing social justice concern that you have encountered in your ministerial formation? How do you plan to engage this concern in your future ministry? How does your social location inform your planning? If you applied for scholarship assistance in the past, has your understanding of the most pressing social justice concern changed? How and why?
- Describe your call to the Unitarian Universalist ministry in 250 words.
- Submit your resume (no more than three pages).
- Fill out the Financial Aid Application, Annual Expenses, and New Worth forms.
- Have your Financial Aid Officer fill out the specified form of the application.
- Have a Unitarian Universalist minister in full fellowship (not a faculty member from your theological school) fill out a recommendation form.
- Have your faculty advisor or another faculty member fill out a recommendation form.
- In addition, applicants (except Canadians, and those who are in internship but not students) are required to submit a Student Aid Report (SAR) containing a calculation of the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) ordinarily obtainable from one's theological school upon completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) forms available on the FAFSA website or from the U.S. Department of Education. Note that the SAR can take up to two weeks for processing. The final report MUST be received by our office or your financial aid application will not be considered.
- You will receive notification of financial aid award decisions on or around May 24, 2020.
Applicants for financial aid through the UUA are automatically considered for these named scholarship; no additional application materials are required, unless otherwise noted.
- The Martha and Robert Atherton Ministerial Scholarship
Established in 1997, this scholarship is designed to provide financial assistance to promising ministerial students in their second or third year of seminary who have already proven their capabilities. This scholarship is awarded to individuals who respect hard work as a foundation of a full life and who appreciate the freedom, political system and philosophical underpinnings of our country. Martha and Robert Atherton are dedicated Unitarian Universalists who have made this scholarship possible through their generous contributions.
- The David Eaton Scholarship
Maureen Mulliner, a long time member of All Soul's Church in Washington, DC, made an estate gift to establish this award in order to affirm Rev. David Hilliard Eaton's vision of a community dedicated to strengthening hope, justice, and balance, and creating an anti-racist, multicultural religious organization and country. This scholarship is awarded to women from a historically marginalized group who share the same vision as David Eaton.
- Lucille K and Jerome P. Gallon Scholarship Fund
The Lucille K. and Jerome P. Gallon Scholarship fund was created to support promising candidates for Unitarian Universalist ministry. This scholarship is awarded to individuals who have demonstrated strong preaching skills during their path to ministry.
- The Ingeborg Haseltine Scholarship Funds
Ingeborg Haseltine made a gift from her estate to establish a permanent scholarship fund to support the education of women pursuing a career in the ministry of the Unitarian Universalist Association.
- Interfaith Spirituality Scholarship
This scholarship was established by a generous donor who wishes to remain anonymous. The purpose of this scholarship is to support deserving individuals who have demonstrated an interest in and are prepared to integrate interfaith understanding into their ministry, and have a commitment to guiding others on their own spiritual path.
- The Susan M. Jackson Ministerial Scholars Fund
Susan M. Jackson's children established this fund on Ms. Jackson's 85th birthday to honor her commitment and dedication to Unitarian Universalism. This scholarship is awarded to recipients who share with the wider world their enthusiasm about UU ideas and conclusions, drawn from their faith, which influence their lives.
- The David Pohl Scholarship
This scholarship was established by the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations upon Rev. Pohl's retirement as UUA Director of Ministry in 1993. It supports the intellectual, spiritual, and professional development of individuals preparing for UU ministry.
- Roy H. Pollack Scholarship
The Roy H. Pollack Scholarship was created in 1998 to support second or third year students who have strong academic records and are promising candidates for UU ministry
- The Von Ogden Vogt Scholarship
This scholarship was established in 2001 by Walter and Carolyn Vogt to honor Walter's father, the Rev. Dr. Von Ogden Vogt and his dedication and commitment to Unitarian Universalism. Scholarships are given to support the intellectual, spiritual, and professional development of future Unitarian Universalist ministers who are attending Meadville Lombard Theological School.
- The Donald K. Evans Memorial Theological Scholarship Fund
This scholarship was established by the Ohio-Meadville District and is awarded to members or former members of congregations within the Ohio-Meadville District who are preparing for the Unitarian Universalist ministry.
- The President William G. Sinkford Scholarship
The Unitarian Universalist Association established the President William G. Sinkford Fund in 2008, during the last year of Rev. Sinkford's UUA Presidency. Having begun his service in June 2001, Rev. Sinkford left the Association with many profound and lasting gifts including the innovative Diversity of Ministry Initiative and support for lay theological education and ministerial development programs. To honor his legacy in the years to come, the Sinkford Fund will further Rev. Sinkford's visions by providing scholarships for promising and passionate students preparing for Unitarian Universalist ministry.
- Scholarships are designated for ministerial students who identify as people of color, Latinx, Hispanic, and multi-racial.
- Applicants in candidate status for Unitarian Universalist ministry are eligible to apply.
- Funds will be distributed through the UUA Scholarship Committee.
- The John A. Buehrens Ministerial Scholarships
John A. Buehrens, President of the Unitarian Universalist Association from 1993-2001, has made enormous contributions to the life of this institution and to the Unitarian Universalist movement as a whole. To recognize and honor his work, the UUA has established a permanent fund to support the intellectual, spiritual, and professional development of future Unitarian Universalist ministers studying at the Starr King School for the Ministry. One scholarship is for an incoming First Year student, and the other is for a student entering their second or third year of study. Starr King School for the Ministry selects the incoming first year student. The UUA selects the second or third year student.
Scholarships for Incoming First Year Students Only
- The Chuck and Nancy Thomas Scholarship
This scholarship was established in 1998 by Lorella and Todd Hess in honor of Lorella's father, Rev. Charles Thomas, and his support of Unitarian Universalism and lay leadership. Rev. Thomas is minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church in Lima, OH, and affiliate minister of the Miami Valley Fellowship in Dayton, OH. The scholarship is awarded to a incoming first year student who has shown an outstanding commitment to Unitarian Universalism as a lay leader before preparing for Unitarian Universalist ministry.
This scholarship has a separate application process (PDF, 3 pages) (Word). To apply, submit to the address below two letters for recommendation, a resume, and a two or three page essay that describes your path to seminary in which you highlight your work as a lay leader in your congregation and larger community. If you are not a member of a UUA or CUC congregation, at least one recommendation letter must be from an official of your local International Council of Unitarians and Universalists (ICUU) member group. All materials must be received by Monday, March 23, 2020.
Those who wish to submit a nomination should write a letter of recommendation showing a connection between the individual's ministry and their life goals along with examples of their strong leadership skills. Letters may be sent by email to mco [at] uua [dot] org or mailed to the Unitarian Universalist Association, Ministerial Credentialing Office, 24 Farnsworth Street, Boston, MA 02210-1409. Materials must be received by March 23, 2020.
- The Olympia Brown and Max Kapp Award
Awarded to an aspirant or candidate who submits a winning paper, sermon or other special project on some aspect of Universalism. This award should honor our heritage of Universalist and the St. Lawrence Foundation, the source of a significant portion of our scholarship funds. Eligibility for this award is the same as for financial aid. Typed manuscripts should accompany the scholarship forms, and be submitted to the Ministerial Credentialing Office, received no later than 5 p.m. (Eastern time) on April 15, 2020. A Universalist historian outside the UUA Scholarship Committee judges the award entries.
Other Available UU Scholarships
- John Haynes Holmes Memorial Fellowships
- The Joseph Gittler Fund for Religion and Ethics
- Robert Killam Fellowship
- The White Memorial Fund