Can't Afford Summer Institute? Apply for a Scholarship

Central East Region Summer Institute Logo

This week's blog post is by Krissy Brannan, the 2019 CERSI Scholarship Chair.

The Melanie Pescan Memorial scholarship fund was started in order to bring people with financial hardships to Summer Institute. The scholarship pays for at least part of their attendance fee. We don't perform a credit check or income check, so we instead take applications and a "reference" of support.

The reference of support is in place to make sure the applicant has a connection of some kind to Unitarian Universalism. The supporter should ideally be a UU professional (i.e. a minister, a staff member of a congregation, a UUA staff person, etc) or a CERSI staff member, but we'll accept other supporters in a pinch. ;)

People can apply for the scholarship on the CERSI website. Applicants should already have their "supporter" lined up at the time of submitting their application. Upon submitting their application, an email is sent to to their supporter asking for their reference. Applications won't be considered without both the original application AND a completed form from their supporter.

No decisions are made on financial awards until scholarship applications are closed, which will happen on May 31st. Once applications are closed, the scholarship committee decides how to split up and disperse funds. We make every effort possible to fill people's financial needs 100%, but it's not always possible as we are restricted by how much is in the scholarship fund. With respect to transparency, we do give priority to first time attendees.

Once financial awards are decided, emails are sent out on or around June 2nd letting applicants know how much they were awarded. Myself and registration takes care of the rest.

A step-by-step process for applicants can be found on the CERSI Scholarship application page.

The scholarship fund is 100% raised by SI attendees through donations. Most of the fundraising takes place at SI itself, but people also donate to the fund throughout the year. If you would like to donate to the SI scholarship fund, you can do so at the CERSI website.

I hope this clears up any questions you might have about the scholarship fund and the application process! If you have further questions, please send an email to

Thank you!