After receiving the call to the ministry, many students enroll in a theological educational program at a seminary school. Enrollment of women in the seminary has grown over the years, but they are still the minority in these programs. Many religious groups and denominations offer scholarships to women in seminary as a way to encourage them to go into the field. When looking for financial aid for seminary, check with your local church or denominational state and nationwide offices for scholarship opportunities as well as funding that may be offered for a particular seminary.
David Eaton Scholarship
An estate gift in the name of David Eaton was established to acknowledge his vision of a balanced religious and geographical community. Women enrolled in a full- or half-time Master of Divinity program with an intention of becoming a clergy member in the Unitarian Universalist Church are eligible for the annual scholarship. Women who have shown exceptional abilities to spread the word and share Eaton’s vision for an antiracist, multicultural ministry are given priority.
Sara Owen Etheridge Student Scholarship
Female seminary students from the state of Georgia are eligible for the Sara Owen Etheridge Student Scholarship. Granted by the Baptist Women in Ministry of Georgia, the scholarship requires that one year of a master's or doctoral program be completed before applying. Applicants must provide three references -- all of whom should be willing to write a letter outlining the candidate's promise for ministry and need of scholarship money. Students must also write an autobiography as well as a synopsis of their call to minister and plan to carry out the ministry. The scholarship is provided annually at the group's spring meeting.
Order of the Daughters of the King
Since 1922, The Order of the Daughters of the King, a ladies’ Episcopal group, has set aside money into a master’s fund to help women who seek to spread the word of the Lord. Today, the money is distributed through scholarships and grants. The scholarship is needs-based and is open to group members and female members of the Episcopal Church, female members of churches in communion with the Episcopal Church and female communicants of churches with the historic Episcopate but not in communion with it. Students must be studying leadership within the church at a seminary, university or graduate school. The applicant must supply a letter of recommendation from her clergy or bishop along with her application. She must also ask three women of her church -- if possible, members of Daughters of the King -- to write reference letters. Scholarship recipients may reapply each year to receive the scholarship annually.
Lydia Fund Scholarship
The Lydia Scholarship is provided by the Network of Presbyterian Women in Leadership in conjunction with Presbyterians for Renewal. The funds are given to a female seeking to lead within the Presbyterian Church (USA). Annually, the Lydia Fund selects a female seminary student and grants her scholarship money for two years of her education with a option to grant her additional money for a third year. At the time of publication, the yearly amount is $2,500. New students as well as women who have already completed a couple of years of the program are encouraged to apply.
The Georgia Harkness Merit Awards
The United Methodist Church honors the life of teacher and theologian Georgia Harkness each year by awarding women ages 35 and older money to attend the seminary. Female students who have been active members of the United Methodist Church for a minimum of one year, have a 2.5 GPA and intend to be ordained ministers within the United Methodist Church are eligible to apply. At the time of publication, the scholarship is $5,000 per year, which does not include the summer term.
- Unitarian Universalist Association: David Eaton Scholarship
- Baptist Women in Ministry of Georgia: Sara Owen Etheridge Student Scholarship Information
- Virginia Theological Seminary: Scholarships
- The Order of the Daughters of the King: Master's Fund Application Information and Procedures
- Princeton Theological Seminary: Office of Admissions & Financial Aid: Guide to Outside Resources
Caroline Baldwin, a corporate communications director located in South Carolina, began writing in 1998. Her work has been published in publications across the United States and Canada including Rolling Stone, Boating Life, Waterski and Wakeboarding magazines. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication studies from The College of Charleston.