Exponential Benefits: Church Matching Scholarships

Paying for tuition is always an issue for college students, and often people are eager to find creative ways to fund their educational experience. Through the Church Matching Fund at Indiana Wesleyan University, students have provided students with another avenue with which to fund their education. This church matching program has enabled students to receive financial aid through church support since 1988.

church matching articleAllowing churches to become involved in their youth’s education, this program provides an opportunity for churches to donate funds for traditional undergraduate students. IWU then matches the funds up to $1,000 for a non-Wesleyan student and $1,500 for a student from a Wesleyan church. Churches can donate more than the allotted amount; however this is the maximum donation that IWU doubles.

Many people are amazed at the seemingly unbelievable potential of donations. Rick Carder, Director of Alumni and Church Engagement shared that a participant in this program recently quoted that a participant in this program said that this matching process is:

“The closest thing to the miracle of loaves and fish that we have in modern times.” Referencing the unique program’s financial benefits, Carder explained that through the Church matching project, you can donate $140 which results in a donation of $800 when making a donation as a resident of Indiana. Anyone from any state can make donations however.

This scholarship fund sounds like a scam, as people understand the fundraising process they quickly realize the fantastic bargain that this program is. Combining state refunds with Indiana Wesleyan’s church matching program gifts quickly increase in potential and diminish in actual cost.

fundsFaith Snowden, Scholarship Coordinator at Indiana Wesleyan University, articulated the relatively simple process of accruing and distributing these funds.

“The state of Indiana allows for many types of Tax Credits which allows for substantial tax write-offs for charitable contributions to higher education institutions. Additionally, Indiana Wesleyan has implemented a dollar-for-dollar matching program for student contributions,” Snowden stated. She then explained that Indiana donors are eligible for a 50% reimbursement for a charitable contribution to an educational institution. Donors receive an additional 30% of their money through a tax refund.

“Many people are looking for opportunities to give,” Carder explained. “This program gives people the opportunity to meet a real need.” Carder mentioned that people who don’t understand the scholarship program sometimes worry that donations could skew their overall church budget. In most instances, however, Carder states this is not a concern.

“Generosity breeds generosity,” Carder said, referencing this program. He mentioned that most of the donors privately give to the church matching fund separate from their tithing. Encouraging a spirit of generosity, this program allows people to get in the habit of meeting other’s needs. Carder suggests that this practice is beneficial for a healthy church budget.

Since 1988, many students have received generous donations through the church matching program. In the 2014-2015 school year alone, this scholarship program raised over $600,000 which benefited over 700 students. With 430 churches participating last year, this program allowed scholarship to become a church engagement process, benefitting the givers as well as the students.

“For many people, these scholarships that are matched by IWU make the difference between whether or not a student can afford to attend,” Snowden explained.

Although paying for college is often a challenging process, through the church matching scholarship, private donors make a quality Christian education financially possible.


Written by Katherine Arch, Story Teller for Alumni Relations. Katherine Arch is a Senior English major at Indiana Wesleyan, and a member of the Track and Cross Country teams. She is passionate about sharing people’s stories and celebrating their unique divine potential in written form. Katherine also operates a website called “Join the Ranch” at jointheranch.weebly.com. It is about pursuing God’s purpose for her life and vocation.