3 Things to Do Now to Get Ready for UMHEF’s Application Season!

The next application season for UMHEF scholarships opens soon on January 1! If you or a student in your life is hoping to attend a United Methodist-related school for the 2023-2024 year, now is the time to get ready to apply for available awards.

Here are 3 things you can do NOW to prepare:

  • Review our scholarship programs for details and to make sure you meet the eligibility requirements.
  • Planning to apply for the UM Dollars or Scholars program? Contact your sponsoring church now to make sure they’re able to provide the initial $1,000 award. (If your church doesn’t have funds budgeted, consider sharing these fundraising tips!)
  • The General Named Endowed Scholarships require letters of recommendation from your pastor and a teacher/professor. Now’s a great time to identify these persons and let them know to watch for an email inviting them to do so after you submit your application.

BONUS TIPS: Check out our FAQs page for answers to commonly asked questions. Want a convenient reference for our award process? Download the 2023 Scholarship Guide.

Donors, You’ve Got Mail!

When scholarship recipients send “Thank You” notes to the United Methodist Higher Education Foundation, we know those messages are really meant for you, our friends and donors. Your prayer and financial support make the dreams of hundreds of students come true each year.

In the below letter, Leslie W., a first-year seminary student at Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University, expresses gratitude for what generous donors like you make possible:

Leslie, UMHEF Scholar

“Thank you very much for the extraordinarily generous scholarship. I am incredibly touched by the immense generosity, and I want everyone to know how much I truly appreciate your support and encouragement. Please know that it makes my dreams a reality, and I could not be here without you.

I am a hybrid student through SMU Perkins, so besides what goes toward books, your scholarship money helps me offset travel costs that accumulate as I make 5-6 trips from Birmingham, AL to Houston, TX each year for in-person classes.

I chose Perkins because the distance learning program was flexible enough to meet my family’s needs, and it emphasizes community and intentional relationship-building. Because I’m now able to continue making these trips and continue in my seminary program, I can continue investing in the lifelong relationships that God is blessing me with [at SMU Perkins].

Knowing and learning from these people will certainly strengthen my ministry. God is molding me using the people your scholarship allows me to study alongside!”

Over the coming weeks, please consider a 2022 year-end, tax-deductible gift to grow and sustain this work. The UMHEF staff and students, including Leslie, who received scholarships this year are grateful. Every gift makes an impact. Thank you!

UMHEF 2023 Scholarships Guide

Virtual Scholarship Webinars

Applications open January 1 for the next round of United Methodist Higher Education Foundation scholarships, which will help fund the 2023-2024 academic year.

We have published a comprehensive resource with complete details about the awards that will be available to students planning to attend a United Methodist-related college, university, or seminary. While these details are also available here on our website, the following UMHEF Scholarships Guide serves as a reference you can keep with you as you prepare to apply. Includes information about eligibility, scholarship descriptions, how to apply, deadlines, and more.

Still have questions? Contact us.

Praying Through Advent

As we journey through the season of Advent, which begins November 27, the United Methodist Higher Education Foundation invites you to set aside time to pray for others. Bookmark this page to follow along with the weekly prompts below, which we’ll also be posting on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter now through Christmas.

Week One: HOPE

Sunday, November 27 – Saturday, December 3
This week, pray for those who need their faith and hope restored.


Week Two: LOVE

Sunday, December 4 – Saturday, December 10
This week, pray for those who are seeking love, those you love, and those who love you.


Week Three: JOY

Sunday, December 11 – Saturday, December 17
This week, pray for the people and things in your life that bring you joy.


Week Four: PEACE

Sunday, December 18 – Saturday, December 24
This week, pray for people in conflict with each other or within their own souls. May they experience deep peace.


Welcome New UMHEF Trustees

The United Methodist Higher Education Foundation is blessed to have at the core of its team an impressive board of trustees. Each trustee shares in the grand vision to make it financially possible for United Methodist students to be educated at a UM-related institution of higher education. At its annual meeting in September, the UMHEF board approved the nominations of the following new trustees.

Dr. Herman J. Felton, Jr. is the is the 17th President and CEO of Wiley College, a UM-related school. He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Edward Waters College, a Juris Doctorate from the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Administration and Supervision from Jackson State University. Dr. Felton is also co-founder of the Higher Education Leadership Foundation (H.E.L.F.), an organization ensuring that a pipeline of transformational, highly skilled and principled leaders are identified and cultivated to meet the needs, challenges and opportunities facing the nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Tari Hughes has served as President and CEO of the Center for Nonprofit Management since December 2016. Before joining CNM’s team, Tari served as President of the Nashville Public Library Foundation for twelve years. Tari serves on the Metro Parks and Recreation Board, the Nashville Parks Foundation board, and the board of directors of Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association. In 2020-2021, she was appointed to the Governor’s Statewide Economic Recovery Group representing the nonprofit sector. She is an active member of the Nashville Downtown Rotary Club and is a Leadership Nashville and Leadership Middle Tennessee alumna.

Bishop Bruce R. Ough is a retired Bishop of The United Methodist Church, having served from 2000-2020 in the West Ohio Area then the Dakotas-Minnesota Area. In 2016, he became the President of the Council of Bishops to serve a two-year term. He is currently Executive Secretary of the Council of Bishops of The UMC, a position he has held since September 2020. He is also a member of the Council of Bishops Executive Committee. He serves on the Board of Trustees for Dakota Wesleyan University and the E. Stanley Jones Foundation. In 2020, Bishop Ough was named Distinguished Alum for Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary and has received honorary Doctor of Divinity degrees from Dakota Wesleyan University and United Theological Seminary.

The Reverend Dr. Javier A. Viera is president of Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, where he also serves as Professor of Education and Leadership. From 2014-2020, he served as Dean of the Theological School at Drew University, where he also served as the university’s Vice Provost and as Professor of Pastoral Theology. Prior to his service at Drew, he held positions in university campus ministry and congregational ministry for two decades, leading rural, suburban, and urban congregations.  Dr. Viera is a graduate of Florida Southern College, Duke, Yale, and Columbia universities and hails from San Juan, Puerto Rico, the city where he was born and raised.

Please help us in welcoming Dr. Felton, Ms. Hughes, Bishop Ough, and the Rev. Dr. Viera to UMHEF’s esteemed board of trustees. We are grateful for the expertise and passion they’re sure to bring to our shared work in support of United Methodist students.

College Care Package Ideas + More!

Wondering what to include in care packages for your college student? We asked some of our UMHEF scholarship recipients what they’d most like to get. Here’s a list of some of those items, plus a few ideas to put some extra care into those care packages.

College Care Package Ideas

Most Requested Items

It may come as no surprise that the most requested item students would love to get in a care package is money!

  • Grocery store gift cards
  • Coffee shop gift cards
  • Restaurant gift cards
  • Coins or cash for the laundry room
  • Cash for spending on whatever they need

Also not surprising, is the second most popular item: food!

  • Favorite candy and snacks
  • Microwave popcorn
  • Homemade cookies or treats
  • Items from their hometown bakery

Practically Perfect Items

Including some practical necessities in care packages can offer students support during those long hours of writing papers and studying for tests.

  • Pens, pencils, or highlighters
  • Colorful sticky notes
  • Note cards
  • Portable reading light
  • Travel coffee mug
  • Stress ball

Items to Encourage and Inspire

Don’t underestimate the power of an encouraging word or self-care moment to keep students going!

  • Handwritten card or note
  • Mementos or photos from home
  • Printed Scripture Cards
  • Coloring book and crayons or markers
  • Lotion, lip balm, or body scrub

More Resources to Support College Students

When in doubt about what your college or seminary student would be most excited to get in a package, just ask! You’ll never go wrong asking for ideas straight from the source.

If you’re looking for other ideas for how to care for the students in your life, check out our Pinterest board of care package ideas (and other resources) we’ve collected over the years.

Remembering UMHEF Trustee Bob Forrest

It is with fondness and an appreciation of a life well lived that the UMHEF community remembers Board of Trustee member Bob Forrest, who passed away on Thursday, September 15, 2022.

Bob had served as a United Methodist Higher Education Foundation trustee since 2017. As his obituary states, “Bob loved the Lord and the United Methodist Church.” During his time with the foundation, Bob passionately supported United Methodist students seeking higher education. With particular interest in students within his home state of Georgia, Bob and his wife Martha have advocated tirelessly to raise funds and awareness through the Martha Forrest Scholarship Fund. The lives of many students have been impacted in countless ways through his work, for which we are profoundly grateful.

The prayers of the UMHEF staff, Board of Trustees, and community go out to Martha and the family during this difficult time.

At the family’s request, gifts may be given in Bob’s memory to the Martha Forrest Scholarship Fund below.

Tips for Raising Church Funds for UM Dollars for Scholars

The UMHEF United Methodist Dollars for Scholars (UMDFS) award is a unique scholarship program that kicks off with a $1,000 scholarship from an applicant’s United Methodist Church. For some congregations, however, money is not readily available but the desire to support students is. If you are a sponsoring church that is low on funds, check out the following tips for raising these funds.

The UM Dollars for Scholars award is a matching program. UMHEF, participating UM-related schools, and UM Conference Foundations may each match for a total of up to $4,000. Learn more.

WAYS TO RAISE $1,000 CHURCH SCHOLARSHIP

  • It takes a village. While we prefer the $1,000 to be sent to UMHEF on one church check, more than one United Methodist congregation may contribute. Consider reaching out to other congregations to pool funds. These may include the church the applicant attends while at school, the student’s parent’s church (if different), etc. If multiple churches will contribute and want to write their own checks, please send all checks together at one time if possible.
  • Many hands make light work. Similarly, ask groups within your church to sponsor part of the $1,000 total. Your youth or college ministry, a large Sunday School class, outreach groups the student may volunteer with, etc.
  • Pass the plate. We have heard of congregations incorporating a special offering specifically for the UMDFS program.
  • Get creative! Want to really drum up excitement for the students in your congregation who you want to support through this program? Host a fundraising event. Ideas include a talent show with “admission,” car wash, gift wrapping station at Christmas time, silent auction, or church yard sale.
  • Get students involved. If you’d like to involve students who plan to apply for the UMDFS program, they may want to reach out to family, neighbors, teachers, and friends and ask them to donate to your church for this designated purpose.

UMHEF is here to help your church be successful in supporting students aiming for higher education. We are happy to provide custom announcement suggestions, worship slides, and/or traditional bulletin inserts for your UMDFS fundraising efforts. Email our Director of Communications/Public Relations, Teresa Tysinger, or call her at 615-649-3975.

The application season for the 2023-2024 academic year will be January 1 – March 1, 2023. Now’s the perfect time to make plans for funds to support the students in your church who plan to apply for the UMDFS program. Talk to the youth and college students in your church now and be ahead of the game! As always, we thank you for the amazing impact you have on countless United Methodist students. 

Striving for More Instead of Settling for Less

Madison, Paine College Student & UMHEF Scholar

As she begins her junior year at Paine College in Augusta, Georgia, Madison is striving for more through UMHEF. She is one of nearly 1,000 students around the world impacted by United Methodist Higher Education Foundation (UMHEF) scholarships this year.

A recipient of the UMHEF Martha Forrest Scholarship for the 2022-2023 academic year, Madison is able to focus on her studies without struggling to cover the costs.

“This scholarship plays a role in successfully paying for my education and ensures I can reach my goals without having a doubt in my mind about paying for it.”

Madison, Paine College Student & UMHEF Scholar

With the support, Madison can focus on her studies and reach for her dreams. “I plan to work my way into pediatrics after I receive my undergraduate degree,” she says. “I love children, as well as helping people, so why not go into pediatrics and be the best at it?!”

A serious, driven student, Madison explains, “I always strive for more instead of settling for less.” Among her achievements, Madison was selected to represent Paine College as a White House Initiative Scholar in 2021. She adds, “This made a lot of people proud—including myself!” The staff of UMHEF is also proud—as I hope you are—to be a part of her journey.

Your contributions help thousands of young United Methodists like Madison, attending one of over 100 UM-related institutions of higher education, strive for more instead of settling for less.

Please consider a gift of $25, $50, $100, $500, or any amount to support our students. When you give to the United Methodist Higher Education Foundation, you empower our young people and set them up for success.

Scholarship for Chaplaincy Candidates Still Open

Military chaplain holding a bible

The United Methodist Higher Education Foundation (UMHEF) is still accepting applications for its Chaplain Samuel Grover Powell Scholarship, which supports seminary students preparing chaplaincy in a branch of the US military.

Applicants of this award DO NOT have to be members of The United Methodist Church.

Students in their middle or senior year at any accredited theological seminary and involved in a Chaplain Candidacy Program or serving a military reserve component after active duty in one of the United States armed forces are eligible. The value of this award varies. Learn about additional criteria and apply here.

This fund was established in 1980 by the family and friends of the Reverend Samuel Grover Powell after his death. Powell served as a chaplain in the United States Air Force for 28 years. He believed that “Military people deserve the best qualified chaplains, for they are not only serving God, but their country.”

Through its many programs, UMHEF awards more than $2 million in financial aid annually. Find out more about us. Please note that UMHEF is a private non-profit organization and is not affiliated with the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of The United Methodist Church.

Introducing UMHEF’s New Director of Development

July 13, 2022 | Nashville, TN

Marti Williams-Martin, Director of Development
Marti Williams-Martin, UMHEF Director of Development

The United Methodist Higher Education Foundation is pleased to announce the newest member of its team. Marti Williams-Martin has joined the staff as our Director of Development.

Marti comes to UMHEF with over a decade of experience with The United Methodist Church as Director of Interpretation and the Director of Marketing and Engagement for The Upper Room. She has an MDiv and is a certified fundraising executive (CFRE). In addition to her work in nonprofit fundraising and marketing, Marti has served as an Associate Pastor in Richmond, VA and New York City. She also worked extensively in the Christian book publishing industry and lived in Dubna, Russia for a couple of years teaching English at a small economics college. The common thread throughout her career is her interest in sharing stories of impact and connecting people to life-changing resources, which is at the core of UMHEF’s vision.

Marti will oversee development/fundraising initiatives and donor relations for the foundation. Connect with her anytime at mwilliams@umhef.org or by phone via her direct line at 615-649-3970.

Learn more about the UMHEF staff.

UMHEF Scholar Turned Trustee

Jadd Masso, UMHEF Scholar and Trustee

Jadd Masso first received a UMHEF scholarship in 1995 as a student at Southern Methodist University and is now a lawyer living in Dallas, TX. He first joined the UMHEF Board of Trustees in 2010 and has since served in many roles of leadership. Below, Jadd shares some thoughts about making the connection between scholar and servant.

When I received a scholarship from UMHEF to help pay for my undergraduate education at Southern Methodist University, I had no idea of how great a blessing it really was. Of course, the money for tuition as appreciated, but what I didn’t realize then was how the scholarship would further strengthen my connection with the church.

I grew up going to Sunday school and was active in my youth group during high school, but (like many college students) was not particularly involved thereafter. Receiving a scholarship from UMHEF was, to me, a reminder of who I was, where I came from, and the community I belonged to.

While at SMU, I received frequent reminders from UMHEF about the church’s support for me and for hundreds of other students like me across the country. UMHEF stayed in touch with me after graduation, through law school, and as I began my career. As a young adult, I was eager to become a donor to UMHEF. I wanted to pay back the gift that had been given to me, so that other students like me could have the same opportunities–not just to attend a church-related college or university, but to do so with the love and support of their church community. My UMHEF scholarship inspired me to rekindle my involvement at church as an adult and to take on leadership roles in my local congregation.

I have also been honored to serve on UMHEF’s board of trustees since 2010. I support UMHEF now because I know that the scholarships we give are so much more than assistance with tuition. Our scholarships are a way for the church to connect with its youth during a transformational time in their lives and to inspire its future leaders.

Jadd’s reflection first appeared in the 2021 UMHEF Annual Review. Read the full report here.