College releases more than one million dollars a year for scholarships

The Lord told me, College principal says

Morling College, the Baptist college in Sydney (and merging with Vose in Perth this month) has announced that a million and a half dollars will be made available for scholarships in the next three years. College principal Ross Clifford explains how this generous program came about.

Our new scholarship program came about from a real sense of God’s leading. I was planning a report on scholarships when the Lord clearly directed me to consider a million dollars being made available from an independent asset over three years. This program plans to release over $300,000 per year for general scholarships and $100,000 per year from the Tinsley Bequest, specifically for scholarships in evangelism, mission and church planting.  To my delight, the Morling leadership team and board confirmed this as God’s direction. This should mean the potential of 40-50 substantial scholarships per annum to join those recipients of our existing scholarships and fellowships.

Our director of ministries, Steve Bartlett, and his team, are equally excited about this program. Together, we believe that this will energise our ministry together. It will have a significant and powerful impact on Morling’s vision and mission to equip and shape Christ-centred followers to impact the world. These scholarships will also provide deeper opportunities for us to partner with the Baptist Association’s bold goal of growing God’s kingdom with 1000 healthy churches by 2050 (the ‘Gen1K goal’).

These scholarships aim to allow students to focus on their studies and participate in college life by relieving financial pressures that come through tuition fees or living expenses. It is my hope that this revitalised scholarship program will enable women and men who have not had the opportunity to come to Morling to study, including those from culturally diverse and Indigenous communities. It may also allow students to dedicate at least one year to full-time study if their circumstances would normally prevent it. While we can’t guarantee a scholarship for everyone, this is a breakthrough provision to extend kingdom ministry.

It was like the Lord wrote it on the wall.

Our general scholarships, which could be up to $10,000 year for a student, will be awarded in recognition of a student’s sense of vocation and plans for ministry, as well as the financial impact a scholarship will make on their ability to study. Other scholarships are designed to equip students in specific ministry or training areas. Full-time and part-time students may apply.

Eternity asked Ross Clifford how the Lord Jesus led him in this decision.

I was reading a consultant’s report on Morling’s scholarship program and as I am reading it, I’m asking myself the question “how do we start this program in a significant way that indicates we will be committed to it?” And it was like the Lord wrote it on the wall. He said: “Ross, Morling has been able to put away assets outside of the foundation for a day like this. Take a million dollars and 500 thousand dollars from Tinsley.” It was that clear and direct to me.

This doesn’t normally happen to my life. I went to sleep, woke up in the morning and started thinking that doesn’t sound right. I checked with the leadership team and the executives of the board, and the board all said “Yes, we believe this is a God-given direction.” So we located the proper assets, and this is the start of the scholarship program that doesn’t eat into our foundation’s fund from our development but comes from separate assets. So, basically $1.5 million will be spent over three years. And our commitment is to create another $1.5 million, and another and another. This is our commitment. This is what we are doing.

We also asked what the scholarship program will look like each year.

Every student is on a scholarship in the context that we have reduced fees from the normal ACT (Australian College of Theology) fees. Every Bible and theology student is on a scholarship, and the other courses like counselling, chaplaincy and spiritual care matches those fees.

It is imagined that it will be at least 50 scholarships, $500,000 a year.

This scholarship is part of our system. We have some wonderful other scholarships, like the $30,000 a year – two scholarships from Toga, the people we’ve done joint development with on our site, which is just a blessing, and other scholarships. But this will release a whole new pool of scholarships in evangelism, mission, preaching, post-grad work, counselling and chaplaincy.  It is imagined that it will be at least 50 scholarships, $500,000 a year. It would be more if you break down the amount. Probably the maximum will be about $10,000 a scholarship, which will go a long way to cover someone’s fees or accommodation. It can be for anything associated with their study. We will encourage local churches to support students where possible by matching that scholarship fund.