Bluffton University affirms congregations that establish or have established programs of helping their students with college costs. The Bluffton University Church-College Scholarship Program was officially adopted by action of the board of trustees of the college on Nov. 22, 1985, and began with the 1986-87 academic year. The guidelines of the program are as follows:
Bluffton University will match dollar for dollar the first $1,000 provided by any Christian church congregation. Beyond that amount, the university will match $1 for every $4 from the congregation, up to full tuition. The congregation must provide a minimum award of $100 before the college will contribute matching funds. The university will match contributions regardless of financial need. The church's portion and the university match will be added to other aid that the student would otherwise be awarded. Federal regulations prescribe rules for packaging aid. When church-university funds are submitted after initial aid has been sent to the student, the financial aid office may be required to reduce need-based aid.
In order to participate in the program, congregations must have a scholarship program that has been approved by the church and meets Internal Revenue Service guidelines for charitable deduction. According to the Internal Revenue Service, gifts qualify for a charitable deduction only if they proceed from a detached and disinterested generosity and not from anticipation of economic gain. Parents who contribute to this program through the church and direct their gift to their child's scholarship will not meet the requirements for a charitable deduction. In addition, gifts that are given with the understanding that they will be designated for a specific person cannot be considered for a charitable deduction.
To ensure that the university is aware of those students who are eligible for matching funds, we ask that the participating churches complete and return the participation form linked below. If there are questions about the program, please contact Deb Niswander, assistant director of financial aid at 1-800-488-3257, option 2 or firstname.lastname@example.org.