Student Debt Reduction Grant

2019 Guidelines

Purpose: To reduce the amount of student loan debt incurred by clergy in appointment in the Dakotas and Minnesota Annual Conferences and increase personal financial literacy through participation in financial education opportunities.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • The applicant is a provisional or ordained deacon or elder or a licensed local pastor in good standing with the Dakotas or Minnesota Annual Conferences.
  • The applicant is under appointment and actively serving a local UM congregation or an extension ministry in the Dakotas or Minnesota.
  • The applicant is a provisional or ordained deacon or elder or licensed local pastor in the Dakotas or Minnesota Annual Conferences who has been under active appointment within the last year, but is currently on leave.
  • The applicant is able to provide evidence of current student loan debt resulting from college or seminary education.
  • The applicant has been under appointment ten years or less and completed approved financial literacy training.
  • The applicant, as described above, is eligible to receive up to $5,000 annually renewable up to three years total, not to exceed the student loan payoff.

Steps in the Application Process:

Complete the application below between July 1 and September 30, 2019. Provide documentation supporting the completion of personal finance education. If personal finance education has not occurred within three years of the application date, please contact Diane Owen, program director of the Lilly Grant, at She can provide assistance in identifying appropriate financial education options. Provide evidence of student loan debt repayment commitment and current balance, along with loan information needed for payment. Submit finance education documentation and student loan debt information to Diane Owen at or mail to: Diane Owen, 122. W. Franklin Ave., Ste. 400, Minneapolis, MN 55404-2453.

Grant Review Team and Process:

  • The grant review team is comprised of the Lilly Grant program director and the executive directors from the Dakotas and Minnesota United Methodist Foundations along with United Methodist lay people from the Dakotas and Minnesota Annual Conferences. Clergy or staff of either Annual Conference are not part of the review team. All personal information provided is held in strict confidence and not shared with anyone outside of the team without your consent.
  • The grant review team notifies the grant recipient of the application’s status within 30 days of review.
  • A grant up to $5,000 is paid to the institution holding the loan within 60 days of the application’s approval. The grant may be disbursed in one lump sum or over 12 monthly payments to one or more loan institutions.
  • A 1099 for the grant amount will be issued to the grant recipient at the end of the year.

If you have questions about the grant process or need additional resources, contact Diane Owen at

Personal Information

Please include your home address (not church address)

*First Name
*Last Name
*Address 1
Address 2
*Social security number
Clergy Information
*Are you serving a local United Methodist congregation or extension ministry under appointment of the Dakotas or Minnesota Annual Conference?
If yes, in what capacity?

Choose all that apply.

Licensed Local Pastor
Extension Ministry
3/4-time (75%)
Half-time (50%)
1/4-time (25%)
If yes, what is the name of the church(es) or extension ministry location?

Include full name of church/ministry and its city.

If yes, what annual conference are you appointed to?
If yes, what district are you appointed to?
If no, what is your current status?
Date leave began:
Please specify your status.
Financial Student Debt Information

Remember to submit evidence of debt balance and payment along with loanholder information for disbursement of funds to Diane Owen. See above Steps in the Application Process for details.

*Outstanding student loan(s) balance as of grant submission date
*Monthly payment on student loan(s) balance
Personal Financial Literacy
*Indicate what financial literacy opportunity you selected.

Grant recipients are expected to have completed personal financial literacy training within three years of the application date to be eligible for a grant. Remember to submit documentation to Diane Owen. See above Steps in the Application Process for details.

Please specify the financial literacy opportunity you selected.
*Personal Statement

Please provide a short, written statement as to how the requested grant will affect your financial situation and, if applicable, that of your family’s. (200-400 words)

Disbursement Procedures

Grants are paid directly to the loan institution. Grant recipients will receive a 1099 for the amount of award and are encouraged to seek further personal tax advice.

*Please outline what has been most helpful to you, and perhaps (beyond this grant money) would still be needed/appreciated with regard to personal financial literacy and training. (200-400 words)
*I request a Student Debt Reduction Grant in the amount of $5,000, or remainder of student loan debt (whichever is less).

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