The Student Aid Committee desires to correct two misconceptions that were conveyed in your Synodical Preview article “Blessings and Opportunities” (May 15, 2014, p. 364). Both had to do with the special Seminary Student Assistance Fund administered by the Student Aid Committee. The part of our report to Synod 2014 that appeared in the printed Agenda showed a balance of more than $100,000 in this fund. And that part of our report showed no disbursements from it. Understandably, you concluded that the Seminary Student Assistance Fund is a “large, little-used fund.” But it is not. Disbursements over the last five years totaled approximately $117,000. We have reported those disbursements to synod each year in the part of our annual report that is treated in closed session and is therefore not in the printed Agenda. The pertinent numbers do appear also, later, in the financial spreadsheet in the Acts of Synod. But we see now that, to avoid misunderstanding, we should in the future include that information in the part of our report to synod that gets into the printed Agenda.
The other misconception is in regard to the purpose of the fund. You write that it is “intended for emergencies.” That is true. But Synod 2005 did not restrict it to that. The adopted motion states that the funds will be “distributed to the seminary students who demonstrate additional need.” Emergencies can and do arise; however, the funds are primarily disbursed monthly to cover normal budgeted needs.
What a blessing this fund has been for our students, and for us as churches to assist these men and their families.
For the Student Aid Committee
Doug Mingerink, Pres.