Lydia Weller always knew that God had a plan for her. She just didn’t see it when she first started applying to college.
After encountering one challenge after another—most of which involved setbacks in financing her education—Weller deferred her dream and spent the first six months of what would have been her freshman year helping her parents, Michael and Rachel Weller, settle into to their new home and positions as PC(USA) mission co-workers in Gambela, Ethiopia.
“The cost of education has affected my family in four ways: my two older brothers, my sister and finally me,” Weller says. “The cost of education has increased with each child, and so has the stress of paying for school.”
Fortunately, Weller was able to take her own advice and have a little faith.
“For anyone seeing higher education as impossible, my advice is to seek God,” she says. ”During the first year of dealing with college and finances, I was completely discouraged, but looking back now, God had a plan and his timing was important.”
In seeking God—and a way to make her college education affordable—Weller first contacted the Presbyterian Mission Agency’s office of Financial Aid for Service and later Warren Wilson College, both of which offered her assistance. In August 2012, she found herself unpacking her bags in a small dormitory room at the PC(USA)-related college in Asheville, N.C.
“Our students are so appreciative of the help they receive from Presbyterian Mission through programs like the National Presbyterian College Scholarship,” says Laura Bryan, associate for Financial Aid. “Lydia’s persistence paid off. She concluded that her first-choice school would leave her with an unsustainable amount of expense and educational debt. She kept searching for the right fit, sustained by prayer and her faith in God’s plan for her.”
Throughout the academic year, Financial Aid for Service continues to offer students participating in scholarship programs opportunities for additional aid, information about programs serving college students and opportunities for engagement.
“The high cost of college is often discouraging, but it has also created an understanding that I am being provided an opportunity many do not get offered,” says Weller. “For that reason, I pour all that I am into my studies and my experience at Warren Wilson College.”
Weller, whose dream is to fight human trafficking, hopes to attend law school. She knows that God will help her find a way.
“The money I have received from the PC(USA) has been an answered prayer each year,” she says. “Each year, I prepare myself for it to be the year I am unable to continue my education, but as my family and I have witnessed, God is faithful and uses his servants in amazing ways.”
The application deadline for the National Presbyterian College Scholarship is March 1. The program provides students attending PC(USA)-related colleges with a $1,500 scholarship for up to four years. Current National Presbyterian College Scholarship participants seeking renewal for 2015–16 will receive a link to their application and essay topic through email by March 15. For an application or more information, visit the website or email Laura Bryan.