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Offer: Call for Applications: Lilly Scholarships in Religion for Journalists (Deadline: 1 October 2012)

Journalists interested in taking college courses in religion or spirituality may apply for a scholarship program offered by the Religion Newswriters Association.

Journalists will receive scholarships for up to $5,000 each to study religion at any accredited college, university or seminary. Scholarships cover expenses including tuition, registration fees and books. Scholarships are funded by a generous grant from the Lilly Endowment, Inc. to the Religion Newswriters Foundation, RNA’s charitable arm.

Scholarships are available to full-time journalists in the U.S. and Canada

DEADLINE: Oct. 1, 2012

Click here to apply.

Applications should contain proposed course and projected costs for one course per application period. See FAQ’s 11, 13 and 25 below.

See a list of recipients, universities and course selections.

FAQs
1. What is the name of the scholarship program and how is the program funded?
2. What is RNA?
3. Why offer scholarships?
4. What do scholarships pay for?
5. Are there non-eligible courses?
6. Who is eligible to apply?
7. Do I have to be a member of RNA?
8. How do I apply for the scholarship?
9. What if I have a problem submitting electronically?
10. What formats are acceptable to send electronically?
11. What’s the application deadline?
12. How many scholarships will be awarded?
13. Can I receive multiple scholarships?
14. Who picks the scholarship recipients?
15. What are some sample courses I could take?
16. How can I locate learning institutions in my area?
17. How long do I have to use the scholarship?
18. After I take a class what are my reporting responsibilities?
19. Why aren’t religious journalists eligible?
20. I’m getting my master’s degree in a subject unrelated to religion. Can I apply?
21. I am attending school and only working part-time. Can I apply?
22. Can I take my course through auditing?
23. I live overseas and want to apply for a scholarship. Is that possible?
24. Can I take a language course such as Aramaic or Hebrew to help with my reporting?
25. Can I take four consecutive classes or two per quarter?
26. I am a freelance journalist in the secular media. What is my eligibility?
27. I am a freelance journalist in a degree granting program. Can I apply?
28. I cannot send the online application on my computer at work.
29. If I use my vacation time and travel to another state for a two-week course, does the scholarship apply?
30. Should I apply now for a class that I want to take later in the year or wait for the appropriate application period?
31. Are classes in either undergraduate or graduate level studies applicable to the program?
32. I work full-time and am finishing my bachelor’s degree. Can I apply?
33. Is Independent Study applicable to the scholarship funds?
34. Is domestic or foreign travel covered with the scholarship funds?
35. What if I want to take a course and then travel on my own to enhance my understanding of a particular faith?
36. What if I have to travel to another site to take a course?
37. Are Canadian journalists eligible to participate in the scholarship program?
38. Can Canadian journalists join RNA?
39. Is membership required to get the scholarship?
40. Once the application is accepted what are the next steps?
41. What if I need to drop the class once it has begun?
42. Additional questions?

FAQ:

1. What is the name of the scholarship program and how is the program funded?
The Lilly Scholarships for Journalists program is funded by a two-year grant from the Lilly Endowment, Inc., to the Religion Newswriters Association’s non-profit charitable arm, the Religion Newswriters Foundation.

2. What is RNA?
Religion Newswriters Association (RNA) is the premier source for training journalists about covering religion. Its mission is to help journalists achieve excellence in writing and reporting on faith, values, ethics and spirituality in the news media. The national, non-profit and nonpartisan association was founded in 1949 and has more than 500 members. RNF was created in 1999 to help support RNA with its programming and funding.

3. Why offer scholarships?
To enhance religion reporting. Through education, reporters can build knowledge about religious history, trends, training, theology, doctrine and scriptures. By attending courses in their communities, journalists can expand their knowledge of religion, resulting in reporters who are more sensitive to the impact and nuances of faith or develop their personal spirituality.

4. What do scholarships pay for?
Scholarships cover tuition, registration fees, books, and other incidental expenses for journalists to take a course in any aspect of religion at accredited North America colleges, universities or seminaries. Scholarships are also valid for traditional courses, one to two week intensive courses or approved distance-learning programs for those same accredited programs.

5. Are there non-eligible courses?
Programs operated by journalism training organizations or any course not taught as a course offering at an accredited college, university or seminary would be considered ineligible.

6. Who is eligible to apply?
Full-time print and broadcast journalists working at general circulation (or audience), non-religious media outlets are eligible to apply. Freelance journalists may be eligible but must demonstrate that both a majority of their time is spent and income is from religion news in secular media markets. RNA/RNF employees, selection committee members and their family members are ineligible.

7. Do I have to be a member of RNA?
No. However, to learn more about membership click here.

8. How do I apply for the scholarship?
Applications are accepted online.

9. What if I have a problem submitting electronically?
Please print out the document and mail the completed application and materials to:

Lilly Scholarships
Religion Newswriters Foundation
P.O. Box 2037
Westerville, OH 43086-2037

Or call, Amy Schiska at 573-355-5201 ext. 3#

10. What formats are acceptable to send electronically?
Word documents, text and PDF formats are acceptable.

11. What’s the application deadline?
This next scholarship application deadline is Oct. 1, 2012. (Notification will follow in 4 weeks.)

12. How many scholarships will be awarded?
In 2012, $68,000 in scholarships will be awarded for individual scholarships up to $5,000. Recipients may receive up to four scholarships over a period of three years.

13. Can I receive multiple scholarships?
Yes. Recipients may receive up to four scholarships, however, only one class per application period.

14. Who picks the scholarship recipients?
A selection committee comprised of award-winning journalists who are also RNA members all cover the religion beats for their respective media outlets across the nation.

15. What are some sample courses I could take?
Any and all courses may be taken. (Click here for a sample of some of the religion courses that are available.)

16. How can I locate learning institutions in my area?
Click on the following links to obtain listings:
Peterson’s Education Portal
University of Phoenix
DegreeDirectory.org
CollegeandUniversity.net
U101 College Search
Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada (theological schools and seminaries)
Orthodox Monasteries of North America (monasteries)
Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching (rabbinical colleges)
Pluralism Project
BrainTrack’s Colleges and Career Guide

17. How long do I have to use the scholarship?
We expect you to enroll within three months of the notice of acceptance. Scholarship checks will not be issued until you have officially registered for the class and we have received notice of your registration and received your signed stipend agreement.

18. After I take a class what are my reporting responsibilities?
Applicants are required to submit a brief report detailing their experience, benefits and challenges, grade in course, and syllabi within four weeks after grades are received. Additional scholarships will not be rewarded to the same participant unless the summary report is complete.

19. Why aren’t religious journalists eligible?
These scholarships are intended to give journalists a deeper understanding of religion, so that ultimately the public can benefit by better, more informed religion reporting in the non-religious news media. Other programs exist for journalists working in the religious or denominational media. Although certainly journalists working for the religious press could benefit from courses in religion, that is not the specific mission of this program.

20. I’m getting my master’s degree in a subject unrelated to religion. Can I apply?
Yes, as long as the class subject meets our guidelines (see question 6) and you are not enrolled as a full-time undergraduate or graduate student and you maintain your status as a full-time journalist throughout the course, you can apply for one class.

21. I am attending school and only working part-time. Can I apply?
No. This program is intended to educate full-time journalists and free-lance reporters who work 30 hours a week writing for the secular media.

22. Can I take my course through auditing?
It depends on the institution and its policy for taking a single course. We encourage you to look into your school’s Adult Education Studies or Continuing Education Studies program. RNF needs to see a grade at the completion of the course. We can discuss this with a professor if you are only permitted to audit after other options have been explored.

23. I live overseas and want to apply for a scholarship. Is that possible?
Only U.S. and Canadian journalists are eligible to participate in the program at this time. However, we will monitor the requests from journalists in other countries and continue to review this policy.

24. Can I take a language course such as Aramaic or Hebrew to help with my reporting?
If the course is offered through its Religion Studies Department we would consider the request. Courses such as French, Spanish or German are not eligible.

25. Can I take four consecutive classes or two per quarter?
You must remain a full-time journalist while you are taking a course. The course selection must coincide with our application process and within the stipend cap of $5,000. We ask that you complete one course before you apply to another.

26. I am a freelance journalist in the secular media. What is my eligibility?
We ask that you work an average of at least 30 hours a week as a freelancer and that more than half of your income is from writing in the secular news media.

27. I am a freelance journalist in a degree granting program. Can I apply?
Yes, if you can answer yes to the following questions:
1) more than half my income is from work published in the mainstream secular media.
2) more than 30 hours a week are spent in freelance journalism.
3) I report my freelance reporting income/losses on federal tax returns.

28. I cannot send the online application on my computer at work.
You may print the application and fax it to our office at 888-707-3755. Questions regarding problems with our online application, call Amy Schiska at 573-355-5201 ext. 3#.

29. If I use my vacation time and travel to another state for a two-week course, does the scholarship apply?
Yes, this scenario is applicable assuming the $5,000 stipend will meet your needs.

30. Should I apply now for a class that I want to take later in the year or wait for the appropriate application period?
Please apply no earlier then four months before the course begins.

31. Are classes in either undergraduate or graduate level studies applicable to the program?
Yes.

32. I work full-time and am finishing my bachelor’s degree. Can I apply?
Yes. See question No. 21.

33. Is Independent Study applicable to the scholarship funds?
If the Independent Study is approved by the professor and the dean of the academic department prior to the application process, it would be considered for the program with written documentation and provided syllabi. Domestic or foreign travel is not applicable toward Independent Study.

34. Is domestic or foreign travel covered with the scholarship funds?
If travel is part of the official course syllabus and a required part of the course, yes. (As a reminder, your status as a reporter must remain fulltime at your employer.) If travel is self-study, a mission trip, and/or outside of the syllabus (self-directed), it would not be covered by scholarship funds.

35. What if I want to take a course and then travel on my own to enhance my understanding of a particular faith?
Based on your application eligibility you may apply to receive funds for the course. However travel would be at your own expense.

36. What if I have to travel to another site to take a course?
You would be eligible to apply for reasonable travel expenses not to exceed the stipend cap assuming your class is applicable to the guidelines.

37. Are Canadian journalists eligible to participate in the scholarship program?
Yes. Effective Feb. 1, 2005, Canadian journalists are eligible to participate in the program—assuming they meet all other defined guidelines. He or she may take a course at any Canadian or American accredited Institution/or distance-learning course.

38. Can Canadian journalists join RNA?
Yes. To learn more about membership click here.

39. Is membership required to get the scholarship?
No.

40. Once the application is accepted what are the next steps?
You will be notified by email and issued an agreement letter to sign. You must sign up for your class within 90 days. Once you have registered, fax proof of registration and the signed stipend agreement to the RNF office. Your check will be mailed to you immediately.

41. What if I need to drop the class once it has begun?
You need to immediately notify the RNF office. Within 30 days, you will be required to return any unspent funds, including any refunds issued from the institution, with an explanation of why you did not complete the class. You may be disqualified from receiving any future RNF scholarships.

42. Additional questions?
Please refer to the application, or contact Amy Schiska at 573-355-5201 ext. 3#

From AWID: http://www.awid.org/Get-Involved/Calls-for-Participation2/Lilly-Scholars...

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