Explainer: How Texas Baptists support higher education

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Many Texas Baptists know their churches’ Cooperative Program gifts help support Christian higher education institutions around the state, but how much money do schools receive? How is the level of support determined?

Nine universities—Baptist University of the Américas, Baylor University, Dallas Baptist University, East Texas Baptist University, Hardin-Simmons University, Houston Baptist University, Howard Payne University, the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor and Wayland Baptist University—and two seminaries—Logsdon and Truett—have received Texas Baptists’ cooperative giving funds in recent years.

In 2019, those 11 educational institutions received $7,332,898 through Texas Baptists’ cooperative giving, according to information provided by the BGCT controller’s office.

Overall funding for higher education through the BGCT decreased 5 percent from 2015 to 2019, reflecting Cooperative Program receipts from churches. Still, in the past five years, the universities and seminaries collectively received $38,192,987.

Two broad categories

Funds the Baptist General Convention of Texas distributes to the universities and seminaries primarily fall into two categories—base institutional support and theological education support.

Base institutional support for the nine universities related to Texas Baptists totaled $4.28 million in 2019. Last year, the nine universities collectively received $1.7 million in theological education support, while Logsdon Seminary and Truett Theological Seminary together received $1.2 million.

A significantly smaller amount from the BGCT provides some scholarship assistance to children of Texas Baptist ministers. Five universities accessed $80,000 in 2019.

Affiliated universities—those that allow messengers to the Baptist General Convention of Texas annual meeting to elect a simple majority of their governing boards—each received $535,524 in base institutional support from Texas Baptists’ cooperative giving in 2019.

Two universities—Baylor University and Houston Baptist University—relate to the BGCT through contractual agreements that allow messengers to Texas Baptists’ annual meeting to elect a minority percentage of their governing board. Baylor and HBU each received $265,681 in base institutional support through the BGCT in 2019.

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Theological education support funds paid to universities and seminaries provide scholarship support for undergraduate and graduate students who are preparing to serve in church-related ministry vocations such as pastor, church staff, missions or chaplaincy.

The amount of theological education support varies from one school to another and from one year to another based on the number of students preparing for ministry and the semester hours taken.

In 2019, theological education support ranged from $38,825 for Houston Baptist University to $683,825 for Dallas Baptist University. Last year, Truett Theological Seminary received $962,250 and Logsdon Seminary received $241,800.

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