Improving Student Affordability

Scholarships and The Cairn Fund

A top priority of Cairn’s campaign is to continue making a biblical education affordable and accessible to students of all backgrounds by providing financial aid. The Cairn Fund provides an opportunity to directly invest in current and future generations of students by educating them to serve Christ in the church, society, and the world.

Priority Goal

$3.6 million
114% complete!

The University launched nearly 20 new programs in Fall 2018, drawing in a more diverse array of student interests.  This year’s freshman class totals 229 students, a nearly 17% increase from Fall 2018. With over 91% of our students receiving financial aid, we ask those who have witnessed the impact of a Cairn education to reinvest in a new generation of students.  The need for financial assistance increases with our growing enrollment, and you can make an impact in the lives of these students by giving to The Cairn Fund. Every gift matters because every student matters.


Help us improve student affordability

Learn about our other campaign priorities


Chat with our Admissions Counselors

For more information regarding the Forward campaign, contact Tammy Butler, Vice President for Philanthropy, at or 215.702.4395.

Specific Need Scholarships


International Christian School Leadership Scholarship (ICSLS)

Cairn University sends students to serve all over the world. This scholarship supports missionary families and brings global diversity to Cairn. The ICSLS is awarded to new students from approved international partner schools who are children of missionaries or the school staff. This scholarship will be renewed annually as long as the student maintains good academic standing and demonstrates financial need.

New Horizon Scholarship Fund

In alignment with Cairn’s belief in the sanctity of life, this scholarship was established by Cairn University in partnership with ChoiceOne Pregnancy & Sexual Health Resource Centers. This fund provides financial aid to qualified ChoiceOne clients who wish to attend Cairn for undergraduate education. This financial aid is part of a larger system of support that includes childcare, academic support, and a nurturing Christian community.

Lighthouse Scholarship

As Cairn continues to partner with organizations that mirror the University’s mission and core values, this scholarship was created to provide financial support to students nominated by partnering organizations. This scholarship assists both Cairn and its partners in fulfilling their missions and advancing the reach of biblically minded leaders.

Music Scholarship

This scholarship was established to advance the University’s ability to attract talented students pursuing a degree in music. The scholarship is granted by The School of Music to students who successfully pass a music audition and exhibit outstanding performance ability and potential. This scholarship will be renewed annually as long as the student maintains good academic standing in the selected music program.

Named and Endowed Scholarships


Make a difference by creating a named scholarship or endowed scholarship at Cairn University. It is a beautiful and impactful way to give in memory or honor of a loved one.

By establishing a designated scholarship, you can provide direct aid to students within a given area of study or criteria set by the scholarship establisher.  The criteria* can be based on need, academic discipline, or specific interests.

There are three options for establishing a new scholarship:

Expendable Scholarship

  • Initial gift of $10,000 is required to establish a new expendable scholarship.
  • An expendable scholarship will begin being awarded to a student meeting the established criteria within the first year. Funds will continue to be awarded for a minimum of five years or until the fund is fully expended. Additional funds can be added to lengthen the duration of the scholarship.
  • On a yearly basis, the originator of the scholarship will receive a financial fund report and thank you letters from the student recipients and will be invited to an annual scholarship reception hosted by the University Advancement department.

Endowed Scholarship

  • $20,000 is the minimum amount required to establish a new endowed scholarship.
  • Upon receiving the minimum, the endowment is established, and base on the income generated through the investment, funds will be made available to begin awarding the scholarship. Due to market fluctuations, first awards could be made within three to four years.
  • On a yearly basis, the originator of the scholarship will receive a financial fund report and, once awarded, thank you notes from the student recipient(s).
  • The impact of this endowed scholarship will be felt for decades to come.

Hybrid Endowed Scholarship

  • To establish a new hybrid endowed scholarship, a minimum of $25,000 is required.  $5,000 of the gift will be used to begin the scholarship, and the remaining $20,000 will establish endowed portion of the scholarship.
  • The hybrid scholarship allows the awards to begin within the first year using the initial funds and to award the scholarship until funds are available from growth of endowment. The balance of the funds will be used to establish a scholarship endowment, and based on the income generated through the investment, funds from the endowment may not be available for three to four years. Once funds are available from the endowment, the balance of the expendable scholarship will be folded into the scholarship endowment.


*As a part of the scholarship creation process, preferences for the scholarship criteria suggested by the originator are reviewed and approved by Senior VP for Advancement, senior VP for Finance, Financial Aid, and Legal departments to ensure that they meet legal guidelines and ongoing awarding feasibility.

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