Bob Jones University’s WORLD Fund and Timothy Program provide funds to allow a small number of students from evangelistically unreached countries to enroll at BJU. Dr. Bob Jones III created both programs. The programs are not intended to offer general financial aid to any students in third-world countries but help a select few students with a missions focus.
The intention of the Timothy Program is not to bring hundreds of students but a handful of very needy ones who will return to minister in their countries. The fund pays their entire school bill minus whatever they can work to pay by working on campus. Mark Vowels, chair of the Division of Ministries, said, “[The WORLD Fund and Timothy Program] offer a BJU education for the goal of promoting biblical Christianity in other parts of the world.”
The programs are administered primarily through the BJU Admission office, but Vowels serves as a mentor and counselor to students in the programs. The programs are intended to equip students from foreign countries, particularly countries relatively closed to missionaries, to receive a Christian education and return home equipped to spread the Gospel.
These programs are not typical scholarship programs. Vowels said students from many countries can find scholarship programs in one area or another. “These programs are pretty inclusive, so they’re reserved for people who probably are otherwise completely destitute,” Vowels said.
The WORLD fund aids students in pursuit of any degree that will help them spread the Gospel back home, while the Timothy Program is available exclusively to those in missions. The WORLD in WORLD Fund is an acronym for Workers Of Righteousness Lending Dollars.
This fund initially focused on alumni, encouraging former students to donate a dollar amount matching their birthday for each birthday. Currently the WORLD Fund is supported by donors who have heard of the fund and who volunteer to give. Bob Jones University students become eligible for the programs only through recommendation by people the University is familiar with, primarily missionaries.
A process involving recommendation, application and review by committee determines which individuals will be included in the programs. BJU currently hosts one WORLD Fund student and five Timothy Program students. These numbers vary over the years but are typically relatively low due to few applications and financial limitations of the programs.
The Timothy Program was established in 1977, and the WORLD Fund was founded in the decade following. According to Vowels, both programs have since enabled hundreds of students to receive a Bob Jones University education who would otherwise never have the opportunity and enabled them to further the spread of the Gospel around the world.
BJU faculty and staff take a Timothy offering once a month to take this mission on as a special project.