The Bishop Payne Scholarship is named for the Bishop Payne Divinity School, established in 1878 in Petersburg, VA to prepare black men for ministry in the Episcopal Church. The school was named for the Rt. Rev. John Payne (1815-1874) who graduated from VTS in 1836 and was the first missionary bishop to Liberia. In 1953, VTS and Bishop Payne Divinity School merged. The assets of the Bishop Payne Divinity School became the principal for the Bishop Payne Scholarship Fund to be used for the benefit of black Episcopalians preparing for the ministry.
In the Fall of 2007, the VTS Board of Trustees voted that the Bishop Payne Scholarship Fund will provide full tuition for any full- or part-time black Episcopalian entering the Master in Divinity, Master of Arts, Licentiate in Theology, Anglican Studies, or Full-Time Non-Degree programs. Students receive the scholarship for the duration of their program.
While in the process of applying for admission to Virginia Theological Seminary, a student must also complete the Application to be a Bishop Payne Scholar
and return it to the Office of Financial Aid to request consideration.