Philander Smith College Student, DeCarlos Nora Wins $500 Scholarship From GBHEM

Published On: April 4, 2023

Nashville, TN, April. 5, 2023 – Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) have been a cornerstone in developing well educated and bright African American leaders. Through the Black College Fund, the United Methodist Church financially supports the largest number of black colleges and universities receiving funding from any church body in the United States. Financial support, such as scholarships, help to increase graduation rates and retention at historically black colleges and universities. 

The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) hosted its first HBCU Scholarship Night for United Methodist students attending a HBCU. This virtual information session was designed to increase awareness about GBHEM’s scholarship programs and answer questions in an intimate setting. Over eighty students registered for the event, including business management major, DeCarlos Nora. Nora is a current student at Philander Smith College and is scheduled to graduate in 2026. By registering, students were eligible to receive a $500 scholarship; Nora’s name was picked from a special drawing and announced as the winner. 

Prior to attending the virtual session, Nora had no previous knowledge of the scholarships GBHEM offered, however he does have a strong connection to religious life on campus. “Attending chapel on campus has ultimately enabled me to continue to remain connected with my spiritual side. Back home I was able to attend church every week and I wasn’t sure if that opportunity would still be available to me when I moved across the country for college. However, I am extremely grateful that my school provides the opportunity to inspire me spiritually,” Expressed Nora. It was his connection to religious life on campus that led to him attending the HBCU Scholarship virtual night. He was invited to attend by Rev. Yow who is the current dean of religious life and campus culture at Philander Smith College.

For many HBCU students’ scholarships and spiritual life can be a major deciding factor when selecting a college. “I chose Philander Smith College because it had many elements that I was looking for in a college,” stated Nora. “It’s a small school with an excellent business program as well as a strong connection to religious life.” 

GBHEM understands the significant impact scholarships can have on education. Lack of financial support can often be a barrier to receiving an education; this is a barrier GBHEM is working hard to overcome. In 2022 The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry provided over $3 million in scholarships to students, some of whom were HBCU students.

“I think scholarships are a way to help those in need. Many people rely on scholarships to stay in school,” stated Nora. “I also believe scholarships represent a different way people can be rewarded for working hard or acknowledged for their life experiences. Personally, I came to school with the goal to leave debt-free and make sure my parents don’t struggle trying to keep me in school. Scholarships have been an extremely helpful way for me to accomplish my goal.”

While Nora is still considering what he would like to do once he graduates, some of his plans include pursuing his MBA, starting a business, or delving into real estate. GBHEM plans to support Nora during his journey as well as students all across the world desiring to become brilliant and talented leaders of the future.

For more information on GBHEM’s scholarship programs visit A full list of the 11 United Methodist related HBCUs can be view at

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