The Perpetual Education Fund, created in 2001 to provide loans for schooling to needy Mormon students, is a 150-year echo of one of the very first efforts at mutual aid set up by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is modeled on an earlier LDS revolving charitable pool called the Perpetual Emigration Fund (see 1849 entry). While the Emigration Fund was established to help isolated Mormons move to the church’s new heartland in Utah, today’s Education Fund offers church members living in any part of the globe financial assistance to train and educate themselves.
Loans can be used for technical, vocational, or professional education, and can include tuition, training materials, books, and licensing fees. To qualify for a loan, students must go through a process similar to the selection process for missions service, including getting a bishop’s certification of church involvement. The fund is supported by donations from fellow Mormons and loan repayments from previous beneficiaries. The program now operates in 63 countries. Around 100,000 students, mostly young adults in poor nations, have so far financed their studies using the PEF.
- Program description, lds.org/topics/pef-self-reliance/perpetual-education-fund?lang=eng