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Second Appeal Summary
PA ID# 123-90001; Vennard College
DSR ID# 19231; Debris Removal College Grounds
Citation: FEMA-1191-DR-IA; Vennard College; DSR 19231
Cross Ref.: Private Non-Profit; Educational Institution; Bible College; Ministry
Summary: Following the snowstorm disaster in the winter of 1997, Vennard College submitted a request for federal disaster assistance as a private non-profit entity. FEMA prepared DSR 19231 for $3,252 for debris removal from the college grounds. Upon review of documentation provided by the college, FEMA determined that the majority of the degree and certificate programs offered by the college were ministerial in nature. Because students would tend to have career objectives in the Christian ministry rather than other professional pursuits, FEMA determined that the college was not open to the general public. In accordance with 44 CFR 206.221(e), the college was deemed ineligible for public assistance funding. In the first appeal to the Regional Director, Vennard College submitted documentation from the Department of Education confirming that the college met the definition of an eligible institution under the Higher Education Act of 1965. However, the Regional Director denied the appeal on the basis that the institution's facilities are used primarily for religious purposes or instruction and, therefore, the college is ineligible. Vennard College submitted a second appeal stating that it was eligible for FEMA funding based on the following: 1) The college received FEMA funding following a disaster in 1993. 2) The college is open to the public as it admits students of any race, color, national origin, gender, or age 3) The college is a recognized educational institution by the Federal Department of Education. 4) The college offers more than religious instruction. 5) Only the college chapel is primarily used for religious purposes. 6) The damage in question was to the grounds which are open to the general public.
Issues: Is Vennard College open to the general public and, therefore, eligible for FEMA funding?
Findings: No. Vennard College is an interdenominational Bible college whose curriculum provides undergraduate education in Biblical and theological studies and professional studies in selected areas of Christian ministry and lay leadership. Therefore, the college precludes non-Christians and is not open to individuals of non-Christian faiths.
Rationale: 44 CFR 206.221(e)