Scholarships and Awards

Named Scholarships

The named scholarships are part of the Institute’s pool of resources. They honor students of exceptional promise and achievement in their field of study. The overall amount of the named scholar’s financial assistance is not affected. The Porter, MacLean, and Seder scholarships had their beginnings at the School of Sacred Music at Union Theological Seminary and were transferred to the Institute of Sacred Music upon its move to Yale University.

The Mary Baker Scholarship The Mary Baker Scholarship in organ accompanying was established in 2005 to honor the memory of Mary Baker, wife of Dr. Robert Baker, founding director of the Yale Institute of Sacred Music. The scholarship is awarded each year to a returning organ student who has demonstrated in the opinion of the faculty the ability and collaborative spirit necessary for a skilled organ accompanist.

The Robert Baker Scholarship Robert Baker is the former director and dean of the School of Sacred Music at Union and the first director of the Yale Institute of Sacred Music. This scholarship is for an organ student completing his or her first year. The scholarship was established at Dr. Baker’s retirement.

The Reverend Louise H. MacLean Scholarship An ordained minister of the United Church of Christ, the Rev. Louise H. MacLean was a graduate of Union Seminary who admired the work of the School of Sacred Music at that institution. The scholarship is to be used for the benefit of worthy students.

The Menil Scholarship A scholarship designated for a student concentrating in the visual arts. Monies are given by the Menil Foundation.

The Hugh Porter Scholarship Director (1945–60), Union Seminary School of Sacred Music, Hugh Porter was a distinguished organ recitalist and organist at St. Nicholas Collegiate Church in New York and a highly respected teacher. This scholarship is undesignated.

The E. Stanley Seder Scholarship Organist and choir director at People’s Church in Chicago, E. Stanley Seder also served as organist of the Chicago Sunday Evening Club, which met in Orchestra Hall. This scholarship is undesignated.

Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) Grants

Yale was awarded $4.7 million from the second round of awards from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF II) grants. Yale will award all of the $4.7 million, including the share that could have been applied to institutional expenses, as emergency grants to Yale students with exceptional financial need. More information about these grants can be found at

HEERF II Appeals Process Now Open

Those students who did not receive a HEERF II grant in the first round may now appeal that decision. Students must have been enrolled in at least one semester in the 2020–2021 academic year, have received some form of financial aid (scholarship, grant, loan, or job) in the 2020–2021 academic year, and must have COVID-19 related expenses that were not covered by other forms of financial aid. In order to start the appeals process, students need to contact their school’s financial aid office. The student’s financial aid officer will determine if they are eligible to appeal and will enable them to complete the online appeals application. Final eligibility determinations will be made by the HEERF Working Group. Appeals will be reviewed in the order they are received. HEERF II appeal funds are limited and completing an application for an appeal does not guarantee the receipt of funding. The deadline for submitting an appeal is July 22, 2021.

Special Awards for Music Students

The named awards will be given to first-year music students in addition to the usual scholarship awards, and will be renewable for a second year if progress is satisfactory.

The Baker Award Named in honor of Professor Emeritus Robert Baker, the award is given to one or more students deemed to be among the top 1 or 2 percent of the young organists in the country and who have elected to study at the Yale School of Music and the Institute of Sacred Music.

The French Award The award, named in honor of Professor Richard French, is given to one or more choral conducting students, deemed among the best in the country, who attend the Yale School of Music and the Institute of Sacred Music.

fifth semester for church music certificate course

Participants enroll as nondegree students for the fifth semester at the Yale Divinity School and receive a full-tuition scholarship. However, they are not eligible for Federal Direct or Graduate PLUS loans. They are eligible for alternative loans. Nondegree students are not eligible for deferral of loans. International students may need to apply for an extension of their student visas.

Special Awards for Divinity Students

Special awards are also available for Divinity students selected by the faculty. The Institute is especially interested in students who demonstrate a lively interest in cross-disciplinary interaction and study.

Special Support for Students

The Institute of Sacred Music may provide limited financial support in the form of grants for student participation in competitions, professional events, summer language study, and Colloquium presentation expenses. Interested students should first consult the ISM Office of Student Affairs to ascertain the specific grants for which they are eligible. All requests must be made in advance, using the ISM Student Grant Request form, and approved by the faculty and director of the Institute. Guidelines for support may be obtained from the financial aid officer.

The Institute also underwrites the Yale Schola Cantorum, whose members receive payment for participation except if receiving academic credit for participation. Link to Performing Ensembles