MANASSAS, VA (WWBT) - The money is finally in, and every student promised a scholarship from Reconciliation Community Church has received it.
In February, around 350 students were awarded $5,000 scholarships from the church in Manassas, but the church and its pastor came under fire when that money didn't show up in students' accounts to help them pay their tuition.
The glitch that caused the delay has been fixed, and that $5,000 in each student account is a relief for three Old Dominion University students and their parents.
It's bittersweet, they say, because some had to take out loans to cover the money that wasn't there. They say they were in constant fear of dropping out and delaying school because of lack of funds.
It's a little bit of a relief it's here," one student said. "I was a little bit relieved after I took out the loans, knowing that I was going to be in school. But it's a little bit more of a weight lifted now that I know the money will be here for me to pay those loans off."
Pastor John Peyton canceled an interview scheduled with NBC12 back in February, telling our camera crew to leave. But on the phone, Peyton said the scholarships were posted a week before we called.
"I am disappointed because those few students doubted me," he said.
Student Karlissa Dillard said, "We don't have a problem thanking him about the scholarship, but it's like, you want us to call on your time? When we were calling you and pleading as to answer our questions, then nobody wanted to hear us out. They just sent us straight to voice mail every time."
Alisha, Asia and Karlissa say they're glad they contacted 12 Investigators. "Absolutely, yeah," Karlissa said. "I think it kind of shook him up a little bit like, OK, they're serious about getting what they deserve."
Peyton says he's sorry the church was late, but they did deliver what they promised. Reconciliation Community Church gave out $1.7 million to 353 college students who wrote essays and agreed to be part of a mass service on the National Mall in Washington D.C. in July 2014. The big festival featured gospel greats and public testimonies.
The church was also supposed to give away five cars, but didn't have them then.
Peyton recently sent photos of the new vehicles the church bought and parked, ready to give to the winners.
"This is really good. You don't see $5,000 scholarships every day. You don't get them, yeah," Karlissa said.
Peyton says there was a problem transmitting investments. It was out of his control. He says he notified schools and students and paid late fees students incurred. Peyton says for 30 years he has given to the community and will continue in various ways, including providing more opportunities for children to attend college.