ELLISVILLE, Miss. (WDAM) - 31 Jones College students received scholarships from Pearl River Valley Electric Power Association’s Round Up for Education program this year.
The $500 scholarship is funded by the spare change donated by PRVEPA’s more than 51,000 members in the company’s 12-county service area.
“I am grateful for the scholarship money from Pearl River Valley Electric Power Association’s scholarship program,” said freshman Emma Burge. “Most of the scholarship is used for school expenses, which is a big help to students during these hard times. My family and I really appreciate this!”
Burge, who is a graduate of Oak Grove High School, is currently pursuing a degree in the music and entertainment industry.
Burge’s family found out about the program two years ago when Burge’s brother, Max, came to JC.
Dr. Ben Burge, an educator and Jones College Director of Bands, and also Emma’s father, spoke on his appreciation of the financial assistance since he knows the value and fully understands the importance scholarships can have on helping students earn a degree.
“As a parent with two college-aged children, I sincerely appreciate the financial opportunities that this organization provides. It greatly helped my family get both students off to college,” said Burge. “I also know first-hand, as an educator, scholarships go a long way in helping students achieve their educational goals.”
PRVEPA members round up their bill to the nearest dollar each month and funds are collected after Aug. 1 to go towards next year’s scholarships.
A total of 175 community college students received a $500 scholarship this year because of PRVEPA’s members, as 107 Pearl River Community College and 27 Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College students received financial assistance. 10 additional students are attending four other state community colleges with PRVEPA scholarships.
“The purpose of electric cooperatives has always been to make life better in the areas they serve,” said PRVEPA’s General Manager, Randy Wallace. “Our Round Up for Education program is an example of how cooperatives can improve the lives of their members through education which is vital to improving the future for all of us in south Mississippi.”
PRVEPA members have offered their spare change to collect more than $1.6 million for the past eight years. The money is deposited in an account overseen by the PineBelt Foundation.
10 percent of each year’s funds are set aside in an endowed fund for future use, and the remaining money is divided equally between the number of eligible applicants.
1,651 students have been assisted from the spare change over the last eight years from PRVEPA members, with a total of 319 Jones College students benefitting from the generosity of the members.
“I hope our members are able to see the effects this program can have, helping more than 1,600 community college students begin their college careers,” said Wallace. “We are thrilled with the results and know that members' participation in the program will have a positive impact for years to come.”
Jones College President, Dr. Jesse Smith, expresses his gratitude for PRVEPA’s desire to invest in the students living in their service area and believing in them to succeed.
“We’re very thankful for their vision and I’m very thankful their members believe in this scholarship program as well. It is obvious their support will help our state continue to grow,” said Smith. “Anytime a civic club or organization invests in its people, like the PRVEPA Round Up for Education scholarship program, the whole community benefits.”
Scholarships are available to members, their spouses or dependent children who are enrolled as freshmen each fall and who participate in the Round Up for Education Program.
Students can apply for the scholarship in November of each month.
Below is a list of all 31 JC students that received assistance from the Round Up for Education program: