ELLISVILLE – Jones College freshman, Emma Burge is one of 31 Jones College students who received a scholarship from Pearl River Valley Electric Power Association’s Round Up for Education program this year. The Oak Grove High School graduate received the $500 scholarship, funded by the spare change donated by PRVEPA’s more than 51,000 members in the electric power cooperative’s 12-county service area.
“I am grateful for the scholarship money from Pearl River Valley Electric Power Association’s scholarship program. 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!” said Burge who is pursuing a degree in the music and entertainment industry.
Her family discovered PRVEPA’s scholarship program two years ago when Burge’s brother Max came to Jones. Emma’s father, Dr. Ben Burge said he appreciates the financial assistance. As an educator and the Jones College Director of Bands, Burge knows the value and fully understands the importance scholarships can have in helping students earn a college 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.”
This year, a total of 175 community college students received a $500 scholarship because of PRVEPA’s generous members. At Pearl River Community College, 107 students received the financial assistance and 27 students from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College were eligible for the scholarship. An additional 10 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.”
For the last eight years, the electric power cooperative’s members have been offering up their spare change to collect more than $1.6 million, which is deposited in an account overseen by the PineBelt Foundation. Ten percent of each year’s funds are set aside in an endowed fund for future use. The remaining money is divided equally between the number of eligible applicants. Over the last eight years, 1,651 students have been helped from the spare change from members of PRVEPA, with a total of 319 Jones College students benefitting from the benevolence of PRVEPA’s 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 is very grateful 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. Members round up their bill to the nearest dollar each month. The Round Up for Education funds collected after August 1, go towards next year’s scholarships. Students can apply for the scholarship beginning in November of each year.
Jones College Students Hometown High School
Nyla Zarai Abram Foxworth West Marion
Ashely Brooke Allee Purvis Presbyterian Christian School
Cameron Aultman Sumrall Sumrall
Emma Burge Oak Grove Oak Grove
Chandler Burns Hattiesburg Shaw HS
Sullivan Clark Sumrall Sumrall
Hunter Scott Courtney Bassfield Columbia Academy
Bryce Crawford Hattiesburg Oak Grove
Teel Garcia Hattiesburg FCAHS
Johni Graham Hattiesburg Oak Grove
Justice Hanberry Sumrall Sumrall
Halle Hendrix Purvis Purvis HS
Kyle Herring Hattiesburg Columbia Academy
Coleman Kendrick Purvis FCAHS
Tytan Lee Lumberton Sacred Heart HS
Tyler Lowe Purvis Purvis HS
Mackenzie Mauldin Sumrall Sumrall
Jaclyn Mordica Hattiesburg FCAHS
William Purser Hattiesburg Oak Grove
Conner Rayburn Purvis FCAHS
Taylor Ready Hattiesburg Sumrall
Ethan Robertson Kokomo West Marion
Jacob Rogers Brooklyn FCAHS
Kealy Smith Hattiesburg Oak Grove
Rebecca Speights Silver Creek GED
Abigail Swilley Hattiesburg Oak Grove
Colby Thompson Columbia Columbia Academy
Laka Till Seminary Seminary
Benson Trussell Hattiesburg Sumrall
Hannah West Purvis Oak Grove
Nathan Whitworth Hattiesburg FCAHS