PRVEPA’s “Round Up for Education” awards 23 scholarships to JC students 

ELLISVILLE – Twenty-three Jones College students are able to continue their college education with tuition assistance from Pearl River Valley Electric Power Association’s “Round Up for Education” scholarship program. A check for $11,500 collected from PRVEPA members who rounded up their bills each month was divided amongst the Jones College students who each received a $500 scholarship.

“This scholarship really helped me with the opportunity to stay on campus,” said Patrick Smith, an engineering major from Oak Grove. “It’s convenient living on campus and I think it’s helped me with my grades by staying connected to others on campus. I’ve enjoyed the campus activities too.”

In all, 187 community college students from PRVEPA’s 12 county district received a financial boost this fall, thanks to the generous spirit and support of the Association’s members. For the last ten years, members who signed up for the Round Up for Education Scholars Program round up their bills to the nearest dollar each month, providing scholarships to 2,025 students. Scholarships are available to members who do the round up, as well as for their spouses or dependent children who are enrolled as freshmen in community college each fall.

“The Round Up for Education program is an example of how electric cooperatives, and their members can improve their communities through education,” said PRVEPA CEO/General Manager, Matthew Ware. “Education is vital to improving the future for all of us in south Mississippi.”

Additionally, Will Arinder from the Improve community of Marion County said he’s very appreciative of his scholarship but he’s even more thankful for the technology PRVEPA offers its members.

“PRVEPA’s fiber internet is extremely fast and that’s helped us out a lot! We had the slow satellite internet before, and the fiber internet is a whole different world which helps in school, playing video games and streaming videos. I appreciate the scholarship along with the fiber internet,” said the forestry major.

The more than 52,000 meters served by PRVEPA has provided more than $2 million collected and 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, with 187 students each receiving a $500 scholarship.

“Getting this scholarship pays for school, which feels good. I’m very thankful for this opportunity!” said psychology major, Aliyah Watts of Sandy Hook.

Amazingly, donations under $12 a year from members rounding up their electric bills have enhanced the lives of thousands in the region.

“Sometimes the smallest gestures, like donating 50 cents, can make the biggest impact in our communities,” said Ware. “While it may not seem like your spare change can do much, when combined with the generosity of your fellow Pearl River Valley Electric members, you can help change the life of a fellow member and improve the quality of life in our communities. Working together is the cooperative way and that can make a big difference.”

Scholarship recipients this year include 111 students from PRCC, 41 at MGCCC, and 23 at Jones College with an additional 12 students attending four other state community colleges. Overall, students came from 21 different high schools and homeschool programs. Round Up for Education funds collected after August 1, each year go towards next year’s scholarships. Applications for 2023 scholarships will be available beginning in November.