ELLISVILLE – Twenty-six Jones College students were 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 $13,000 collected from PRVEPA members who rounded up their bills each month was divided amongst the Jones College students to receive a $500 scholarship.
“I live on campus which means I pay for the dorm and I have to pay for a meal ticket besides tuition,” said Christina Payton, a veterinarian science major from Oak Grove. “This scholarship helps with the expenses.”
PRVEPA Manager of Members Services, Kurt Brautigam said 214 community college students throughout the PRVEPA’s 12-county service area have received a financial boost from the generosity of its members who have more than 50,000 meters. The $500 scholarships are available to any PRVEPA members who are recent high school graduates who want to attend a community college in Mississippi.
“From dimes, nickels and pennies, our members have been changing the lives of nearly 1,500 students who have received financial assistance through the program over seven years. More than $1.4 million has been collected and deposited in an account overseen by the Greater Pine Belt Community Foundation. I’m amazed and appreciate what our members are doing to help improve the lives of these students in our communities,” said Brautigam.
Jones College President, Dr. Jesse Smith has seen how a college education can change the future of a student, which affects everyone in a community. Statistics from a study commissioned by Mississippi State University proves the value of a community college education.
“Any additional financial assistance our students receive to help them earn a degree impacts everyone in the community. According to this study, a student earns an additional $224 in wages and salaries and $30.61 of additional tax revenue if they finish one college credit hour. On average, 8,876 community college graduates enter the workforce in Mississippi, generating approximately $522 million in total wages or salaries. We are all grateful for PRVEPA’s members support,” said Smith.
Freshman Jones bio-chemistry major, Amanda Bozeman of Foxworth said she is amazed at the generosity of the PRVEPA’s members who see the value of a college education and are willing to chip in to help.
“This is an amazing program and organization because a lot of people don’t have this opportunity and these members give (scholarships) to us for being a member. It really means a lot to me and I appreciate their assistance,” said Bozeman.
To ensure the program continues to be viable in the future, PRVEPA General Manager, Randy Wallace said they have decided to increase the endowment deposit this year.
“In previous years, ten percent of the annual funds collected have been set aside in an endowed fund for future use and the remaining money was divided equally between the applicants. This year, in order to bolster the endowment and help ensure the program’s viability well into the future, each recipient received $500 and more was deposited in the endowment.”
When the program was established in 2012, PRVEPA officials hoped the “Round Up for Education” scholarship program would be beneficial and have some success. However, it has turned out to be even better than they expected. The only requirement to receive a PRVEPA scholarship is to be a current participating association member in the Round Up program. All scholarship funds collected after August 1 each year goes toward the next year’s scholarships. Applications for 2020 scholarships are available now.
2019 Community College Scholars Program (214 Students)
Community Colleges Students
Pearl River 127
Gulf Coast 44
East Central 1
East MS 1
High School Recipients
Oak Grove 34
Forrest Co. AHS 27
West Marion 18
East Marion 9
Columbia Academy 9
Lamar Christian 7