Pearl River Valley Electric awards Round Up for Education scholarships to PRCC students

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                POPLARVILLE – Eighty-four Pearl River Community College students from throughout Pearl River Valley Electric Power Association’s 12-county service area are receiving scholarships of $1,000 to attend PRCC this year, thanks to the generous spirit and support of the Association’s member-consumers.
                More than 170 students from throughout PRVEPA’s service area are receiving  these  scholarships to attend state community colleges.
                This is the second year for the Round Up for Education scholar’s program, which is funded by members who round their bills up to the nearest dollar each month, an average of about 50 cents monthly.
Scholarships are available to members who do the round up, as well as for their spouses or dependent children who are enrolling for their first semester at a Mississippi community college this fall.
                “Throughout our history, Pearl River Valley Electric has not only been providing electric service to rural areas, but working to improve the quality of life of our members and the communities where they live,” said General Manager Randy Wallace. “We believe that education is vital to improving the future for all of us in south Mississippi, and the Round Up program was designed to encourage more young people to further their education. 
                “Members working together to achieve a common goal is a unique hallmark of cooperative organizations, and I am proud of the positive response we’ve received on this effort. More than 90 percent of our members have remained enrolled in the program and we’re very thankful for their support.”
PRVEPA serves more than 47,000 meters. Since the Round Up program began in November 2012, more than $390,000 has been collected and deposited in an account overseen by the Greater Pine Belt Community Foundation. At least 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, resulting this year in 174 scholarships worth $1,000 per student (the maximum award per the program’s guidelines).
 “This is a phenomenal opportunity for Pearl River Community College students,” said Dr. William Lewis, president of PRCC. “It is an accepted fact in today’s society that investment in higher education is one of the most significant investments a person will make in their lifetime. The opportunity that PRVEPA and its customer base is providing for students in its service area will provide untold dividends for generations to come. We are most grateful for the progressive leadership that PRVEPA has provided on this issue. It will make a difference in the lives of many students in the future and for our society in general.”
                PRVEPA determined that helping community college students would enhance the program’s impact in its initial years.
“Because of the large numbers of potential college students living on our lines, we decided to start with those attending community colleges,” said Kurt Brautigam, manager of member services. “Community colleges are an ideal place to begin higher education for many of our members, and we think the money that will be available the first couple of years will have more impact for community college students.”
Round Up for Education funds collected after August 1 go toward next year’s scholarships. Applications for 2015 scholarships will be available beginning in February.

Round Up Scholarship students

Some of the PRCC students who received the Pearl River Valley EPA Round Up scholarships include, seated from left, Faith Prats and Richard Markins, both of Columbia; Catelyn Blansett of Prentiss, Zach Tuck of Oak Grove, Alana Maliden of Columbia and Rebecca Armstrong of Foxworth; standing, Victoria Wade and Matthew Hartfield, both of Purvis; Natalia Hampton and Daizha Dillon, both of Columbia; Kurt Brautigam of PRVEPA, PRCC president Dr. William Lewis, Randy Wallace of PRVEPA, Kristyn Furr and Rachel Johnson, both of Oak Grove, and Kayla Bond of Lumberton.