PRVEPA’s “Round Up for Education” awards 45 scholarships to JCJC students

Written By: Teresa McCreery w/Kurt Brautigam
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Date Submitted: 2017-11-03 15:44:37

ELLISVILLE – For the last five-years, member-consumers from Pearl River Valley Electric Power Association’s 12-county service area have generously donated to the Round Up for Education Scholarship program. The generosity of the thousands of members who voluntarily pay a few cents more on their electric bill has conceivably changed the lives of more than one-thousand students over the years. This year, forty-five Jones County Junior College students each received $800 scholarships from the “Roundup for Education Scholarship program through PRVEPA, with a total of 240 students getting scholarships to use at any of Mississippi’s Community/Junior Colleges this year.
“This program makes a difference in being able to make ends meet or not and to earn a college education.  It makes a huge difference and we hope other electric power associations will learn about this program. It speaks volumes about the folks in south Mississippi and how they value education,” said JCJC President, Dr. Jesse Smith.
Over the last five-years, 211-JCJC students received a financial boost from the support of the Association’s member-consumers who round up their bills to the nearest dollar each month. When the program was established in 2012, PRVEPA Manager of Members Services, Kurt Brautigam said they really hoped it would be beneficial and have some success. However, it turned out to be even better than they expected. More than one million dollars has been collected through the extra dimes, nickels and quarters over the last five years.
“I don’t think in our wildest dreams we would have realized how many lives we could touch in just this short period of time.  It’s really due to our members who are rounding up their bills and allowing this money to go into this fund so that these students can be assisted,” said Brautigam.
JCJC freshmen nursing major, Lakelyn Bohannon said she was thrilled to receive the financial assistance from the PRVEPA scholarship program, knowing it impacts hundreds of freshmen entering college.  With plans to become a nurse practitioner, scholarships like this will help her reach her goal.
“I am very thankful to benefit from this scholarship that helps supplement my education expenses.  I am the second person in my family to receive this scholarship. My sister received the scholarship in 2013,” said Bohannon.
Columbia resident and veterinary science major, Yasmine Pope said, “Receiving this scholarship will take a lot of weight off of both me and my family and it will help my family from worrying about how some of my education will be paid for. It feels great. It feels wonderful and it is very exciting to know that there are people in this world who care enough about me/us to get an education that they would go above and beyond to help us.”
Scholarships are available to members who do the roundup, as well as for their spouses or dependent children who are enrolled as freshmen this fall. PRVEPA General Manager Randy Wallace noted that the Association has always tried to find ways to improve the quality of life for its members and the communities where they live. 
“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….These funds will help create long-term educational opportunities as well as economic benefits, which is good for everyone in the communities we serve.”
Forrest County Agriculture High School graduate and JCJC civil engineering major, Matt Mordica is a prime example of who PRVEPA had in mind when starting the scholarship program.  Mordica said the PRVEPA scholarship gives him more time to save up for tuition when he transfers to Mississippi State.
“This scholarship paid for my books and other related expenses which allow me to save for my future.  I am very thankful for the generosity of others.”
His mother, Marcia Mordica explained the PRVEPA Roundup for Education scholarship was easy to apply for and is much appreciated.  
“We are fortunate Matt earned an academic scholarship but the PRVEPA scholarship covered everything else.  He can attend college with fewer financial concerns.”
There are more than 49,000 meters in the PRVEPA.  Money collected for the scholarship program is deposited in an account overseen by the Greater Pine Belt Community 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.
Scholarship recipients this year include 129 students attending Pearl River Community College, 45 at Jones County Junior College and 45 at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. An additional 21 students are attending eight other state community colleges. Overall, students came from 21 different high schools and homeschool programs.
Round Up for Education funds collected after August 1, will go toward next year’s scholarships. Applications for 2018 scholarships will be available in November.
2017 Community College Scholars Program (240 Students)
Community Colleges Students are Attending
Pearl River          129
Gulf Coast           45
Jones                 45
Southwest          10
Hinds                   3
Co-Lin                  2
East MS                2
East Central          1
Meridian               1
Holmes                 1
Northeast MS        1
High Schools Recipients Attended
  Oak Grove
  Forrest Co. AHS
  West Marion
  East Marion
  Columbia Academy
  Lamar Christian
  Lawrence Co.
   Others                        13 


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