NORFOLK, Va. - Dominion Energy is making a major investment in higher education.
The company is starting a scholarship fund to support African American and other underrepresented minority students.
They plan to provide $10 million in scholarships over six years.
This year, there will be $500,000 in scholarships awarded.
The scholarships will be based on a combination of need and merit.
"The successful applicants will have a strong academic record - at least a 3.0 - they will have demonstrated leadership in their schools and communities; they will have maybe balanced work and school together and share a statement of their goals and aspirations with us," said Dominion Energy spokesperson Bonita Billingsley Harris,
If a student's family has also faced extraordinary hardships over the past year due to the pandemic, they're encouraged to include that information.
The scholarships are $5,000 for students at two-year schools and $10,000 for students at four-year schools.
They're renewable every year if the student maintains certain criteria, such as a 2.5 GPA.
The deadline to apply is Jan. 25.
To learn more about eligibility and to send in an application, click here.
Dominion has also committed $25 million to be shared by 11 historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).
Hampton University and Norfolk State University are two of the recipients.
The money will be used to support endowments, capital projects, operating expenses and educational programs in clean energy.
Billingsley Harris says this initiative is especially important to Dominion after the events of the past year.
"We had the racial protests, which helped raise awareness about a lot of things. We [also] had the pandemic, and we know that our minority communities have been hit especially hard which just widens the achievement gaps. So we wanted to help level the playing field for those talented students who want to go to college but may face barriers," said Billingsley Harris.
“We have partnered with historically Black colleges and universities for nearly 40 years, offering volunteer and financial support,” said Thomas F. Farrell, II, Dominion Energy’s executive chairman. “This scholarship program is another way for us to support the students who will one day lead our nation.”
The scholarship application period is open until Jan. 25 at 3 p.m. Central Standard Time.
To be eligible, students must:
- self-identify as Black or African American; Hispanic or Latino; American Indian or Alaska Native; Asian; or Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander with higher education expenses; and
- be high school seniors or graduates, or current college undergraduates residing in Connecticut, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Idaho, Wyoming or Utah, with plans to enroll full time at an accredited two- or four-year college, university or vocational-technical school for the entire upcoming academic year.
Students can learn more and apply online here.