United Cooperative Services is set to award $86,000 this summer in energy scholarship awards to 69 students who are members of the cooperative.

Last year, the co-op awarded 68 scholarships, 19 of which were given to students living in Erath County. According to company officials, the scholarship program was created to encourage and assist in the educational pursuits of the co-op’s members and their families.

“As a member-owned electric co-op, it’s essential to demonstrate how getting your power from a not-for-profit cooperative has numerous advantages,” United CEO Ray Beavers said. “Our scholarship award program is simply another way for United Cooperative Services to show the members and communities we serve that we look out for their best interests.”

This year the co-op will award 66 scholarships valued at $1,000 each. Three additional scholarships will be awarded: two scholarships valued at $5,000 each and one scholarship valued at $10,000.

United Cooperative Services began awarding its scholarships to local high school students and returning college students more than 19 years ago. In those first years, United awarded one scholarship to one student at each high school in its service area.

“Electric co-ops are obligated to educate the young members in their communities about the unique benefits of electric cooperative utilities,” said Beavers. “Our hope is that, through this scholarship application process, these young people learn more about the cooperative way of doing business - that we’re more than just electricity providers.”

To date, more than 660 students have received United scholarships totaling more than $680,000 in award money. Winners are chosen from numerous applicants area-wide based on financial need, leadership, community involvement and school activities.

The scholarship application process will end June 8. Applications will not be accepted after the June 8 deadline. Applications must be filled out online at www.united-cs.com.

Graduating high school seniors must meet a number of criteria, which includes being an active member of United or a dependent of parents or legal guardians who are active United members at their principle residence. Additional criteria can be obtained online at the United Web site.