The California Water Service Group has expanded its annual College Scholarship Program, which officially opened up for applications in January, according to a press release. 

Beginning this year, eligible students in areas served by the utility’s New Mexico subsidiary now join those in its California, Hawaii, Washington subsidiaries in being able to apply for one of the scholarships under the larger $80,000 program. 

Two $10,000 grand-prize scholarships will be awarded and additional smaller awards for college and higher-education expenses will start at $2,500. 

To be eligible for the 2020 College Scholarship Program, students must be pursuing a degree in higher education and plan to enroll in a full-time undergraduate study program at an accredited college, university or vocational-technical school for the upcoming academic year. 

Scholarships will be awarded based on academic achievement, community service and financial need. 

“By expanding the California Water Service Group scholarship program, we are pleased we can support event more future leaders in the communities we serve,” said Martin A. Kropelnicki, president and chief executive officer. “We want to help reduce any financial barriers these bright, hard-working students may have on their path to success and help make good things happen in our communities.”

The annual scholarships are part of the group’s stockholder-funded philanthropic giving program and don’t affect customers’ rates.

The program is administered by Scholarship America, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. 

To learn more about the scholarship program or to apply, students can visit the websites for their utility. 

For the California Water Service, visit www.calwater.com/scholarship. 

The application period will close at 1 p.m. on April 10. Winners will be announced in the summer. 

Last year, Willows native Dominic Brock was awarded a grand-prize scholarship of $10,000. 

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