Sumter Utilities scholarship lifts financial burden for veterans in college

Updated: Sep. 4, 2018 at 10:33 AM EDT
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(WIS) - Supporting student military members at the University of South Carolina Sumter just got easier thanks to a gift from Sumter Utilities.

USC Sumter wants to ease the financial burden by creating a "last dollar" scholarship to cover the financial shortfalls between federal aid, the cost of tuition and educational fees. This scholarship is specifically targeted to students at Shaw Air Force Base who are enrolled at USC Sumter and Palmetto College through Shaw and was initiated by local veterans and leadership at Sumter Utilities

Many people assume that active duty military members and veterans attend college for free with the help of the G.I. Bill and other federal tuition assistance. Although these certainly help ease the financial burden of college, most military members have to pay additional out-of-pocket fees before attending class and earning their degree.

That cost difference averages only $150-$200 per course, but often makes the difference between choosing USC Sumter or another institution that covers all of their out of pocket costs.

"Sumter Utilities Inc. values the sacrifice and commitment of our nation's brave service men and women, and more specifically we are proud of our hometown heroes from Shaw AFB, South Carolina," Sumter Utilities President Derek O'Bradovich said.

"We are honored to live and work in the same community of such fine military professionals. The Sumter Utilities and USC Sumter Scholarship Fund is but a small token of our gratitude to the men and women that deploy and serve our country while still in pursuit of higher education."

Dean of the University, Michael Sonntag added, "We are extremely grateful for the generosity of Sumter Utilities and appreciate their contribution to our community and USC Sumter. This is the beginning of a relationship between our organizations focused on the success of our students, support of the military and economic development in our region."

The Sumter Utilities and USC Sumter Endowed Scholarship Fund for Shaw AFB Hometown Military Heroes covers active military, veterans, reservists, national guard and their families. It provides support for students pursuing their associate degree on-ground at USC Sumter or enrolled in one of 13 online Bachelor's degrees through Palmetto College.

Three local military members have been named as the first recipients of this scholarship. TSgt Kathleen Brophy, TSgt Michael Leone and SSgt Jhodeci Redmon will receive enough funds from the scholarship to close the gap of what they owe and help them pursue their degrees.

Charlotte, North Carolina native SSgt Jhodeci Redmon has been in military service a little less than eight years and is stationed at Shaw Air Force Base. "I am going to school currently for a degree in Biology to eventually get accepted into a dental school," Redmon said. "College has been a hard thing to achieve due to the constant moving, deployments and TDY's. I cannot express how much this scholarship means to me."

USC Sumter welcomes additional contributions to the scholarship from the community for this important scholarship in support of our esteemed service men and women. For more information on this scholarship, please call or text Executive Director of Development and Alumni Services Vicki Singleton at 803-500-4792 or email

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