VM Foundation has successfully disbursed a record sum of over $7 million to secondary and tertiary scholars through the VM Foundation Scholars Programme.
The scholars received awards including the Primary Exit Profile (PEP) Bursary; Junior Plan Scholarship (awarded to the top PEP student in each county); as well as the tertiary-level Future Plan Scholarship; STEM (science, technology, education, mathematics) Scholarship and Bursary; and the Master Plan Scholarship and Bursary.
During an award ceremony on September 13 at the VM Building Society Half-Way-Tree branch, VM Foundation CEO Samantha Charles announced that this year's programme has benefited over 70 students, with the foundation increasing the number of beneficiaries in the Master Plan and STEM scholarship categories, and increasing the bursaries for each from $200,000 to $250,000, which represents a 25 per cent increase over last year.
"The VM Foundation is committed to empowering individuals within our communities with programmes focused on improving their quality of life. With the unwavering support of VMBS and the contributions of our dedicated team members we were able to empower more youth of Jamaica by offering financial aid to a larger number of young individuals as well as amplifying the impact of their individual scholarships. We were so impressed with the quality of applicants and were so impacted by the need that we had to respond in a meaningful way," she said.
This year, through its digital application platform, the foundation received 425 application submissions for the various bursaries and scholarships — which represent an overall 98 per cent increase from the 215 application submissions received for the corresponding period last year.
The scholarship recipients also received age-appropriate financial literacy workbooks through the VM Financial Education to Empower (VM FETE) Programme, aimed at helping them to understand how money can work for them, as well as VM's approach towards and principles of proper money management.
The recipients will also benefit from mentorship — incorporated as another component of the awards package in the scholarship programme in 2021 — to enhance their soft skills, connect them with professionals in their academic disciplines, and equip them with essential competencies for success in today's competitive world.