Encore Capital Group Inc., a San Diego-based debt buying firm, announced it is providing $124,000 in scholarships to students at 43 community colleges across the U.S., as part of its new national program, the Encore Capital Group Scholarship Fund.

The program, Encore's largest philanthropic initiative, will provide 124 students with a $1,000 grant for tuition at select community colleges in 2015, in an effort to support students on their path to an advanced education degree, according to Encore officials.

"We are pleased to help students obtain an advanced degree," said Sheryl Wright, senior vice president, Corporate and Government Affairs at Encore. "For many, college is the path to economic empowerment, and given the escalating costs of higher education, our grant could mean the difference between a student getting his or her degree or having to give up on the dream." 

Wright noted that the scholarship will support an average of 33% of the cost of tuition and books per year. The grant is designed to be given to each student for two years, provided that the student remains in good academic standing.

This is the company's second announcement this year in support of education. Encore previously became a national partner of the Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy, which is committed to preparing youth for long-term financial success through financial literacy education.

Scholarships for the 2014/2015 academic year are available at the colleges listed below. To be considered for a scholarship, students should apply directly with their community college's financial aid or scholarship department. Each college selects award recipients based on its own criteria.

Texas

  • Dallas County Community College (El Centro College, Mountain View College and Richland College)
  • Houston Community College
  • South Texas College (McAllen campus)
  • San Antonio College Alamo Colleges
  • Austin Community College (Pinnacle Campus)
  • Corpus Christi Del Mar College

 Pennsylvania

  • Harrisburg Area Community College

Arizona

  • Maricopa Community Colleges (Gateway Community College, Phoenix College, and South Mountain Community College)

Virginia

  • Roanoke Virginia Western Community College

New Jersey

  • Roseland Essex County

California

  • San Diego Community College District (San Diego City College, San Diego Mesa College, San Diego Miramar College)
  • San Diego Miracosta College
  • San Diego Palomar College
  • San Diego Southwestern College
  • Los Angeles Southwest College
  • Los Angeles El Camino College Compton Center

Minnesota

  • Saint Cloud Technical and Community College

Florida

  • Tampa Hillsborough Community College

Washington, DC

  • University of the District of Columbia Community College

New York

  • Nassau Community College
  • Bronx Community College
  • Hostos Community College
  • Kingsborough Community College

Michigan

  • Macomb Community College

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