HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — Smithfield Foods has expanded its scholarship program to include Hampton University students.

Click here to subscribe to WAVY’s breaking news email alerts

The program provides eligible dependents of full-time and retired Smithfield employees with up to $7,500 a year in educational scholarships to participating colleges and universities over the course of four years.

Officials say the need-based program has awarded over 1,300 scholarships totaling $7.6 million since 2002, more than half of which the company has contributed since 2017. 

“We are very thankful that Smithfield Foods is adding Hampton University to its company scholarship program which will enable the growth and development of eligible dependents of their employees,” said Dr. William R. Harvey, Hampton University President. “Smithfield Foods recognizes the world-class education that Hampton University offers its students and will now help fund the education of future Hamptonian scholars.”

The expansion is part of Smithfield’s larger commitment to add additional HBCUs to its program. They previously added Virginia State University, as well as South Dakota State University and the University of South Dakota.

“We’re excited to further diversify our longstanding scholarship program and welcome these new schools to our portfolio,” said Jonathan Toms, charitable initiatives manager for Smithfield Foods. “Our scholarship program underscores the responsibility we feel to support our more than 40,000 U.S. team members and their families across America, and our efforts to expand the program reflect our commitment to promoting diversity, equity and inclusion in education.” 

Applications for the 2022-2023 school year open in early 2022 and are due May 15, 2022.