The Fayetteville Shale Scholarship Fund Board announced 76 scholarships were awarded to students enrolled in the petroleum technology program at the University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton, according to a recent news release.

The community college also received a $110,000 donation toward the upcoming capital campaign during an event at the University of Arkansas System office.

The contribution is the largest number of scholarships awarded in the program’s history, according to the release.

The Fund is a nonprofit organization made up of member companies who work in the state’s natural gas industry. The group hosts several fundraisers throughout the year to raise scholarship funds for students seeking careers in the state’s oil and natural gas industry.

The board has raised enough money to guarantee scholarships for several years, said Jon Swann, vice president and interim president of the fund board. The board’s fundraising efforts were so successful officials decided to allocate funds to the capital campaign, he said in the release.

The contribution from the FSSF Board brings the total donation to $640,000 since the fund began in 2006. The money means 429 scholarships to students studying the petroleum technology program at UACCM. Scholarships support student expenses including tuition, fees and books. The university’s scholarship committee awards scholarships to students based on both academic performance and financial need.

The Fayetteville Shale Scholarship Fund was established in 2006 and is supported by members representing companies that work in the Fayetteville Shale play — including Faulkner County. The Fayetteville Shale Scholarship Fund encourages and enables students to pursue educational opportunities that prepare them for jobs in the oil and gas industry.

The petroleum technology program is offered as an Associate of Applied Science degree in Petroleum Technology. The college offers stop-out points at the levels of certificate of proficiency and technical certificate.

The degree provides education opportunities for individuals who desire to pursue employment opportunities related to oil and gas exploration, production and development in the Fayetteville Shale play, one of the country’s largest known unconventional reserves of natural gas.

The program was established with a three-year pledge of $200,000 from Southwestern Energy Company to UACCM.