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P.E.O. is a Philanthropic Educational Organization where women celebrate the advancement of women; educate women through scholarships, grants, awards, loans and stewardship of Cottey College; and motivate each other to achieve their highest aspirations.
Seven students at Iowa Wesleyan College in Mount Pleasant, Iowa founded one of the original societies for women, P.E.O. on January 21, 1869. Originally, a small campus friendship society, P.E.O. soon grew to include women off campus.
P.E.O. has grown from the original membership of seven to almost a quarter of a million members in chapters in the United States and Canada. P.E.O. is headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa. In Texas we have over 250 chapters and more than 10,500 active members.
Texas P.E.O. History
In 1902 Mary Florence Cowell, former treasurer of Missouri State Chapter, brought P.E.O. to Texas with the organization of Chapter A in Whitesboro on September 4. Texas State Chapter was organized in Whitesboro in 1928 with Mary Florence Cowell elected as the first state president. She is known as the “Mother of P.E.O. in Texas.” A Texas Historical Marker honoring her can be seen at her home in Whitesboro.
The P.E.O. Sisterhood is passionate about our mission: promoting educational opportunities for women. We proudly make a difference in women’s lives with six International educational projects and two state projects.
P.E.O. Educational Loan Fund
P.E.O. educational Loan Fund (ELF), established in 1907, makes loans available to qualified women who desire higher education and are in need of financial assistance. A student must be recommended by a local chapter of the P.E.O. Sisterhood and within two years of completing her course of study. The current maximum loan amount is $12,000 for associate and bachelor degree programs, technical or professional training, and postgraduate certifications, $15,000 for master’s degrees, and $20,000 for doctoral level degrees. Currently, loans have a 2% interest rate and payback begins 6 months after graduation.
P.E.O. International Peace Scholarship
P.E.O. International Peace Scholarship (IPS) Fund was established in 1949 to provide scholarships for international women students to pursue graduate study in the United States and Canada. The current maximum scholarship is $12,500.
P.E.O. Program for Continuing Education
P.E.O. Scholar Awards
P.E.O. Scholar Awards (PSA) was established in 1991 to provide substantial merit–based awards for women of the United States and Canada who are pursuing a doctoral level degree at an accredited college or university. The current award is $20,000.
P.E.O. STAR Scholarship
The P.E.O. STAR Scholarship was established in 2009 to provide non-renewable $2,500 scholarships to exceptional high school graduating women to attend accredited post-secondary educational institutions in the United States and Canada in the next academic year.
Texas State Projects
Texas Cottey College Scholarship Funds
Texas Cottey College Scholarship Funds (TCCSF) is a Texas project providing scholarships and grants to academically qualified Texas women attending Cottey College.