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South Carolina Scholarships and Financial Aid

Grants, Student Loans, & Fellowships

The oldest college in South Carolina is the College of Charleston, which was established in 1770. It is still running today, along with a number of public, private, and independent universities and colleges. Students attending any of these schools may be eligible to receive financial aid to help pay for their educational expenses.

What Types of South Carolina Scholarships and Financial Aid Are There?

  • Federal financial aid – grants and loans
  • South Carolina state financial aid – grants, scholarships, loans
  • South Carolina university and college scholarships
  • Scholarships from South Carolina professional organizations, corporations, and nonprofits.

Federal Financial Aid for South Carolina Students

Students pursuing post-secondary degrees in South Carolina may qualify for federal financial aid. Submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid to see if you qualify. The national deadline for the FAFSA is June 30, the year in which you need the aid. South Carolina has its own FAFSA deadline for the South Carolina Tuition Grant. If you receive or are eligible to receive a South Carolina Tuition Grant, submit your FAFSA by June 30, midnight, Central Daylight Time the year before you need aid. Next year’s FAFSA is usually available January 1.

Once you have completed your FAFSA, your financial aid office will decide how much assistance you need and offer you grants and/or loans. You can accept as much or as little as you need. Make sure you don’t accept more loans than you need. Grants do not need to be paid back but loans do.

South Carolina State Financial Aid

South Carolina offers several programs to help students pay for educational expenses. Here is a list of available programs:

South Carolina Tuition Grant
This South Carolina financial aid program provides assistance to undergraduate students attending accredited post-secondary institutions in South Carolina. The deadline is usually June 30. Students must file a FAFSA to qualify.

Access & Equity Undergraduate Scholars Program
This South Carolina financial aid program supports disadvantaged and financially needy students who are South Carolina residents and U.S. citizens. Priority will be given to students who are enrolled full-time at an accredited post-secondary institution. Contact your financial aid office or the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education at (803) 737-2297 for more information.

LIFE Scholarship and Scholarship Enhancement
This merit-based South Carolina financial aid program is available to students who are enrolled at accredited post-secondary institutions. Eligible students must have earned a 3.0 minimum GPA and a minimum score of 1100 on the SAT or a minimum score of 24 on the ACT. For more information, click here.

Lottery Tuition Assistance
Students who still have financial need after having received all possible federal grants and the South Carolina Need-based Grant may be eligible for this program. To receive funding from this program, students must be U.S. citizens or eligible noncitizens and South Carolina residents. File the FAFSA to qualify. HOPE, LIFE and Palmetto scholars are not eligible.

Palmetto Fellows Scholarship Program
This merit-based South Carolina financial aid program is available to students who have earned a minimum 3.5 GPA and scored a minimum 1200 on the SAT or a minimum 27 on the ACT. This program is renewable up to three times. For more information and to request an application, contact the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education at (803) 737-2297.

South Carolina HOPE Scholarship
This South Carolina financial aid program is based on merit and is offered to students who do not receive the LIFE or Palmetto scholarships. Students must be U.S. citizens or legal residents and South Carolina residents to qualify. For more information and to request an application, contact the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education at (803) 737-2297.

South Carolina Need-based Grant
First-year students starting accredited post-secondary degrees or certificates are eligible to receive up to $2,500 a year if they enroll full-time. Applicants must be U.S. citizens or legal residents and South Carolina residents to qualify. File a FAFSA to be considered.

South Carolina National Guard College Assistance Program
South Carolina National Guard members may be eligible to receive full-coverage assistance to attend colleges or universities in South Carolina. Only students who have not received a bachelor’s or graduate degree qualify. For more information and to request an application, contact the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education at (803) 737-2297.

Dayco Scholarship
Children of Dayco Products, Inc. employees located in South Carolina qualify for this scholarship, which is based on merit and need. Click here to download an application and for more information.

S.C. National Guard Student Loan Repayment Program
Students who have been in the South Carolina National Guard or the South Carolina Army for six or more years may qualify for this South Carolina financial aid program. Click here for a current application and for more information.

Graduate Incentive Scholarship
This program was created to assist historically underrepresented students who are pursuing their master’s, first professional, or doctoral degrees at one of the following schools: University of South Carolina, University of South Carolina School of Medicine, Clemson University, Medical University of South Carolina, College of Charleston, Winthrop University, South Carolina State University, Francis Marion University, and The Citadel. Click here for more information.

Southern Region Education Board (SREB) Doctoral Scholars Program
This program was created to encourage a more diverse faculty across the nation. For more information, click here.

South Carolina University and College Scholarships

South Carolina universities and colleges offer scholarships to their students. Scholarships are based on merit, major, special abilities, need, leadership/involvement, ethnic background, and a combination of these things. Many merit-based scholarships are offered to freshman students through the admissions office, so if you’re planning on applying for merit-based scholarships, you should submit your application for admission to the college or university on time. For general or other scholarships, the application procedures usually differ from school to school, so check with your financial aid or scholarship office to see what their application procedures are.

Scholarships from South Carolina Professional Organizations, Corporations, and Nonprofits

Scholarships are also offered by non-profit organizations, professional groups, and other groups in South Carolina.
Here are a few of the scholarships that are out there:

Better Business Bureau of SC Foundation Scholarship
One scholarship of $2,500 is available to graduating seniors who have a 3.0 GPA and live in counties that the BBB services. Click here for more information and an application.

South Carolina Aquatic Plant Management Society
A scholarship of $3,000 is available to a full-time student studying a related program at any accredited post-secondary institution in the U.S. The scholarship is intended to cover educational and research costs.

The Huguenot Society of South Carolina
One undergraduate $1,000 scholarship is available to descendants of Huguenot members. One $1,000 scholarship is available to a graduate student studying history. Click here for more information or call the society at (843) 723-3235.

South Carolina Farm Bureau Foundation Scholarships
Children of South Carolina Farm Bureau families may qualify for anyone of four $1,000 scholarships. Students must be in their sophomore, junior, or senior year, and be studying a field related to agriculture. Request an application from South Carolina Farm Bureau Foundation, Post Office Box 754, Columbia, SC 29202-0754. The Farm Bureau also has county-wide scholarships and a livestock competition available. Click here for more information.

Three Things to Keep in Mind About South Carolina Scholarships

  • Only students applying for the South Carolina Tuition Grant have to submit their FAFSA applications by June 30 the year before the year you need the aid. If you are applying for other federal or state grants, you should check with your financial aid office to see what the application deadlines are.
  • South Carolina offers many state-supported scholarships. Check the list above to see if you qualify for any of them. Some may require more than one application, or may require applications that are different from the FAFSA.
  • When searching for scholarships that are outside of federal programs, state programs, or university/college programs, one of the best places to start is your local community. See if any groups in your area are offering scholarships.

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