State Policy Overview
South Carolina provides predominantly non-need-based financial
aid for undergraduates.
The state funds five financial aid programs. The three largest
programs provide merit-based aid. Students may accept only one of
the merit-based scholarships, even if they meet eligibility
requirements for multiple awards.
Students may qualify for the Palmetto Fellows
Scholarship by meeting one of the following set of
criteria: (1) 1200 SAT or 27 ACT, 3.5 grade-point average and Top
6% Class Rank or (2) 1400 SAT or 32 ACT and 4.0 GPA. Freshmen may
receive annual awards up to $6,700. In future years, college
students may receive annual awards up to $7,500 if they maintain
a cumulative 3.0 GPA. Students graduating in the Class of 2021
and beyond who meet the eligibility criteria may also use a
Palmetto Fellows Scholarship at a two-year institution or
Students may qualify for the Legislative Incentive for Future
Excellence or LIFE Scholarship by meeting two of
these three criteria: (1) 1100 SAT or 24 ACT, (2) 3.0 GPA (3) and
Top 30% Class Rank. Students may receive a maximum award of
$4,700 award and a $300 book stipend if they maintain a
cumulative 3.0 GPA and meet credit completion requirements.
Beginning in the Fall 2021 term, students who are enrolled in
identified associates degree programs that exceed 68 credit hours
to completion, at eligible institutions, may receive a LIFE
Scholarship for up to six consecutive terms.
Students who do not qualify for the Palmetto or LIFE Scholarships
may receive the South Carolina HOPE Scholarship with a high
school GPA of 3.0.
The state’s Uniform Grading Policy calculates high school GPA
based on a 0.0 to 6.0-point scale.
Palmetto Fellows and LIFE Scholars must maintain a 3.0 cumulative
GPA and earn at least 30 credit hours at the end of each academic
year to remain eligible. Palmetto Fellows and LIFE Scholars may
receive an additional $2,500 enhancement in their second, third
or fourth year if they enroll in certain math and science majors
(computer science, engineering, nursing, pharmacy). Freshmen must
complete at least fourteen credits in math and science subjects
to receive the enhancement.
The HOPE Scholarship is a freshmen-only award.
Recipients may qualify to receive the LIFE scholarship in
subsequent years if they maintain a 3.0 college GPA. Students may
receive a maximum award of $2,800.
The South Carolina Need-Based Grant program
provides annual awards up to $2,500 for full-time students (or
$1,250 for part-time students) with demonstrated financial need.
Students remain eligible if they maintain a cumulative 2.0 GPA at
the end of each academic year.
The Lottery Tuition Assistance Program provides
supplemental aid for students enrolled at the University of South
Carolina’s two-year campuses and Spartanburg Methodist College.
The maximum annual award is $1,140 per term for full-time
students or $95 per credit hour for part-time students. The
program does not award grants based on merit or need.
Institutions must apply all federal grants and the South Carolina
Need-Based Grant before awarding financial aid from this program.
The SC WINS Scholarship is a statewide technical
college scholarship program designed to address workforce
shortages in South Carolina. The Scholarship supplements Lottery
Tuition Assistance program funding to help cover any tuition and
mandatory fees left after applying all other scholarships or
grants. Students must be receiving a LTAP scholarship and meet
the USAD income eligibility guidelines for free and reduced-price
meals and must be majoring in a critical workforce area as
defined by the State Board for Technical and Comprehensive