The State of South Carolina offers SC residents several types of financial aid:
- SC Need-Based Grant
- SC Lottery Tuition Assistance
- LIFE Scholarship
- Palmetto Fellows Scholarship
SC Need-Based Grant
This program assists the neediest South Carolinians who wish to attend eligible public and private colleges or universities in the state. Program funding depends upon action by the General Assembly and the amount awarded to students is contingent upon the funds appropriated to the program.
To be eligible for the Need-Based Grant, the student must:
- Have a valid Federal Student Aid Report on file in the Financial Aid Office;
- Be a legal South Carolina resident and enrolled or accepted for enrollment as at least a half-time (6 semester hours) undergraduate student in a degree or certificate program authorized by the Commission on Higher Education;
- Meet Title IV standards of academic process
- Be seeking—for the first time—an associate or other recognized credential in a one-year program as authorized by the Commission on Higher Education;
- Be enrolled half-time at the time of grant disbursement and complete 12 to 24 semester credit hours in each regular academic year (Fall/Spring semesters only);
- Must have a 2.0 GPA in each regular academic year (Fall/Spring semesters only);
- Certify that he/she has not been convicted of any felonies, alcohol, or drug-related offenses under the laws of any state or under the laws of the U.S. (student must notify the Financial Aid Office should this status change by the start of the school year); and
- Certify that he/she does not owe a refund or repayment on a State Grant, Federal Pell Grant, or Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, and is not in default on a loan under the Federal Perkins Loan or Federal Stafford Loan Programs.
To apply for financial aid, start by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online at www.studentaid.gov.
SC Lottery Tuition Assistance
A portion of Education Lottery revenues are used to fund tuition assistance for technical college students. The actual amount of tuition assistance available to each student will be determined each semester by the State Board for Technical Education.
For 2022-2023, full- and part-time students are eligible for $85 per credit hour (with a six-credit-hour minimum and a maximum of 15 credit hours per semester).
- LTA is not available to assist with book expenses.
- Students whose tuition is fully covered under another grant are not eligible for LTA.
To be eligible for Lottery Tuition Assistance, a student must:
- Qualify for in-state residency;
- Complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA); however, Lottery Tuition Assistance is not awarded on the basis of financial need;
Complete the FAFSA Waiver form—this form is only used for students enrolled in PACE programs, students who have earned a bachelor’s degree, or students who are enrolled in programs that are not eligible for Title IV aid;
- Be enrolled in a certificate, diploma, or associate degree program (continuing education programs are not eligible) and maintain enrollment of at least six credit hours each semester;
- Make clear progress toward completion of a certificate, diploma, or associate degree (maintain a 2.0 GPA after completing 24 credit hours of study);
- Must not have received Lottery Tuition Assistance for more than one certificate, diploma, or degree earned within any five-year period unless the additional certificate, diploma, or degree constitutes progress in the same field of study (as determined by the institution);
- Not be a LIFE scholarship award recipient; and
- Not be in default on any government student loan program.
Most student financial aid is awarded on the basis of financial need. Lottery Tuition Assistance is an exception and is not awarded on the basis of financial need. However, to apply for Lottery Tuition Assistance, a student must complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) or meet one of the qualifications to complete the FAFSA Waiver form.
SC•WINS is a statewide technical college scholarship program designed to address workforce shortages in South Carolina. The scholarship supplements Lottery Tuition Assistance to help cover any tuition and mandatory fees left after applying all other scholarships or grants.
To be eligible to receive the SC•WINS scholarship students must:
- Be a South Carolina resident;
- Be enrolled in at least six credit hours
- Be enrolled in a career education programs that meets the eligibility guidelines as determined by the State Board for Technical and Comprehensive Education; and
- Meet one of the following criteria:
- Be employed
- Take a financial literacy course offered by TCL
- Complete one hundred hours of voluntary time contributing to a nonprofit or public service organization approved by the State Board for Technical and Comprehensive Education
- Complete the SC•WINS Affidavit
Additionally, students must also achieve and maintain a 2.0 cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) and show substantial progress on their coursework to maintain eligibility.
SC•WINS covers tuition, fees, or expenses for required course-related materials after applying all other scholarships and grants for South Carolina residents enrolled in a qualified program. Award amounts cannot exceed $5,000 per year and may be adjusted or canceled due to changes in enrollment or the availability of funds. A student enrolled in a qualified associate degree program may only receive the scholarship for three years. Students enrolled in a qualified diploma or certificate program may only receive the scholarship for two years.
See a list of eligible SC•WINS programs here.
The LIFE Scholarship Program was approved by the 1998 SC General Assembly. The LIFE Scholarship pays up to $2,350 for tuition and fees and $150 book allowance per semester, a total of $2,500 per semester for eligible undergraduate students attending two-year colleges in South Carolina. Students may receive the LIFE Scholarship for a total of four semesters at a technical college and the LIFE Scholarship will only pay for one degree or one certificate at a technical college. A student may be eligible for (6) semesters of the LIFE Scholarship if enrolled in at least 68-hour program at a technical college. Initial eligibility is based on a high school GPA of 3.0 from a South Carolina high school. Eligible LIFE scholars must submit a LIFE Scholarship Affidavit every year. If determined to be eligible for the LIFE Scholarship, the Affidavit will be available to complete in the student’s Self Service account.
To receive the LIFE Scholarship, the student must:
- Complete the required LIFE Scholarship Affidavit each year
- The student and the parent must be a SC resident at the time of high school graduation and upon first time enrollment in college
- Not be in default on a Federal Title IV or State of South Carolina educational loan
- Not owe a refund on Federal Title IV or State of South Carolina student financial aid program
- Not have had any felony, alcohol, or drug-related convictions under the laws of any state or under the laws of the U.S.
- Not be enrolled in Developmental Studies courses (100 level and below)
- Renewal eligibility based on earning a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA and 30 non-remedial credit hours per academic year
LIFE Scholarship awards may be used only for Fall, Spring, or Summer semesters and may not be used with Lottery Tuition Assistance in an academic year. The LIFE Scholarship will only pay for the Summer semester if a student has completed 30 non-remedial credit hours with a 3.0 GPA by the end of the Spring semester and enrolled in at least 12 hours for the Summer semester. The LIFE Scholarship can never start in the Summer semester. Students receiving LIFE Scholarship for the academic year, cannot receive Lottery Tuition Assistance during the summer.
Students receiving LIFE Scholarship for the academic year, cannot receive Lottery Tuition Assistance during the summer. LIFE Scholarship awards may be used only for Fall, Spring, or Summer semesters and may not be used with Lottery Tuition Assistance in an academic year. Students who complete all requirements for high school graduation prior to the official graduation day in May/June may be eligible to receive the LIFE Scholarship if they meet all initial and general eligibility criteria. If eligibility criteria are met, the student must complete an Early Graduation Application with all required documents and submit to the Financial Aid Office.
Palmetto Fellows Scholarship
The Palmetto Fellows Scholarship is a merit-based program, administered by the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education, that recognizes the most academically talented high school Seniors and encourage these students to attend college in the State. Palmetto Fellows recipients may receive up to $6,700 their first year and up to $7,500 for their second year. The Palmetto Fellows Scholar must complete a Palmetto Fellows Affidavit every year in order to be awarded.
To receive the Palmetto Fellows Scholarship, the student must, among other things:
- Be a US citizen or legal permanent resident (student visas or H visas are not eligible) and a resident of the State of South Carolina that graduated from high school in South Carolina, successfully completed a home school program as prescribed by law, or graduated from a preparatory high school outside South Carolina while a dependent of a parent or guardian who is a legal resident of South Carolina and has custody of the dependent and meets residency requirements for tuition and fees purposes.
- Have a 3.5 GPA , scored in the upper 6% of their class, and scored 1200 (Reading and Math) on the SAT or 27 (composite) on the ACT, or
- Have a 4.0 GPA, regardless of class rank, and scored 1400 (Reading and Math) on the SAT or 32 (composite) on the ACT.
Students receiving Palmetto Fellows Scholarship are not eligible to receive the SC LIFE, Lottery Tuition Assistance, or SC•WINS.
Recipients of the Palmetto Fellows Scholarship must enroll full-time, at least 12 hours per semester, in order to receive any scholarship funds. Developmental course studies do not count toward degree requirements. In addition to this, Palmetto Fellows recipients must be first degree seeking undergraduates.
A Palmetto Fellows Scholar must complete a Designation Form notifying CHE, Commission of Higher Education, of school selection. Then, CHE notifies TCL that the student has completed the Designation Form and is eligible for the Palmetto Fellows Scholarship.
In order to maintain the Palmetto Fellows Scholarship, recipients must:
- Earn and maintain a cumulative 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale at TCL by the end of the academic year (Fall, Spring, and Summer);
- Earn at least 30 non-remedial credit hours for graduation purposes by the end of each academic year. Exempted credit hours (i.e., AP, IB, CLEP), credit hours earned before high school graduation (i.e., dual enrollment courses), and credit hours earned the summer term immediately following school graduation cannot be used to meet the annual credit hours requirement;
- Maintain SC residency;
- Not be in default or owe a refund/repayment on any state or federal financial aid; and
- Certify an affidavit with the Office of Financial Aid each year.
For complete Palmetto Fellows Scholarship Program information, students may visit the S.C. Commission on Higher Education website at www.che.sc.gov.