Why is there a tuition grants program for independent colleges?
Because the State of South Carolina offsets the cost of all students who attend the state’s public colleges, the State Legislature decided it would be equitable to assist those eligible South Carolinians who prefer to attend one of South Carolina’s twenty-one participating independent colleges.
How do I apply for a tuition grant?
The application for a South Carolina Tuition Grant is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA can be obtained from all South Carolina high schools and colleges or you can apply on-line by clicking on the word FAFSA anywhere in this section. By submitting the FAFSA directly to the federal government’s processor and by listing the participating South Carolina independent college of your choice in the college choice section, the Tuition Grants Commission will be able to electronically receive your application from the federal processor. The Commission will then use your application information to determine your eligibility for a South Carolina Tuition Grant. Also, since South Carolina Tuition Grants are available only to legal residents of South Carolina, students and parents should be sure to accurately complete all questions on the FAFSA regarding state residency.
When should I apply?
Applications are available beginning October 1 of the year prior to your Fall enrollment. Apply as early as possible. The deadline for receipt of 2017-2018 applications is June 30, 2017. All eligible applications received by the federal processor by the June 30 deadline will be eligible for funding, assuming all other eligibility criteria are met.
What factors are used to determine financial eligibility?
Because the South Carolina Tuition Grant is based on financial need, the Commission calculates financial eligibility based on the following factors: (1) family income, (2) family assets, (3) cost of the college selected, (4) number of family members in the household, and (5) the number of household members attending college.
What academic standards are required for eligibility?
Freshmen must graduate in the upper 75% of their high school class or score at least 900 (Math and Critical Reading sections ONLY) of the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) or at least 19 Composite on the American College Test (ACT) or graduate from a South Carolina high school with a final high school GPA of 2.0 or higher on the SC Uniform Grading Policy to meet the academic standard for eligibility. For upperclassmen, the academic standard for eligibility requires full-time students to successfully complete and pass at least 24 semester hours each year and meet their college’s federal Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements. Students who do not meet these academic standards are ineligible for a South Carolina Tuition Grant regardless of financial need.
What is the amount of a tuition grant and how is that amount determined?
For students who qualified by demonstrating financial need and by meeting the academic standards, the maximum South Carolina Tuition Grant for 2016-2017 is $3,200. During the most recent academic year, the average South Carolina Tuition Grant award was approximately $2,710. The actual amount of each student’s grant is determined by a combination of family resources, the cost of attendance of the independent college selected, and the final funding of the Tuition Grants Program by the State Legislature.
Do I have to repay the grant?
No. However, if you withdraw from school, the unused portion of the grant must be refunded to the Tuition Grants program by your college.
When will the awardees be notified?
Applicants are notified of their tentative award or their ineligibility as soon as possible after completing all forms. All awardees listing a valid e-mail address on their FAFSA will be provided a link to their tentative eligibility notice by the Commission via e-mail. Awardees accessing their tentative eligibility notice online are encouraged to print a copy for their records. Awardees not providing valid e-mail addresses will receive hard-copy eligibility notices. State of South Carolina funds will be issued after full-time registration for the Fall Term and all other eligibility requirements are confirmed by the attendee’s college and will be deposited into the student’s account at the participating college which the student has selected to attend.
If I receive a grant as a freshman, would I get to keep it for subsequent years?
A new application (FAFSA) is required every year. Students may receive a South Carolina Tuition Grant for a maximum of four years (eight semesters) provided they make satisfactory progress towards graduation, apply prior to the June 30 deadline annually, continue to demonstrate financial need, meet all other eligibility requirements, and provided funds are available.
What if I receive other scholarships or grants?
A South Carolina Tuition Grant cannot exceed the lower of a student’s calculated financial need or direct charges for tuition. Therefore, the Commission must consider all awards that a student receives and adjustments to the Tuition Grant may be made in certain situations.
What are some other limitations on the grant?
South Carolina Tuition Grants cannot be used toward part-time enrollment, room and board charges, books, summer school enrollment, or graduate school enrollment. In addition, the Tuition Grant cannot be used toward a second or subsequent undergraduate degree for students who have already received a Bachelor’s degree. Awardees MUST enroll in the Fall Term (or Non-traditional Program term enrolling during the same time period) to receive a Tuition Grant for the full year. Failure to enroll in the Fall forfeits the grant for the year.
What if I transfer to another college?
Tuition Grants cannot be used for attendance at public colleges; however, they may be transferred for use at another participating independent college. Depending on several different factors, an adjustment may be necessary in the amount of the transferred grant. To request a transfer to another participating college, please complete the Transfer/Withdrawal/Correction Form.
May I use this grant at an out-of-state college?
No. The South Carolina Tuition Grant may only be used at one of the twenty-one participating independent colleges located in the state of South Carolina.
If I have other questions about the Tuition Grants Program, whom may I contact?
Further questions should be addressed to the Financial Aid Director at one of the listed colleges (See the “Participating Colleges” Link) or to the Tuition Grants Commission (See the “Contact Us” Link).