State Scholarships

State Scholarships

Many scholarships and stipends may be combined with other sources of financial assistance for which a student is eligible. However, a student may not receive more than one full-tuition University scholarship. Students who want to be considered for scholarships must be unconditionally accepted for admission prior to deadlines. USC Upstate students who are awarded scholarships or stipends are required to be in good academic standing. These students must also be free of any current discipline code violation and may not be on disciplinary probation.

Note: Scholarship information is accurate at the time of publication. Availability of funds and other factors may change.

For further information about scholarships and other financial aid, please contact the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships at 864-503-5340.

Palmetto Fellows Scholarships*
Palmetto Fellows Scholarships are awarded to South Carolina high-school students with exemplary academic credentials. The competition for these awards begins when students take the PSAT in their junior year of high school. The South Carolina Commission on Higher Education selects Palmetto Fellows based on criteria which include class rank, extracurricular activities, leadership ability, and school recommendations. Incoming Freshmen may receive up to a $6,700 per year scholarship from the state as long as their total gift aid package, including scholarships, does not exceed the resident, on-campus cost of attendance figure (returning student may receive $7,500 - $10,000 depending on other criteria). Palmetto Fellows Scholarships are renewable for four years of undergraduate study if the student meets continued eligibility criteria established by the Commission on Higher Education.

South Carolina Legislative Incentives for Future Excellence (LIFE) Scholarship*
The South Carolina Legislative Incentives for Future Excellence Scholarship (LIFE) was established by the General Assembly during the 1998 legislative session. To be eligible for a LIFE Scholarship, you must be a full-time, undergraduate, degree-seeking student. You must be a South Carolina resident for in-state tuition purposes at the time of enrollment and have no felony, alcohol or drug convictions. If; however, you have been judged delinquent or have been convicted or pled guilty or no contest to an alcohol or drug misdemeanor, you are ineligible for one calendar year from the date of the conviction. You must also be a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident under state laws. You may not be in default or owe a refund on any federal or state financial aid program.

If you are a first-time entering freshman, you must meet two of the following three criteria: 3.00 cumulative grade point average (GPA) on a 4.00 scale; score at least 1100 on the SAT or an equivalent ACT score of 24; and/or rank in the top 30% of your graduating class.

The value of the LIFE Scholarship is $5,000 (returning students may receive up to $7,500 depending on other criteria).

For initial LIFE Scholarship eligibility, if a currently enrolled student, you must have earned a cumulative 3.00 GPA at the end of the academic year. You must also have earned a minimum of 30 credit hours, or the annual equivalent at all institutions attended, for the previous academic year if completing your first year; 60 credit hours must have been earned if completing your second year; and, 90 credit hours must have been earned if completing your third year.

You may receive the LIFE scholarship for no more than eight semesters for a four-year degree or 10 semesters for a five-year degree. Funds from this program may not be used for remedial courses or continuing education classes (such as Math 099). If you are receiving South Carolina's Palmetto Fellows Scholarship, you are not eligible for a LIFE Scholarship.

To retain the LIFE Scholarship you must earn an average of 30 credit hours (not including Math 099) for each academic year and earn a 3.00 cumulative GPA by the end of the academic year. The financial aid office, using data from the admissions and records offices, is responsible for awarding LIFE Scholarships.

Please note that the LIFE Scholarship statutes and regulations are subject to change by the South Carolina Legislature.

South Carolina HOPE Scholarship*
The South Carolina HOPE Scholarship is a non-renewable award designed for entering freshmen that are not eligible for the LIFE or Palmetto Fellows and have a 3.0 GPA (on a 4.0 scale). Students must meet state residency requirements upon high school graduation.

Additionally, students must sign an affidavit certifying that they have not been adjudicated delinquent, convicted or pled guilty or nolo contendere to any felonies or to any alcohol or drug related offenses.

The HOPE Scholarship is valued at $2,800 per year.

Enhanced LIFE Scholarship, Palmetto Fellows Scholarship and Hope Scholarship
On June 29, 2007, the South Carolina General Assembly passed legislation that enhances the value of LIFE and Palmetto Fellows awards for students majoring in math and science disciplines.The maximum award for the Hope Scholarship also has been increased. These changes are effective beginning in the fall of 2007. 

*DISCLAIMER: Changes could occur at any time for these programs. You may access the Commission on Higher Education (CHE) Website or call them at 803-737-2260 for the latest information available. Awards are contingent upon the availability of funds to be appropriated by the South Carolina Legislature.