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Education Grants and Loans in South Carolina

South Carolina students have access to a number of different financial aid sources in the form of scholarships, student loans and educational grants. It is important that students understand the differences between these various forms of financial aid. Scholarships and education grants are fairly similar, since both of these provide payment that does not need to be repaid. The difference is that scholarships are based upon educational merit, while education grants are provided based on need. The amount provided by these forms of financial aid varies, but it is typically always less than the amount available through a student loan. While student loans provide more financial support, students are required to pay the loans back with interest. Students do not have to pay the loan all back at once. Instead, they set up a payment plan which allows them to pay the loan back, with interest, over the course of several years. Some loans may have the option for loan forgiveness. Information is provided below to assist students and their parents to locate money to attend a college in South Carolina.

South Carolina FAFSA

FAFSA is an abbreviation for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. FAFSA is a very important part of applying for financial assistance. FAFSA does not provide money, but it acts as a universal application for all the various educational grants and loans available in South Carolina. However, it is very important to note that individual grants and loans have their own separate due dates, outside of the ones which are listed for FAFSA. Students are strongly encouraged to complete a FAFSA application as soon as possible. Once the application is submitted, they will receive a list of all the grants and loans available to them. From that list, students can record the separate due dates. Reapplying for grants is much easier through FAFSA. Students can simply update their application each year, since all the information is saved onto their account.

South Carolina Perkins Loans

The Perkins loan is a federal loan which is specifically available to low-income students. Not all schools in South Carolina provide the Perkins loan. How much a student receives depends on his or her financial need and the funds that are available from the college. Students who are attending school for at least half-time have nine months after leaving school to pay the loan back. Students attending for less time will have a specific repayment date determined by the school.

South Carolina Stafford Loans

Stafford Loans are made available to students at a very low interest rate. In some instances, the interest rates may be paid for the student by the federal government until the student graduates. This is called the subsidized student loan. These student loans must be repaid once the student leaves school. These loans are also referred to as Federal Direct Loans.

South Carolina Pell Grant

The Pell Grant is one of the most common educational grants available in South Carolina, in no small part because it is accepted by so many schools. There are a few different factors which determine eligibility for the Pell Grant. How long students plan on attending school, the total cost of tuition, expected family contribution and whether or not the student attends full time all determine eligibility for the Pell Grant. As of writing, the most students can receive in a year from the Pell Grant is $5,920. In previous years, the maximum has increased to reflect the rising cost of education.

South Carolina Lottery Tuition Assistance

The South Carolina lottery tuition assistance is a program which provides a small financial grant to students. As the name implies, students are chosen through a lottery process to determine whether or not they can receive assistance. Students must be signed up for a minimum of six credit hours worth of classes in order to be eligible for the lottery. In addition, the applicant cannot be receiving any financial assistance from the HOPE, LIFE or Palmetto Fellows Scholarship. Students that are chosen may receive up to $1,140 dollars from the grant.

South Carolina Need-based Grant

The South Carolina need-based grant is available to low-income students. Students who attend college full time may receive up to $2,500 dollars each year. If they are enrolled part time, they are only eligible for half that amount. When determining eligibility, students must submit how much financial aid they are receiving from other grants or scholarships. Students must use the grant to cover the cost of attendance.

South Carolina Palmetto Fellows Scholarship

The Palmetto Fellows Scholarship is available to students who were ranked in the top six percent of their class for sophomore, junior or senior year. In addition, the student must have maintained a GPA of at least 3.5, have scored 1200 on his or her SAT or a 27 on his or her ACT. In order to remain eligible, the student must take 30 credit hours each year, and he or she must maintain a 3.0 GPA each academic year. Students must be enrolled in a four-year college in order to receive this scholarship. As with all programs, parameters are subject to change from year to year.