COLUMBIA — College students receiving South Carolina Need-based Grants will see an increase in financial support this fall thanks to grant revisions raising award amounts from $2,500 to $3,500, the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education (CHE) announced today.
The purpose of the S.C. Need-based Grant is to provide additional financial aid to the state’s neediest students. An eligible student may now receive up to $3,500 annually if enrolled full-time as a degree-seeking student at an eligible public institution, or up to $1,750 annually if enrolled part-time.
The regulation has also been expanded to allow grants to be used across all terms: fall, spring, or summer.
“These changes will help stretch our students’ and families’ dollars a little bit more and provide more of an impact on students along the way,” said CHE President and Executive Director Rusty Monhollon, PhD. “We are pleased to announce these increases to help make college more affordable, yet we also realize there is still a lot of unmet financial need. We will continue to advocate for affordability in our system of higher education.”
Monhollon added that the additional aid would not have been possible without the support of South Carolina’s Governor and General Assembly. In the past three fiscal years, South Carolina has more than tripled Need-based Grants: from $20M in FY 2019 to $60M in both FY 2020 and 2021. An additional $10M was added in the 2023 budget, which permitted the award amounts to be increased.
Students wishing to pursue Need-based Grants must first complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The CHE also supports FAFSA completion initiatives throughout the year to help raise awareness of the process. More than 27,000 high school seniors across the state completed the FAFSA during the 2021-2022 school year, leading to a 55 percent completion rate.
Students may receive grants for up to a maximum of eight full-time equivalent terms. They must be enrolled in a degree-seeking program in their first one-year program, first associate’s degree, first two-year program leading to a baccalaureate degree, first baccalaureate degree, or first pre-professional undergraduate degree, to include those pre-professional degree programs that may not require a baccalaureate degree at an eligible public institution.
At public colleges and universities, financial aid offices administer the Need-based Grant program and determine a student’s eligibility. The S.C. Higher Education Tuition Grants Commission administers the Need-based Grant Program for students attending independent institutions.
More information is available on the CHE Scholarship and Grant page.