University of South Carolina

Financial Aid & Scholarships


HOPE Scholarship Guidelines


If you are awarded a HOPE Scholarship, your award will be included in your award notification and you must complete an eligibility statement on SSC. Go to SSC, choose Financial Aid, Award for Aid Year. Then select Terms and Conditions and complete the Certification. Once you have completed the certification, you will need to accept your Grant on the Accept Award Offer Tab.

  • You must be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen under state residency statutes.
  • You must be a South Carolina resident at the time of high school graduation and during the period of award.
  • You must have graduated from a South Carolina high school or graduated from a high school outside of South Carolina while a dependent of a parent or legal guardian who is a legal resident.
  • You must be a full-time, first-year undergraduate student seeking your first baccalaureate degree.
  • You must not be receiving the South Carolina Palmetto Fellows or LIFE Scholarships.
  • You must not have been judged delinquent, nor have been convicted or pled guilty or nolo contendere to any felony in any state.
  • You must not have been convicted of any second or subsequent alcohol or drug-related misdemeanor in any state within the past academic year.
  • You must not be in default or owe a refund or repayment on any Federal or State financial aid.
  • You must have a 3.00 final high school grade point average based on the Uniform Grading Policy.
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You may receive the HOPE Scholarship for no more than two semesters and only during your initial year of college enrollment. After your first year, you may be eligible for the LIFE Scholarship. See LIFE Scholarship guidelines for eligibility requirements.

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The HOPE Scholarship award amount is determined annually by the South Carolina General Assembly. Currently, the HOPE Scholarship award amount at USC Columbia is $2,800, $2,500 related to tuition expense plus $300 based on the cost of textbooks.
Note: The HOPE Scholarship in combination with all other scholarships and grants may not exceed the cost-of-attendance as defined in Title IV regulations.

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The HOPE Scholarship will be disbursed in equal amounts at the beginning of the fall and spring semesters. The HOPE Scholarship is only available during the fall and spring semesters.

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If you are receiving the HOPE Scholarship or any other financial aid, dropping a class or withdrawing may affect your potential refund. Depending upon the type(s) of financial aid awards involved, the withdrawal date, the amount of the refund, and other factors, you might receive a portion of the total refund amount or none of the refund amount. Under certain circumstances, if you withdraw or drop classes, you will be required to repay financial aid funds you received including the HOPE Scholarship. This is necessary when the refund amount is insufficient to meet the financial aid fund recovery requirements. If you are considering withdrawing or dropping classes, you should contact the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships before taking this action.

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A change in your residency and fee payment status to non-resident will lead to the required repayment of your award for any enrollment period in which you are no longer classified as a resident and received the HOPE Scholarship.

The information on this document is subject to change by either the South Carolina Legislature or the Commission on Higher Education. You may view the most recent guidelines for the HOPE program on the Internet at: www.che.sc.gov.

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