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All University of South Carolina system institutions will be closed through the end of the spring semester. Columbia campus virtual instruction will continue through the end of the Summer II semester (Aug 1). Details can be found on the coronavirus landing page.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

The Awarding Process

The Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships makes every effort to help you and your family secure the funding you need to become a part of our Gamecock family. To be considered for the most aid, we strongly encourage our students and parents to complete the FAFSA and all requirements by April 1 of each year.

Priority Awarding

Funding is never sufficient to meet the total need of all students. For the consideration of the best financial aid award package available, our office has a priority deadline of April 1 of each year. For your file to be considered complete, we must have the Free Application for Federal Student Aid on file, and all requirements for the awarding process must be satisfied. Most campus-based funding is exhausted during this priority awarding period.

Your estimated student cost budget is composed of various costs associated with your attendance for an academic year. It includes direct and indirect costs to the university such as tuition, fees, room and board. The budget also provides additional allowances for books and supplies, personal expenses and transportation to campus. We understand that costs for each student are different, but the standardization is necessary to ensure timely processing of aid and equitable treatment of all financial aid applicants. If you feel that your expenses are significantly greater than what is allowed, you may request to speak with a counselor to determine how we can best assist you.

After you complete the FAFSA, an index number is assigned to you for the financial aid office to use to determine how much financial aid you may receive. This number is called the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The EFC is calculated using a federal formula by the U.S. Department of Education. The determination of the expected family contribution is mandated by federal law and is applied uniformly among all aid applicants. In the calculation of the EFC, your family’s income, assets, number in the household, benefits and number of family members in college are all taken into consideration. We encourage you not to be alarmed by the number because the EFC is not what your family can expect to pay for your college expenses.

When we receive your FAFSA report with an EFC, you will be assigned the appropriate student cost budget to determine your financial need. Your financial need is the difference between your student cost budget and your EFC. Once the need has been determined, our office will construct an aid package.

  1. The financial aid office estimates all sources of assistance, even assistance other than what our office offers. This includes consideration of the LIFE scholarship for undergraduate students. Because LIFE scholarships are not final until we receive all admissions or registrar information, official early award notification of the LIFE scholarship is unlikely. Pell grant determinations are also included in this process.

  2. Students are evaluated for campus-based awards and state assistance. The Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant, the State Need-Based Grant, and Federal Work-Study are all programs that contain limited funding. Awarding in each of the programs will occur until funds are no longer available.

  3. Federal Direct Loan eligibility is determined last. The base amount of subsidized and unsubsidized loans is awarded according to annual and aggregate limit maximums. Our office automatically offers the base amount of eligibility for students to accept or decline on Self Service Carolina.

  4. Any remaining need can be met by applying for additional loans such as the Parent or Graduate PLUS loan or private loans. An additional application is needed for each of these loans before we award them.

  5. When we have completed your award package, you will receive an email to your preferred email address to notify you about your awards. You may view the status of your awards on Self Service Carolina.

Students can only receive aid for the semester(s) in which they attend. These semesters may include fall, spring, and/or summer. After tuition and fees are calculated for each student each semester, the financial aid that the student has received will be automatically applied towards the student's bill. If additional aid remains after the student's bill has been paid, the Bursar's Office will disburse or issue a refund by check to the student or they will direct deposit the funds into the student's preferred checking account.

If you are expecting a refund from a Parent PLUS loan, the refund will go to the parent unless specified on the Parent PLUS application. If the address for the parent is incorrect, the parent may submit a signed, written statement to our office to the attention of the PLUS Program Coordinator with the student’s name and ID and the correct address. If the student’s address is incorrect, the student may make the change on SSC.  

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