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TRIO Programs

Opportunity Scholars Program

Freshmen can access academic coursework, advisement and support that contribute to a strong foundation for success, in college and in life.

Help for the Transition to College

The Opportunity Scholars Program (OSP) offers smaller freshman classes taught by a team of instructors who are especially prepared to meet the needs and concerns of OSP students. Students can find and explore academic development opportunities including tutoring assistance, academic advising, guidance on undergraduate research, study abroad opportunities, mentoring, workshops and cultural enrichment opportunities through the program.

Program Benefits

  • Significant tuition reduction for freshmen taking three or more OSP courses
  • Higher graduation rate than the average general student population.
  • Smaller freshman classes taught by a team of instructors focused on students’ academic development
  • Cultural enrichment and mentoring activities
  • Academic and career advisement
  • Academic and financial group work, workshops and tutorials
  • Access to additional scholarships including the J. Manning Hiers Scholarship, the Dr. Aisha S. Haynes Scholarship, and the Abney Scholarship. 

OSP Courses

Students take courses offered by OSP instructors during their freshman year. OSP classes are part of the regular USC curriculum and count toward graduation. Students can enroll in other university courses; however, tuition reduction only applies to OSP courses.

  • English 101
  • English 102
  • Environmental Studies 101
  • History 102
  • Psychology 101
  • Sociology 101
  • University 101
  • Math 111
  • Math 122
  • Math 115
  • Math 141
  • Speech 140
  • FINA 101 — Introduction to Personal Finance
  • English 102
  • English 285
  • History 109
  • History 112
  • Math 122
  • Math 141
  • Math 142
  • Math 170
  • Speech 140
  • Statistics 201
  • FINA 101 — Introduction to Personal Finance


To be eligible for OSP, a student must:

  • Be a resident of South Carolina
  • Be admitted to the University of South Carolina Columbia Campus
  • Have a family taxable income for the preceding year that is not greater than 150% of the Department of Human Services’ poverty guidelines
  • Be a first-generation college student
  • Be pursuing a bachelor’s degree
  • Apply for admission on or before the December 1 priority application deadline.
  • Complete and submit the free application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and any additional documentation requested by the Office of Student Financial Aid  and Scholarships by April 1
  • Be eligible to receive a federal Pell Grant
  • Enroll as a first-time, full-time freshman in the fall semester after being admitted to the program (admission must be within five years of high school graduation)

Gamecock Guarantee

The Gamecock Guarantee is a need-based financial and academic support program that expands access to the university. Financial Aid identifies and notifies eligible students after April 1 annually.
More about Gamecock Guarantee »

We're here for you.

If you have questions, we're happy to help. If you are a current UofSC student, call 803-777-5125 or visit our office at 1400 Wheat St. If you are a college-bound student currently attending middle or high school, call 803-777-5127 or visit our office at 1338 Pickens St.

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