The federal government is the primary source of financial aid for most college students. Also, the state of South Carolina offers scholarship and grants to state residents. Students must meet the following general requirements to be considered for federal and state aid:
- Be enrolled or accepted for enrollment in an eligible degree-seeking program. (Students may apply for aid before being accepted or enrolled.)
- Have a high school diploma, a General Education Development (GED) certificate, or have completed homeschooling. If the student doesn’t have any of those, he or she may still be eligible for federal student aid if he or she was enrolled in college or career school prior to July 1, 2012. Please contact the Financial Aid Office for additional information.
- Be making satisfactory academic progress toward his or her degree.
- Enroll at least half-time to receive aid from the Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized and Direct PLUS Loan programs.
- Be a U.S. citizen or national, a citizen of the Freely Associated States, or a U.S. permanent resident or other eligible noncitizen. (See below for more information.)
- Not owe a refund on a federal grant or be in default on any federal educational loan.
- Provide a correct Social Security number (SSN).
- Enroll for coursework that is accepted for credit by the student’s degree-granting program and attend all classes for which he or she enrolls. If the student fails a course, did not attend or participate, his or her financial aid could be adjusted. (Instructors report non-participation if a student receives a failing grade.)
- Use aid for educational purposes only.
- If receiving a LIFE Scholarship, State Need-based Grant, Lottery Tuition Assistance
Program, or Palmetto Fellows Scholarship, be a resident of South Carolina.
When a student submits their FAFSA, the U.S. Department of Education will match the application with records at the Social Security Administration (SSA) or, if the student is an eligible non-citizen, with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). If the student’s status cannot be confirmed, he or she must provide documentation to prove their citizenship status.
A student must be one of the following to be eligible to receive federal student aid:
- U.S. citizen or national;
- A citizen of the Freely Associated Statues: the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republics of Palau and the Marshall Islands.
- A U.S. permanent resident or other eligible noncitizen, such as asylee or refugee, Cuban/Haitian Entrant, American Indian born in Canada.
Confirming Your Citizenship Status
If the Financial Aid Office needs to verify your citizenship status, the following are acceptable documents:
- A Certificate of Naturalization (N-550 or N570)
- A Certificate of Citizenship (N-560 or N561)
- A copy of the student’s birth certificate showing that the student was born in the U.S., which includes Puerto Rico (on or after January 13, 1941), Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Swains Island, or the Northern Mariana Islands.
- A U.S. passport, current or expired.
- A wallet-sized passport card, issued by the State Department.
- A copy of Form FS-240 (Consular Report of Birth Abroad), FS545 (Certificate of Birth Issued by a Foreign Service Post), or DS1350 (Certification of Report of Birth). These are State Department documents.