South Carolina Student Loans

For South Carolina residents and non-residents student loans are an option for their higher education. Learn more on how to apply, the types of loans you can qualify and all the scholarships, grants and much more.

Updated by Chandni Agarwal on 8th January 2020

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The reputation for achievement in South Carolina’s higher education is growing. In 2008 more than 70% of high school students from this state went on to enroll in college. Institutions like the University of South Carolina, The College of Charleston, Clemson University, the Medical University of South Carolina offers a wealth of educational opportunities. In Palmetto State there are many diverse technical colleges and professional programs.

Before planning for your higher education, you should thoroughly research all the financial aid options, and it into consideration which will be best suitable for you, as the cost of tuition is ascending each year. You can find a lot of scholarships and student loan programs that can help you achieve your goal, no matter if you opt for a private college, public university, or any professional program in South Carolina (SC). 

Table of Content

 Federal Loans for SC Students

Federal student loans are a great way to help cover the costs associated with getting your degree. Nowadays, Without any sort of financial assistance, it’s hopeless to earn a college degree. Both state residents and non-resident receive financial aid from the student body of The University of South Carolina. A large ratio of this aid comes in the form of federal loans issued by the U.S. Department of Education. Includes-

Direct Loans

 In this loan type, the eligible students are helped to finance their education at a fixed interest rate. 

Direct PLUS and Grad PLUS Loans

Students who are attending a professional degree program or at least enrolled half time in graduate programs are provided low-interest funding under this loan type. 

With the help of a single application Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), you can apply for federal assistance. You can complete your degree at reasonable rates if federal loans will supplement your state-based financial aid.


State Specific SC Student Loans

Since the 1970s, the South Carolina Student Loan has been a well established and non-profit educational lender and has been issuing reasonable financial aid. With private loans, you can finance your education in South Carolina at lower than average interest rates. Several loan programs for South Carolina residents and non-residents are sponsored by the SCSL:

The Palmetto Assistance Loan (PAL)

In this program, the legal U.S. citizens are offered private loans at a low, fixed interest rate. Tuition, educational fees, books, supplies or a personal computer are all covered in this loan. Applicants must be enrolled in private, public school or certificate programs in South Carolina. If SC students are attending an eligible school in any other state, then also they are eligible for PAL. The PAL program is for both SC residents and non-residents.

The SC Teachers Loan Program

 This is a loan type specially designed for gifted college students to the teaching profession. Graduates who elect to teach in South Carolina in a subject or geographic area with a critical shortage can qualify for loan forgiveness. This program is available to SC residents, and applicants must meet specific GPA requirements.

The SC PACE Loan

Students who are enrolled in the South Carolina Program of Alternative Certification for Educators (PACE) can be eligible for a PACE loan. The current SC teaching certificate should be there with applicants and they should be working as a full-time teacher in a South Carolina public school.

The SC Career Changers Loan: In order to support South Carolina professionals to want to become teachers this program was initiated. At least three years preceding the application, the applicants should have completed their baccalaureate (bachelor) degree. Work experience requirements also apply. Both the SC PACE Loan and SC Career Changers Loans are eligible for loan forgiveness.

The PAL Consolidation Loan

By combining multiple student loans in a single loan, you can save your money and simplify your finances and this process is called consolidation. With a PAL Consolidation Loan, in one monthly payment, you can pay off both your federal and private student loans. To be eligible for PAL Loans the applicant should be the U.S. citizen either a legal resident of South Carolina or if a non-resident then should not have any outstanding loans at South Carolina schools. Other things like your credit score and debt-to-income ratio will also be considered. You should also have a co-signer who is eligible for this program if you don’t meet the financial requirements for the program.


Private Educational loans in SC

Once you have exhausted yourself of federal student loan options you can explore the private student loans. These can be used to cover any extra costs that might have been left out. Financing is available through private lenders like Credit Unions, Corporate entities, and other financial institutions, besides federal loans and SCSL loans. In other terms, private loans are also called Alternative Educational Loans, it has a higher interest rate and fewer repayment terms than a loan provided by the govt, you should not consider this type of loan as a primary source of financial aid. 

Before making any words with a private lender, students who are applying for private loans must compare their interest rates, lending fees, and repayment terms with all other options. Borrowers must also be aware that some private loans have a higher interest rate after the student graduates and the loan enters repayment.

Private educational loans don’t have any support from the govt and the rules and regulations also differ from federal loans. The interest rates are higher in private loans than federal loans the same goes with lending fees as well. It’s very crucial that you understand not only the terms of a private educational loan, the history, and the financial stability before you accept any credit.


Applying for SC Student Loans

You can apply for any of the loans issued by the South Carolina Student Loan by contacting the agency for an application or by downloading an application from the SCSL website directly. You will be required to sign a promissory note if your application is accepted. A promissory note is a binding legal contract that sets the repayment terms and the interest rate of your loan. The lender’s cancellation and deferment policies are also clarified by the promissory note.

The students who have received their loans by attending the entrance and exit counseling sessions are required by the South Carolina Student Loan. Before receiving their first loan disbursement and exit counseling before graduation the borrowers should complete their entrance counseling. It is ensured while the counseling that student borrowers know all the terms and conditions of their loans. 


State-Specific Scholarships in South Carolina

To finance your higher education loans isn’t the only option. Finding sources of free financial assistance should be your first priority when you are searching for financial aid. Which cover options like scholarships, work-study jobs, and tuition grants. You must check with the Financial Aid Office at your college or university for information on funding sources that won’t increase your student debt.

Several programs are being sponsored by South Carolina to help college students with there higher education. You will have higher chances to apply for one or more grants, scholarships as well as loans when you apply to a university or college in SC. Based on academic achievement, academic involvement, financial need or a combination of all these factors, scholarships can be awarded.

Below there is a list which has three most popular scholarships available in South Carolina:

The Palmetto Fellows Scholarship

The prestigious Palmetto Fellows Scholarship is sponsored by the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education, which is based on academic merit. The student should be a legal resident of South Carolina enrolled in a public or private high school or homeschooling program, to be eligible for the scholarships. For a four-year degree program, this scholarship is applicable and eligible students receive funding for their freshman through senior years. To meet the eligibility requirement for the fellowship the student must be enrolled in an eligible school of South Carolina should have a good credit history, and should not be having any default from their previous student loans. Moreover, the student should be a legal  U.S. resident and should follow SAp guidelines in order to keep receiving financial assistance. 

The LIFE Scholarship

 This type of scholarship is for the South Carolina residents who are pursuing their first undergraduate degree. Students who are eligible for the Palmetto Fellows Scholarship are not eligible for the LIFE Scholarship.  

The HOPE Scholarship

The legal residents of South Carolina who are enrolled in an undergraduate program and seeking their first degree are qualified for the HOPE Scholarship. Students cannot be eligible for the HOPE Scholarship if they have been qualified for the Palmetto Fellows Scholarship or the LIFE Scholarship. 

The applicants should meet the precise requirements such as achieving minimum scores on standardized tests or maintaining a certain grade point average (GPA), to be eligible for a South Carolina scholarship. Students whose loans are in default or who have committed any kind of violence cannot qualify. Scholarship funds are not required to be paid as we do that with student loans, but scholarships have requirements and restrictions for maintaining your funding.

For the graduate and undergraduates students in South Carolina many private, non-institutional scholarships are available. Community organizations, professional clubs, or individuals issue these funds. The total amount of your federal or state-based aid will be affected by private scholarships.


Tuition Grants in SC

Government departments, educational institutions, non-profit organizations, corporate entities, foundations, trusts, grants are awarded by them.  You don’t have any obligations to repay these funds, the awardee must meet specific requirements to maintain for funding. Carolina residents can apply for a number of federal and state-based grant programs including:

Pell Grants

Pell Grants Program is subsidized by the U.S. Department of Education which provides need-based federal grants to qualifying undergraduates. Pell grants are not required to be paid like that of the federal loans. Students who apply for federal aid by completing the FAFSA are considered for Pell Grant.

South Carolina Tuition Grants

This loan is subsidized by the South Carolina Higher Education Tuition Grants Commission, the legal residents of SC who are continuing a degree at a public or private college in the state then only these need-based grants will be awarded to them. The academic standards of the students should be good, to establish their financial need. At the time of applying for FAFSA, students can apply for South Carolina Tuition Grants as well.

Lottery Assistance Tuition Grants

The state lottery funds are utilized in the SC Lottery Assistance Program which can help students who are attending two-year programs in South Carolina to cover their tuition costs. If the full time or part-time students are attending a two-year technical institution or community college, then they can be eligible for this program. For lottery assistance, the FAFSA application can be used.