Congratulations on your acceptance into the University of South Carolina Aiken's graduate program! The Office of Financial Aid looks forward to assisting you with all of your financial aid needs.
About Federal Direct Loans
The primary financial aid available to graduate students at the University of South Carolina Aiken is federal direct loans. Students apply for the loans on the Federal Student Aid website using their FSA ID. In addition to the federal direct loans, students have the option to apply for a Private Education Loan.
Eligibility for Federal Loans
In order to receive federal direct loans, applicants are required to meet the following requirements:
- Earned a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution.
- Be accepted for enrollment in a graduate degree program.
- Meet deadlines in application submission and submitting additional documents.
- Be a US citizen or an eligible non-citizen.
- Be registered for selective service (if applicable).
- Maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)
- Not be in default with any other federal loans.
Applying for Federal Direct Loans
Students need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the appropriate aid year and include the UofSC Aiken school code: 003449.
If students have exhausted the maximum federal direct loan, they could apply for a Graduate Plus Loan. The Graduate Plus federal direct loan is for unsubsidized funds only and is credit based. Loans will accrue interest once disbursed to a student’s account.
Full time graduate student status is 6 credit hours. Budgets are based on full time student status. If a graduate student takes more than 6 credit hours per semester, contact the Office of Financial Aid regarding increasing the standard budget.
In order to receive federal direct funding, graduate students must be enrolled at least half time or 3 credit hours.
An alternative option for funding the graduate program is a Private Education Loan. Follow the link below to research opportunities.
Each year, the Department of Education selects students for a process called verification. Students selected for verification will be notified via email instructing them to check their Self Service Carolina (SSC) account for additional information needed to complete the awarding process.
Note: The UofSC Aiken email account is the official method of communicating with students.
Packaging of awards will not occur until all requirements are satisfied.
Once financial aid is packaged, students must log into Self Service Carolina (SSC) and accept the offered awards. There may be additional requirements in order for the aid to be disbursed to the student’s account. These requirements may include completing Entrance Counseling and signing a Master Promissory Note.
Financial aid for UofSC Aiken summer sessions requires the current year FAFSA (ex: Summer 2022 will use the 2021-2022 FAFSA) and a separate online UofSC Aiken summer financial aid application (for loans only). The application is available on Self Service Carolina (SSC) beginning April 1. Because of the compressed time frames for the summer, our office must adhere to application deadlines. The priority application deadline to complete the application is May 15. The Summer Financial Aid Application will be removed from SSC on May 15.
To be considered for most aid, you must be enrolled at least half time. This equates to six hours overall summer sessions for undergraduate students and three hours for graduate students.
Financial aid available for summer school is extremely limited.
If you have Federal Direct Loan eligibility for the academic year and you use all of that eligibility in the Fall and Spring semesters, there will be no Direct Loan funds available to use for summer sessions.
You may apply for private educational loans to use for summer enrollment. For our office to process a summer private loan, you must complete the application process with your lender and submit a UofSC Aiken summer financial aid application by the deadline.
To view the Academic Success Workshop, click on the link below.
After opening the link, you'll be prompted to enter your network username and password. Your network username is the first portion of your official university email address (@mailbox.sc.edu or @email.sc.edu). You should use the same password that you use to log in to your email.
If you receive an ACCESS DENIED message, visit myaccount.sc.edu and set up multifactor authentication under the Account Settings field. For security reasons, please log out and exit your web browser when you are done accessing services that require authentication.
The Office of Student Financial Aid (OSFA) considers every aspect of the administration of student financial aid to be a vital part of either its compliant administrative responsibilities or service to students and their families, if not both.
While written specifically for the administration of financial aid within the Office of Student Financial Aid, the University of South Carolina Aiken recognizes that this code applies to all of its administration, faculty, staff, and affiliated organizations. Furthermore, the university agrees to guard against any relationship that could be construed to reflect misconduct with regard the administration of any financial aid by the university.
In conducting the responsibilities mandated by statute, regulation, and/or other directive as well as those associated with quality service delivery, the OSFA adheres to the following guiding principles:
No action will be taken by any member of the OSFA staff that is for their personal benefit or that could be perceived to be a conflict of interest. Staff will disclose to the appropriate office leadership and/or to the Associate Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management any involvement, interest in, or potential conflict of interest with any entity with which the University has a business relationship.
Employees with the OSFA will not award aid to themselves or their immediate family members. The oversight of this awarding and related activities will be assigned to a designated OSFA staff member by the Associate Vice Chancellor of Enrollment Management to avoid the appearance of any conflict of interest.
Code of Conduct for Student Loans
Beginning with the 2010-11 academic year, all Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford Loans as well as Parent and Graduate PLUS Loans are being made through the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program. As a result of this requirement, all relationships and related potential issues with lenders that could be related to the administration of these programs under the Federal Family Educational Loan (FFEL) Program have ceased.
The OSFA will continue to process private educational loans through any lender requested by the borrower without any prejudice. When appropriate, and in what is believed to be the borrower's best interest, timely communication will be initiated to help ensure that the borrower is aware of any perceived, potential issues that might arise from his or her lender selection; however, the borrower's lender choice will always be honored.
The OSFA will continue to maintain a professional relationship with all lenders of private educational loans with whom it has worked during recent years. In an effort to assist in the selection of a lender, a listing of all lenders from whom USCA students have borrowed private educational loans in the past five years will be made available. Students wishing to borrow a private educational loan may select from this list of lenders who, to the best of OSFA knowledge, are currently active lenders, or they may select another lender of their choice. The OSFA will not offer any endorsement or provide any specific information about these lenders; however, it encourages students and parents to learn all they can about any lender and loan product they are considering. The provided lender list presents links through which a great deal of information should be available. The OSFA staff will continue to respond to specific questions about any lenders listed to the extent of their knowledge. It is generally best for a borrower to continue with the same lender for all private educational loan borrowing.
While the staff of the OSFA fully appreciates the value of working in consort with lenders to improve the quality of their goods and services, no individual members of the OSFA will accept anything of value, including reimbursement for associated travel, for participation on lender advisory or governing boards.
The OSFA will not request or accept any staffing services from employees of a lender. Should there be any casual conversation between an on-campus visiting lender and a student, OSFAS will ensure that the lender’s employee does nothing to misrepresent him or herself to a student in a way that might be construed as being a representative of the University. Furthermore, the OSFA will never participate in the branding of private loans with the school’s name.
Accuracy and Accessibility
Information provided by the OSFA staff will be accurate, unbiased, and not reflect any preference.
Institutional award notifications and supporting documents will provide clear and thorough disclosures of all information pertinent to the recipient’s understanding of the factors related to his or her annual financial aid award.
The OSFA will ensure or encourage that all required consumer information is displayed in an easily accessible location of the institution’s website and that any printed materials are identifiable and distributed as appropriate.
USC Aiken received $1,532,706 through the CARES Act to support students who incurred expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the COVID-19 global pandemic.
To receive a CARES Act Emergency Grant, students must complete the 2019-2020 FAFSA to demonstrate eligibility for Title IV aid.
Based on additional guidance provided by the US Department of Education as to what populations of students can receive emergency grants, USC Aiken developed the following plan for awarding and disbursing the funds.
Student Populations Excluded from the Distribution:
- Students who did NOT complete a FAFSA
- Students enrolled as Non-degree
- International/DACA Students
- Students enrolled in 100% online programs (Palmetto College, RN to BSN, MBA, MEd)
- Students who withdrew prior to March 16
- Students not making satisfactory academic progress
- Students enrolled less than half-time
All other students were awarded emergency grant amounts based on 1) Pell eligibility and 2) enrollment status:
|Student Population (FAFSA Filers)||Amount|
|Undergrad w/ Pell - 12+ hours||1000|
|Undergrad w/ Pell - 9-11 hours||750|
|Undergrad w/ Pell - <9 hours||500|
|Undergrad no Pell - 12+ hours||500|
|Undergrad no Pell - 9-11 hours||375|
|Undergrad no Pell - <9 hours||250|
|Masters of Science - full-time||300|
Eligible students were awarded a grant entitled CARES Act Fund on Monday, May 4, 2020 and notified by email the same day. To receive the funds, eligible students must access their Self-Service Carolina (SSC) account and manually accept the award.
The deadline for students to accept the award was May 31, 2020.
The message attached to the CARES Act Fund reads as follows:
CARES emergency grant funds are available to eligible students as a result of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. By accepting the CARES Act Fund, you acknowledge that you have incurred expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19.
After acceptance of the award, the funds will be disbursed to the students’ accounts and a refund will be issued regardless if there is an outstanding balance remaining on the account.
A portion of the allocation has been set aside to award emergency grants to students who have not already completed a 2019-2020 FAFSA.
In order to receive funds from the CARES Act, students must have done so before June 15, 2020, and be deemed Title IV eligible according to federal regulations.
In early September 2020, any CARES funding that had been declined or not accepted by awardees in the initial awarding process was reallocated to students who accepted a CARES award and was eligible for a 2019-2020 Federal Pell Grant at the time of the initial award. This additional award was $247 per recipient. The grants must be used for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus (including eligible expenses under a student’s cost of attendance such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child care). The grants may not fully cover the expenses a student has incurred due to the disruption.
If you have been instructed to complete one of these forms, click on the appropriate link below and print the form. You may mail, fax or bring the completed form to our office.
University of South Carolina Aiken
Office of Financial Aid
471 University Parkway
Aiken, SC 29801