You may contact the Scholarship Program Coordinator in the USC Aiken Office of Financial Aid if you have further questions or if you need additional information.

Please be aware that the information provided here is subject to change by the SC Legislature or the SC Commission on Higher Education. You may view guidelines for the LIFE Scholarship Program at www.che.sc.gov.

LIFE Award Amounts

The LIFE Scholarship maximum award amount is:

  • $5,000 for the base scholarship
  • An additional $2,500 for second, third or fourth year LIFE recipients majoring in math or science who meet all of the requirements for the LIFE Scholarship Enhancement.

Half of the scholarship is disbursed in the Fall term and half in the Spring term.

Note: The LIFE Scholarship in combination with all other scholarships and grants may not exceed the cost-of-attendance as defined in Title IV regulations.

Dropping a Class or Withdrawing

If you are receiving the LIFE Scholarship or any other financial aid, dropping a class or withdrawing may affect your refund. Depending upon the type(s) of financial aid awards involved, the timing of the withdrawal, the amount of the refund, and other factors, the financial aid recipient might receive a portion of the total refund amount or none of the refund amount. Under certain circumstances, the financial aid recipient that withdraws or drops classes will be required to repay financial aid funds received.

A student who is considering withdrawing or dropping a class should consult a Financial Aid Administrator before taking this action. 

LIFE Eligibility Requirements

All recipients must meet the following requirements:

  • Must be a U.S. citizen or a legal permanent resident that meets the definition of an eligible non-citizen under state residency statutes.
  • Must be a South Carolina resident at the time of high school graduation and at the time of college enrollment.
  • Must be one of the following:
    • a member of a class graduating from a high school located in South Carolina; or
    • a student who has successfully completed at least three of the final four years of high school within SC; or
    • a home school student who has successfully completed a high school home school program in SC in the manner required by law*; or
    • a student graduating from a preparatory high school outside of SC while a dependent of a parent or guardian who is a legal resident of SC and has custody of the dependent according to State Statute, Section 59-149-50A; or
    • a student whose parent or guardian has served in or has retired from one of the U.S. Armed Forces within the last four years, paid income taxes in SC for a majority of the years of service, and is a resident of SC.
  • Must be admitted, enrolled full-time, and classified as a degree-seeking undergraduate student in an eligible institution in SC. (A USC Aiken student must be enrolled in a minimum of 12 USCA credit hours per semester.)
  • Must never have been adjudicated delinquent and must never have been convicted of or pled guilty or nolo contendere to any felony in any state.
  • Must not have been adjudicated delinquent nor have been convicted of or pled guilty or nolo contendere to a second or subsequent alcohol or drug-related misdemeanor in any state within 12 months prior to the period of the award.
  • Must not be in default or owe a refund or repayment on any Federal or State financial aid.
  • Must not be a recipient of a Palmetto Fellows Scholarship, a SC HOPE Scholarship, or Lottery Tuition Assistance.

* Parents of home schooled students are encouraged to carefully investigate the requirements of the law before  graduation. Contact the SC Commission on Higher Education at (803) 737-2260 if you have questions or concerns about the home school association with which you are affiliated.

Eligibility lost may be regained by meeting eligibility requirements in the next award year. It is the student's responsibility to contact the Office of Financial Aid if he/she regains eligibility.

Students who do not meet the eligibility requirements at the beginning of the academic year and then come into compliance during the same academic year will NOT be eligible for the LIFE Scholarship until the following academic year, provided that they continue to meet the eligibility requirements.

Entering Freshmen

First-time entering freshmen attending an eligible four-year institution must meet all general eligibility requirements and two of the following three criteria to qualify for the LIFE Scholarship:

  • Graduate from high school with a 3.0 cumulative grade point ratio on the SC Uniform Grading Policy (UGP). 
  • Score an 1100 on the SAT or a 24 on the ACT.
    • SAT/ACT scores are accepted through the June test date of the high school graduation year.
    • The 1100 SAT requirement includes the combined scores of the Critical Reading and Math subsections of the test. The score from the Writing subsection of the SAT is not considered for the purpose of qualifying for the LIFE Scholarship.
    • A SAT Critical  Reading score and Math score from different test administrations may be used. The ACT composite score must be from one test sitting.
  • Graduate in the top 30% of the graduating class.
    • The ranking percentages must be reported to two decimal places (minimum) and may not be rounded. The class rank must be based on the SC Uniform Grading Policy.
    • NOTE: A first-time entering freshman who graduates from a non-ranking South Carolina approved home school program or out-of-state preparatory school must qualify for the scholarship based on the GPA and SAT/ACT criteria.

Continuing Students

A student who did not have initial eligibility for the LIFE Scholarship may become eligible in a subsequent award year. Also, a student who has lost eligibility may regain it in a subsequent award year. The LIFE Scholarship is awarded for one year and is renewable  for subsequent years when eligibility requirements are met. The scholarship will be awarded to a continuing student only at the beginning of an academic year (Fall semester).

To continue, earn, or regain eligibility, a student must:

  • Meet all general eligibility criteria
  • Earn an average of 30 credit hours for each academic year (Fall, Spring, Summer) equaling a minimum of 30 credit hours if a rising second year student, 60 credit hours if a rising third year student, or 90 credit hours if a rising fourth year student. 
    • Any credit hours earned before high school graduation, Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) credits,  exempted credit hours, and credit hours earned while on active duty will be used toward the credit hour requirement.
    • A student whose initial college enrollment was mid-year must earn 15 credit hours by the beginning of the next academic year (Fall semester). In subsequent years, the scholarship will be awarded only at the beginning of an academic year (Fall semester) if the student has earned 45, 75, or 105 credit hours.
  • Earn a minimum 3.0 LIFE GPA by the end of the academic year (Fall, Spring, Summer):
    • The LIFE GPA is the cumulative grade point average earned at all eligible public and independent institutions attended by the student (excluding remedial/developmental courses, non-degree credit courses for an associate's degree or higher, and continuing education courses).
    • It is the student's responsibility to ensure that transcripts from all institutions attended are sent to the USC Aiken Registrar's Office by the beginning of each academic year (Fall semester).
    • The LIFE GPA will be used to determine LIFE Scholarship eligibility only and will not be used to determine graduation eligibility or standing.
    • Students who have earned a 3.0 LIFE GPA by the end of the Spring semester and choose to enroll in a Summer session(s) will NOT be eligible to receive the LIFE Scholarship if their LIFE GPA falls below a 3.0 at the end of the Summer enrollment.

It is the student's responsibility to contact the Office of Financial Aid if he/she earns or regains eligibility.

Transfer Students

  • Must meet all general eligibility requirements.
  • Must have earned a minimum 3.0 LIFE GPA at all prior institutions
    • The LIFE GPA is the cumulative GPA earned at all eligible public and independent institutions attended by the student (excluding remedial/developmental courses, non-degree credit courses for an associate's degree or higher, and continuing education courses).
  • Must have earned a minimum of 30 credit hours (second year transfer), 60 credit hours (third year transfer), or 90 credit hours (fourth year transfer) at the participating institution and all prior institutions (excluding remedial/developmental courses, non-degree credit courses for an associate's degree or higher, and continuing education courses) based on initial college enrollment.
    • A student whose initial college enrollment was mid-year must have earned by the beginning of the academic year (Fall semester) 15 credit hours, 45 credit hours, 75 credit hours, or 105 credit hours. The LIFE Scholarship will not be awarded mid-year in subsequent years.

The institution to which the student is transferring will determine the classification of the transferring student and the remaining terms of eligibility available based on initial college enrollment.

A student who received the scholarship and transfers mid-year to another institution may be eligible to receive the scholarship for the Spring term.

It is the student's responsibility to contact the Office of Financial Aid for eligibility to be determined.

LIFE Terms of Eligibility

The maximum number of semesters in which a student at USCA may receive the LIFE Scholarship is eight (8) semesters for a four-year degree program.

The period of eligibility for a student in a four-year program is the first eight (8) semesters after initial college enrollment. The eight-semester limit is not determined by the number of semesters the LIFE Scholarship has been received and includes periods of non-enrollment after the initial college enrollment. For example, if a student enrolls in college for the first time in Fall 2014, the last term of eligibility to receive the LIFE Scholarship for a four-year degree program will be Spring 2018.

The LIFE Scholarship is not available to a student who is seeking a degree beyond his/her first baccalaureate degree.

LIFE Appeals

If an extenuating circumstance has prevented a student from meeting the continuing eligibility requirements for the LIFE Scholarship, he/she has the option of requesting an appeal with the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education. Information and an appeal form are available on the Commission's website at: www.che.sc.gov.

Become Eligible for the LIFE Scholarship

A student who did not have initial eligibility for the LIFE Scholarship may become eligible in a subsequent award year by meeting the following criteria:

  • Meet all general eligibility criteria
  • Earn 30 credit hours by the end of the academic year (Fall, Spring, Summer), excluding remedial/ developmental courses, non-degree credit courses for an associate degree or higher, and continuing education courses.
    • Any credit hours earned before high school graduation, Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) credits, exempted credit hours, and credit hours earned while on active duty will be used toward the credit hour requirement.
    • A HOPE Scholarship recipient whose initial college enrollment was mid-year may become eligible for the LIFE Scholarship by earning 15 credit hours by the end of the academic year (Spring, Summer).
  • Earn a minimum 3.0 LIFE GPA by the end of the academic year (Fall, Spring, Summer): 
    • The LIFE GPA is the cumulative GPA earned at all eligible public and independent institutions attended by the student (excluding remedial/developmental courses, non-degree credit courses for an associate degree or higher, and continuing education courses).
    • Students who have earned a 3.0 LIFE GPA by the end of the Spring semester and choose to enroll in a Summer session(s) will NOT be eligible to receive the LIFE Scholarship if their LIFE GPA falls below a 3.0 at the end of the summer enrollment.