The Palmetto Fellows Scholarship Program is a merit-based scholarship program administered by the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education. The scholarship must be applied directly toward the cost of attendance, less any other gift aid received. Palmetto Fellows may be supported for a maximum of eight full-time semesters of study toward the first bachelor's degree at a participating four-year institution in South Carolina.

Purpose

  • Recognize the most academically talented high school seniors in SC;
  • Encourage academically talented students to attend college in the State; and
  • Retain talented minority students who might otherwise pursue studies outside the State. 

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 Palmetto Fellows Scholarship Program at www.che.sc.gov.

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

Award Amounts

The Palmetto Fellows Scholarship maximum award amount is:

  • $6,700 for first year Palmetto Fellows
  • $7,500 for second, third or fourth year Palmetto Fellows
  • An additional $2,500 for second, third or fourth year Palmetto Fellows majoring in math or science who meet all of the requirements for the Palmetto Fellows Enhancement

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

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

Dropping a Class or Withdrawing

If you are receiving the Palmetto Fellows 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 who 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.

Initial Eligibility Requirements

For early awards, the deadline to submit applications to the SC Commission on Higher Education for the Palmetto Fellows Scholarship is in December. High school seniors were eligible to apply if they met one of the following sets of  academic requirements. (Students cannot use the early awards criteria to be eligible for the final awards):

  • Score at least 1200 on the SAT (27 on the ACT) by the November test administration. 
    • The score on the SAT must be calculated by using the highest Math score combined with the highest Critical Reading score (formerly known as the Verbal score). Students cannot use the Writing subsection score to meet the minimum SAT score.
    • The score on the ACT is determined based on the composite score at one test sitting;
  • Earn a minimum 3.50 cumulative GPA on the SC Uniform Grading Policy (UGP) at the end of the junior year. 
    • GPAs must be reported to at least two decimal places and cannot be rounded; and
  • Rank in the top six percent of the class at the end of either the sophomore or the junior year.  

OR Alternative Criteria:

  • Score at least 1400 on the SAT (32 on the ACT) by the November test administration. 
    • The score on the SAT must be calculated by using the highest Math score combined with the highest Critical Reading score (formerly known as the Verbal score). Students cannot use the Writing subsection score to meet the minimum SAT score.
    • The score on the ACT is determined based on the composite score at one test sitting; and
  • Earn a minimum 4.00 cumulative GPA on the SC UGP at the end of the junior year.
    • GPAs must be reported to at least two decimal places and cannot be rounded.

NOTE: Home schooled students who are unable to obtain rank verification and SC residents attending out-of-state high schools must use this second/alternative criteria in order to qualify for the Palmetto Fellows Scholarship.

For final awards, students must submit applications to the SC Commission on Higher Education for the Palmetto Fellows Scholarship by June. High school seniors may apply if they meet one of the following sets of academic requirements:

  • Score at least 1200 on the SAT (27 on the ACT) by the June national test administration of the senior year. 
    • The score on the SAT must be calculated by using the highest Math score combined with the highest Critical Reading score (formerly known as the Verbal score). Students cannot use the Writing subsection score to meet the minimum SAT score.
    • The score on the ACT is determined based on the composite score at one test sitting;
  • Earn a minimum 3.50 cumulative GPA on the SC UGP at the end of the senior year. 
    • GPAs must be reported to at least two decimal places and cannot be rounded; and
  • Rank in the top six percent of the class at the end of the sophomore, junior or senior year. 

OR Alternative Criteria:

  • Score at least 1400 on the SAT (32 on the ACT) by the June national test administration of the senior year. 
    • The score on the SAT must be calculated by using the highest Math score combined with the highest Critical Reading score (formerly known as the Verbal score). Students cannot use the Writing subsection score to meet the minimum SAT score.
    • The score on the ACT is determined based on the composite score at one test sitting; and
  • Earn a minimum 4.00 cumulative GPA on the SC UGS at the end of the senior year. GPAs must be reported to at least two decimal places and cannot be rounded.

NOTE: Home schooled students who are unable to obtain rank verification and SC residents attending out-of-state high schools must use this second/alternative criterion in order to qualify for the Palmetto Fellows Scholarship.

In order to be eligible to apply for a Palmetto Fellows Scholarship, a high school senior must also meet all of the following general eligibility requirements:

  • Be enrolled in an approved SC public or private high school, an approved SC home school program of study, or a preparatory high school located outside the State while a dependent of a legal resident of South Carolina;
  • Be a legal resident of South Carolina as defined in applicable State statutes governing the determination of residency for tuition and fee purposes;
  • Be a U.S. citizen or a legal permanent resident (who meets the definition of an eligible non-citizen under State residency statutes);
  • Be seriously considering attending, have applied, or have been accepted for admission to an eligible four-year institution in South Carolina;
  • Affirm that he or she has never been convicted of any felonies and has not been convicted of a second or subsequent alcohol or drug-related misdemeanor offense within the past academic year by submitting a signed affidavit to the financial aid office of the institution at which the student is enrolled; and
  • Must not be a recipient of a LIFE Scholarship,  a SC HOPE Scholarship, or Lottery Tuition Assistance.

Continuing Eligibility Requirements

  • Enroll full-time at the time of the scholarship disbursement (USCA students must be enrolled in a minimum of 12 USCA hours in order for the award to be disbursed.);
  • Earn a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA on a 4.0 scale for graduation purposes (USC system GPA) by the end of each academic year;
  • Earn a minimum of 30 credit hours for graduation purposes by the end of the academic year (fall, spring and summer terms). This is not an average.
    • Exempted credit hours (such as AP, CLEP, etc.), credit hours earned before high school graduation (i.e., dual enrollment credit hours), and credit hours earned the summer term immediately following high school graduation cannot be used to meet the annual credit hour requirement;
  • Maintain SC residency as defined in applicable State statutes governing the determination of residency for tuition and fee purposes;
  • Must not owe a refund or repayment on a State Grant, Pell Grant or a Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant and must not be in default on a loan under the Federal Perkins Loan or Federal Stafford Loan program and must certify this by submitting a signed affidavit to the financial aid office of the institution at which the student is enrolled;
  • Affirm that he/she has never been convicted of any felonies and has not been convicted of a second or subsequent alcohol or drug-related misdemeanor offense within the past academic year by submitting a signed affidavit to the financial aid office of the institution at which the student is enrolled; and
  • Complete any other documentation required by the financial aid office of the institution at which the student is enrolled.

If the continued eligibility requirements are not maintained, you forfeit continued participation in the program and your scholarship will be discontinued. If your Palmetto Fellows Scholarship is discontinued, you may be eligible to receive the LIFE Scholarship if you meet the program requirements.

Application Process

The South Carolina Commission on Higher Education mails application materials to all high schools and home school associations in the State during the fall of the student's senior year of high school. The Commission also provides a news release to all of the major newspapers within SC regarding the Palmetto Fellows Scholarship and application deadlines for the current graduating class. Students who are enrolled at an out-of-state high school are personally responsible for contacting the Commission about the application process and must adhere to the same deadlines.

The assistance of counselors is required to ensure that all eligible students are given the opportunity to apply by providing an application to the students for completion. Application materials must be submitted to the Commission on Higher Education by the established deadlines. The early award application deadline is in December, and the final award application deadline is in June. Please contact your high school counselor for additional information or to complete an application.

Appeals

If an extenuating circumstance has prevented you from meeting the continuing eligibility requirements for the Palmetto Fellows Scholarship, you have the option of requesting an appeal with the SC Commission on Higher Education. Information and an appeal form are available on the Commission's website at: www.che.sc.gov