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Office of Fellowships and Scholar Programs

Group of Top Scholar students

Top Scholars

These scholars are learners first and foremost, but also serve as researchers, global citizens, volunteers, campus leaders, and interns, and are well prepared for graduate school and the workplace. Learn more about the Top Scholars application process.

What does it mean to be a Top Scholar?

We are the home base for Stamps, Carolina, McNair, 1801 and Horseshoe Scholars. Our scholars view their award as an opportunity, not simply a reward for academic achievement. They are among some of the most giving, spirited and appreciative students at the University of South Carolina.  

The Carolina Scholarship was developed in 1969 and began with nine scholars. Now more than 80 students have this award, keeping bright South Carolinians in the state. In 1998, the McNair Scholarship was established with a $30 million gift from alumnus Robert C. McNair and his wife, Janice, to attract the nation’s most talented students. And in 2013, the university partnered with the Stamps Charitable Foundation, which provides merit scholarships at nearly 40 schools across the country.

We also welcome up to 25 in-state 1801 Scholars and 20 out-of-state Horseshoe Scholars annually. These scholars excel alongside their Carolina, McNair and Stamps peers to create a strong, unified body of Top Scholars at the University of South Carolina. From their freshman year as First-Year Scholars, all the way to graduation, these students have four full years of university support.


I felt the scholarship funding allowed me to explore more of what the university offered beyond the classroom and put me in touch with people who helped me have a full and vibrant experience while in school.

University of South Carolina Top Scholar


All scholars receive the benefit of co-curricular advising from the Office of Fellowships and Scholar Programs.

As Top Scholar [pdf] chronicles, these students have significantly enhanced the reputation of the university.