General University Awards for S.C. Residents
While these awards generally cannot be combined with one another (see Presidential Scholars Award, Provost Scholars Award and USC STEM Supplement below), they can be combined with a state lottery funded scholarship, making your USC education even more affordable!
Stamps Scholars annual value: At least $20,000
Enrichment fund: $15,000
Four-year value: At least $95,000
Carolina Scholars Award annual value: $15,000
Enrichment fund: $10,000
Four-year value: $70,000
1801 Scholars Award annual value: $10,000
Four-year value: $40,000
The Stamps, Carolina and 1801 Scholars Awards are the most prestigious awards offered by the university to South Carolina residents. Fifty students with strong academic records and leadership qualities will be invited to participate in an interview weekend. Five will be named Stamps Scholars, 20 will be named Carolina Scholars, and 25 will be named 1801 Scholars. Candidates must participate in the entire Top Scholars Weekend to be considered for these awards. Last year, S.C. Top Scholars had an average SAT score of 1530 (ACT score of 34) and an average high school GPA of 5.3 and were in the top 1% of their high school class, on average.
To apply for these awards, you must submit both a USC application and a Honors College application supplement to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. The deadline for the Honors College application supplement is Nov. 15.
Annual value: Up to $10,000
Four-year value: Up to $40,000
Annual value: $8,000
Four-year value: $32,000
Sponsored by the University of South Carolina Alumni Association, these awards signify outstanding achievement in academics, leadership, talent and service. In 2023, recipients of this award had an average SAT score of 1453 (ACT score of 34) and an average high school GPA of 5.4 and were in the top 2% of their high school class, on average.
Annual value: $5,000
Four-year value: $20,000
This scholarship is awarded to incoming freshmen based on academic merit and financial need. Candidates typically present outstanding achievement in academics, leadership, talent and service. In 2023, recipients of this award had an average SAT score of 1520 (ACT score of 34) and an average high school GPA of 5.2 and were in the top 3% of their high school class, on average.
Note: A separate Honors College/Top Scholars application must be completed by Nov. 15 to be considered for the Trustees’ Endowment Scholars Award.
Annual value: $3,000
Four-year value: $12,000
These scholarships are awarded to students ranked first in their class at the end of their junior or senior years. Class rank is the sole criterion for this award. Students must be S.C. residents graduating from an S.C. high school to be eligible.
Annual value: $3,000
Four-Year value: $12,000
In 2023, recipients of this award had an average SAT score of 1380 (ACT score of 31) and an average high school GPA of 5.0 and were in the top 5% of their high school class, on average. Palmetto Fellows automatically qualify for this award.
Annual value: $2,000
Four-year value: $8,000
In 2023, recipients of this award had an average SAT score of 1337 (ACT score of 29) and an average high school GPA of 4.8 and were in the top 10% of their high school class, on average.
Annual value: $1,000
Four-year value: $4,000
This award is for students who are named Palmetto Fellows and score a minimum of 1450 on the SAT or 33 on the ACT. The Presidential Scholars Award may be combined with another general university award.
Annual value: $500
Four-year value: $2,000
In 2023, recipients of this award had an average SAT score of 1241 (ACT score of 26) and an average high school GPA of 4.7 and were in the top 15% of their high school class, on average.
Annual value: $3,300 freshman year only
To support students pursuing degrees in science, math, technology and engineering fields (STEM fields), USC offers this one-time, freshman-year-only award supplement to all admitted freshmen who are named Palmetto Fellows and who enroll in a STEM-eligible major — a list made available through the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships. The University of South Carolina STEM Supplement may be added to any other Admissions Merit Award.
*May not be combined with any other Admissions Merit Award, except for Provost Scholars Award, Presidential Scholars Award and/or University of South Carolina STEM Supplement.
For important and frequently asked questions about USC's freshman scholarships and policies, review the Scholarship FAQs.
State Scholarships for S.C. Residents
The state awards several different types of lottery-funded scholarships to eligible South Carolina residents. Any one of the awards listed in this section can be added to any university-issued scholarship.
Annual value: up to $6,700 for the first year
Four-year value: up to $29,200
You are eligible to apply for this state-awarded scholarship, worth up to $6,700 for the first year and up to $7,500 for each of the next three years, if you are an SC high school student with exemplary academic credentials. Students who are named Palmetto Fellows will receive a minimum $3,000 Dean's Scholars award or equivalent (such as Valedictorian, if applicable). For more information, contact your high school guidance counselor or the SC Commission on Higher Education. Palmetto Fellows recipients are not eligible for LIFE or SC HOPE scholarships.
Annual value: $5,000
Four-year value: $20,000
The Legislative Incentives for Future Excellence Scholarship is a state-awarded scholarship valued at $5,000 per year. If you meet two of the following three requirements, you are eligible for this scholarship: 1) your final, cumulative grade point average is at least a “B” (3.00); 2) your SAT score is at least 1100 on critical reading and math sections combined (ACT composite score of at least 22); or 3) you graduate in the top 30 percent of your class.
Annual value: up to $2,500 beginning sophomore year
Three-year value: up to $7,500
Palmetto Fellows and LIFE Scholarship recipients enrolled in certain math and science majors may be eligible for an enhancement award beginning in their second year of enrollment. Eligible students must have completed 14 hours in mathematics or life or physical science, or any combination of both, during their first year. Complete information on the LIFE Scholarship Enhancement and Palmetto Fellows Enhancement are available through the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships.
Annual value: $2,800
The S.C. HOPE scholarship is state-awarded and valued at $2,800 for the freshman year only. If your final, cumulative GPA is at least a “B” (3.00) and you do not qualify for a Palmetto Fellows or LIFE scholarship, you are eligible to receive this scholarship.
**While the vast majority of incoming freshman Palmetto Fellows Scholarship recipients will receive $6,700, there is a cap on the total amount of funding that can be awarded to an individual student per year from the state of South Carolina. If the Palmetto Fellows Scholarship, in combination with all other sources of gift aid (scholarships and grants), including federal, state, USC and private funds, exceeds the recipient’s cost of attendance cap, adjustment to the Palmetto Fellows Scholarship will be made in order to prevent an overaward.
Students attending the University of South Carolina’s Columbia campus will not be required to submit standardized SAT or ACT scores through the spring, summer or fall 2023 terms. The test-optional policy applies to students applying for general university and South Carolina Honors College admission, as well as to merit scholarships awarded by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. The test-optional policy does not apply to state scholarships. For questions about the university's test optional policy, review Test-Optional Admissions FAQ.