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Scholarship Enhancements

Financial Aid

In the 2007 Legislative Session, the South Carolina General Assembly passed legislation that increases the maximum award amounts for the LIFE and Palmetto Fellows Scholarships for college students who have completed their initial year of enrollment, who are majoring in approved STEM disciplines, and who meet all eligibility requirements.

To be eligible for the LIFE or Palmetto Fellows Scholarship Enhancement each academic year, a student must:

  • Be a LIFE or Palmetto Fellows Scholarship recipient at the time the Scholarship Enhancement is disbursed
  • Successfully complete at least fourteen credit hours of instruction in approved STEM coursework by the end of the first year of college enrollment;
  • Be enrolled in the second year, third year, or fourth year (fifth year only if enrolled in a Commission approved five-year bachelor's degree) at an eligible independent or public institution;
  • Be enrolled full-time, degree-seeking in a declared major in an eligible STEM program;
  • Be making satisfactory academic progress toward completion of his/her declared major.

Fourteen Credit Hour Eligibility Requirement

All students must earn 14 hours of approved STEM coursework prior to the Fall semester of their second year of enrollment in order to be eligible for enhanced scholarship amounts.

To satisfy the 14 credit hour requirement, the following credits earned can be used for LIFE and Palmetto Fellows Scholarship Enhancements: 

  • exempted credit hours credited and recorded on a transcript by an eligible institution,  
  • College Level Examination Program (CLEP),
  • dual enrollment,
  • courses taken during the summer session immediately prior to the student's initial college enrollment,
  • Pass/Fail courses with a grade of "Pass" (only),
  • International Baccalaureate (IB) courses and Advanced Placement (AP) courses in mathematics and life and physical sciences taken in high school in which the student scored a three or more on the advanced placement test and received college credit.

The 14 hours of credit can be any combination of approved STEM coursework.

Remedial/developmental, continuing education, and non-degree credit coursework cannot be used to meet the 14 credit hour requirement.

Eligible Majors at USC Aiken

The SC Commission on Higher Education has determined the following majors at USC Aiken to be eligible for LIFE and Palmetto Fellows Scholarship Enhancements:

  • Applied Computer Science
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Clinical Laboratory Science
  • Earth Systems Science
  • Industrial Process Engineering
  • Nursing
  • Mechanical Engineering (Effective beginning Fall 2022)
  • Middle Level Education, Mathematics
  • Middle Level Education, Sciences
  • Secondary Education, Biology
  • Secondary Education, Chemistry
  • Secondary Education, Mathematics

The major must be declared and entered in the USC Aiken system by the last day of drop/add for the Fall semester for the enhancement to be awarded for the academic year. A change of major may affect your eligibility for the enhancement.

A complete list of the approved majors and coursework for SC institutions can be found on the website of the SC Commission on Higher Education at

Award Amounts

Maximum award amounts, including the base and the enhanced award, per academic year:

  • $7,500 for a LIFE Scholarship recipient
  • $10,000 for a Palmetto Fellows recipient

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

Additional Information

You may access detailed information about the Scholarship Enhancements on the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education website at

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.

Please be aware that the information provided here is subject to change by the SC Legislature or the SC Commission on Higher Education.