ROCK HILL, S.C. — South Carolina college students have something to celebrate as they get ready to start classes. The state’s Commission on Higher Education announced need-based grants are increasing by 40% this academic year, meaning more money in the pockets of students and parents.
This year, the maximum award a full student can receive went up to $3,500 from $2,500.
“That means that college becomes more affordable, that families are not under as much pressure to bear the burden of the cost," said Joseph Miller, Winthrop University's Vice President of Enrollment Management and Marketing. "It helps reduce their out-of-pocket expenses.”
Miller said the change is significant; in the 2020-2021 academic year, only about 25% of students at Winthrop qualified for South Carolina’s need-based grants. In 2021-2022, it went up to 50% being eligible. Now with this latest news, Winthrop can help 100 more students than it did last year.
"For our own case [at] Winthrop, what we were able to do is basically double the amount of students over the past two years than what we had previously been able to award," said Miller. "The discussions of accessibility and affordability really go hand in hand."
To qualify, students must file for federal student aid using the FAFSA application. Miller said the funding is guaranteed from this year on, but that could change. Miller said the increase allows colleges in South Carolina to stay competitive with colleges in North Carolina, where the maximum Federal Pell Grant award is more than $6,000.
WCNC Charlotte is always asking "where's the money?" If you need help, reach out to WCNC Charlotte by emailing email@example.com.