Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ - Scholarships & Financial Aid


What if I have a scholarship question or concern that has not been addressed on this website?

For questions about grants or loans, please contact Tara Gibs in the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships.

For questions about scholarships, please contact Ashleigh Speaks in the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships.

Both counselors can be reached at (803) 777-8134.

What if I am the recipient of a Non-University or University department scholarship?

Please contact the scholarship organization or department directly and ask that they send written approval to the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships authorizing the application of the award toward participation in the exchange or study abroad program.

What if I am a SC LIFE, Teaching Fellows, or Palmetto Fellows scholarship recipient and my transcript is late?

What can I do?

Unfortunately, renewal eligibility for a state sponsored scholarship can not be determined without USC having received a transcript from your exchange or study abroad program.  However, to assist you with paying tuition, you may complete a Tuition Deferment Request Form and submit it to the Study Abroad Office by the posted deadline.  Having a deferment form on file allows students to pay only the tuition and fees not covered by their scholarships until the study abroad transcript is received and assessed.  This form is only applicable to students having studied abroad during the spring semester or academic year. If you are receiving state aid and are planning to apply credits earned over the summer through study abroad toward your minimum required credit hours for these scholarships, you may also request a deferment. Please visit the Study Abroad Office website (http://www.ip.sc.edu/sa/docs/current-BeforeYouReturn/StateAidTuitionDefermentForm3-7-06.pdf) to access this form.

Please keep in mind that it is the student's responsibility to request a transcript from their host institution or study abroad program and monitor its evaluation and processing at USC.

How can I make sure that I'll meet the GPA requirement so that my scholarship will be renewed when I return...

...from my exchange or study abroad program?

Only a 3.0 or higher cumulative USC GPA is needed to renew a General University Scholarship.  You will be held to the grade requirements for retention of the SC LIFE, SC Teaching Fellows, and Palmetto Fellows Scholarships.

SC LIFE GPA (also called your Collegiate Summary GPA) includes grades from all institutions attended.  Some study abroad programs issue credits through a U.S. institution, and therefore students receive a U.S. transcript.  Grades earned by taking part in these programs will be calculated into your LIFE GPA.

Palmetto Fellows and Teaching Fellows GPAs (also called your USC GPA) include only grades earned at USC or at one of the USC regional campuses.  Grades earned from courses taken abroad do not factor into this GPA in any way, even if credits are earned through a U.S. institution and students receive a U.S. transcript.

Grades issued on foreign transcripts (e.g. any transcript or grade report not issued by a U.S. institution) do not factor into the LIFE, Palmetto Fellows or Teaching Fellows GPA in any way.  In this situation, courses taken abroad are considered to be similar to pass/fail courses and GPA eligibility is based on the appropriate cumulative GPA prior to studying abroad.

Please keep in mind that renewal eligibility cannot be determined for the SC LIFE, Teaching Fellows, and Palmetto Fellows scholarships until the Study Abroad Office receives a transcript from your exchange or study abroad program.

How do I meet the credit hour requirement so my scholarship will be renewed when I return from...

...my study abroad program?

You will be held to the credit hour requirement for retention of the SC LIFE, SC Teaching Fellows, and Palmetto Fellows Scholarships.  It is important that you complete the Anticipated Credit to be Awarded column of the Study Abroad Approval Form with your academic advisor and/or dean so that you have a clear understanding of how many U.S. credits you will be earning for each course you take abroad.  Keep this in mind should you drop/add classes while abroad.  Any changes to your Study Abroad Approval Form should be approved by your academic advisor/dean in writing prior to dropping or substituting a course.

SC LIFE scholarship recipients can bank hours earned during prior semesters or via AP credit and apply them to the 30 credit hour per year requirement.  LIFE scholarship recipients just need to maintain an average of 30 credits earned each academic year.

Palmetto Fellows and Teaching Fellows must earn 30 credit hours each academic year.  The academic year includes the fall, spring and following summer semesters.  Recipients of these fellowships cannot bank hours earned during previous semesters and apply them to their term(s) spent studying abroad.

SC Teaching Fellows, Palmetto Fellows and LIFE recipients can make up credit hours during the summer terms following their study abroad semester(s) in order to earn the required 30 credit hours.

Please keep in mind that renewal eligibility can not be determined for the SC LIFE, Teaching Fellows, and Palmetto Fellows scholarships until the study abroad office receives a transcript from your exchange or study abroad program.

I am the recipient of a National Merit/Lieber Scholarship, who do I contact about using this award for...

...an exchange or study-abroad program?

Please contact the National Merit Scholarship Corporation at (847) 866-5100 to request an Application for Study Abroad or other Off-Campus Program.

If I'm participating in a study abroad program that requires I pay the host institution, when will my...

...scholarship award check be mailed or direct deposited?

Provided that you have submitted a Study Abroad Approval Form by the stated deadline and have registered for the appropriate INTL placeholder course in a timely manner, awards will be released no sooner than a week before classes start at USC (not at your host institution).  For example, if you are studying in Australia during USC's fall semester, your term in Australia would start in July but financial aid funds would not be available until mid-August.

What are the deadlines for submitting the Study Abroad Approval Form in order to access my scholarships?

Study Abroad Approval Forms must be submitted to the Study Abroad Office approximately three to four weeks before the end of the semester prior to studying abroad (the end of spring semester for fall and academic year study abroad).  Please consult the Forms & Applications page of our website for exact deadlines.

Can I apply financial aid that I receive for studying on campus toward a study abroad program?

Typically, most financial aid that you receive for study on campus (including LIFE, Palmetto Fellows, Teaching Fellows, student loans, and grants) can be applied toward studying abroad.  All federal aid, such as Stafford loans and Pell grants, can be applied.  Certain types of funding, such as work-study, cannot be applied.  Other scholarships, particularly those administered by an organization other than USC, may require you to ask permission to use these funds toward study abroad.  For more detailed information, please contact the Financial Aid Office directly.

Please note that in order to access your financial aid for study abroad, you must be participating on a study abroad program that has been pre-approved by the Study Abroad Office.  You must also submit all application materials, including a signed Study Abroad Approval Form, to the Study Abroad Office and register for the appropriate INTL placeholder course before your funds will be released.