Grants and Loans for Adult Students

Tuition Assistance 

For all need-based financial aid programs, any tuition assistance received by the student must be considered. The SWU Financial Aid Application asks whether assistance of this type is to be received by the student and if so, how much and under any specific conditions. It is imperative that the student report these types of assistance completely and accurately. Failure to do so may affect some state and/or federal funding.

South Carolina Tuition Grant

South Carolina residents who attend SWU may be eligible for the grant based upon the number of hours taken during the traditional program’s fall and spring term. The average schedule includes 17 credit hours during this time giving an award of approximately $875. The FAFSA for SWU students who are residents of South Carolina for at least one year and who apply for federal financial aid will be electronically transmitted to the state to determine eligibility. All FAFSA’s must be completed and electronically transmitted by June 30 in order for the student to be eligible for a tuition grant for the upcoming academic year.

If you meet the original qualifications, you will be notified by the Commission that you are eligible, pending verification of satisfactory academic progress by the Financial Aid Office at SWU. When SWU receives the list of those students who pass this first qualification, it is required to verify that the student has completed at least 24 credit hours during the previous qualifying year and has made a satisfactory grade point average. Then SWU must certify the number of credit hours that the student WILL COMPLETE (has registered for) between the period of time beginning NO EARLIER than 10 days prior to the first day of classes for the traditional Fall semester and ending NO LATER than 10 days after the end of the traditional Spring semester. We also provide the Commission with information about any Pell grant received and/or any tuition assistance received. The Commission then calculates need and eligibility based on these criteria and notifies SWU of the amount of tuition grant that a student will receive. SWU will then notify the student in writing of the amount of grant and when the disbursements may be expected. The original letter from the Commission DOES NOT GUARANTEE that you will receive the amount that it states that you might be eligible for (nor even actually that you will receive a grant at all); it only gives the maximum grant, dependent on the other conditions listed above.

If a student has just begun the adult evening program when certification takes place and has earned less than 24 credit hours prior to the qualifying date, the Financial Aid Office must review transcripts of any previously-attended colleges from which transfer credit has been received. Several specific criteria exist in determining academic eligibility; if you have a question, call the Financial Aid Office for information about your specific case.

Adult evening students who change their schedules from the original considered when tuition grant certification initially takes place may face return of funds for hours not completed. When the roster for the second disbursement arrives, the Financial Aid Office will check hours completed against hours certified and make adjustments where necessary. If additional hours have been taken or are scheduled, the Financial Aid Office may request additional funding from the Commission. The Commission will determine whether such requests may be granted.

Appeals: The South Carolina Tuition Grant Commission will consider appeals when students face unusual circumstances which have hindered achievement of satisfactory academic progress during a previous year. Such conditions might include catastrophic events, unforeseen and unavoidable to the student. Information about appeals is available from the assistant director of financial aid.

LIFE Scholarship –up to $5,000

Awarded to South Carolina residents who meet two of the following three requirements: 1) 1100 SAT or 24 ACT, 2) 3.0 GPA, or 3) rank in top 30 percent of graduating class. Students must maintain a 3.0 GPA and earn an average 30 hours per academic year in order to remain eligible.

HOPE Scholarship – up to $2,800

Awarded for the first year of attendance to South Carolina residents with a cumulative 3.0 or higher GPA who do not qualify for the LIFE or Palmetto Fellows Scholarship.

Pell Grants

Based on family need, the Federal Government provides individual grants of up to $5550 per year for educational expenses. The FAFSA provides the needed information about eligibility. When the electronic information is transmitted to the Financial Aid Office, eligibility is noted and SWU processes Pell grant awards. The student will be notified and disbursements will be handled by the Financial Aid Office. Before the second disbursement is certified, the Financial Aid Office will check the student’s schedule against coursework which was certified. This may result in a second disbursement’s being given later than the original date given for the second disbursement. Adjustments will be made where necessary, and the student may be responsible to repay any Pell monies which were received for coursework not taken. Students may receive Pell Grants for up to 12 semesters.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) – up to $500

Available to undergraduate students seeking their first undergraduate degree with demonstrated financial need. Funds are limited.

Federal Stafford Loans

Several important changes will occur to the Direct Student Loan Programs for the 2012-13 award year.

  • Direct Loans for graduate and professional students will only be unsubsidized. The annual and aggregate limits remain the same.
  • Subsidized Loans for undergraduate students will now accrue interest during the six month "grace period" after graduation.

Independent students enrolled in the University may borrow up to $9,500 for the first year (up to 29 credit hours), $10,500 for the second year (up to 59 credit hours), and $12,500 for the third (up to 89 credit hours) and fourth years. Dependent students, under age 24, have lower annual loan limits and may contact their Financial Aid Counselor for details. Eligibility is determined through the FAFSA, and certification is based on a student’s expected schedule. Information about interest rates, deferments, and qualifications for subsidized or unsubsidized monies is available from the Financial Aid Office. The first disbursement will not be made until the student has actually begun the program. Loans are certified for an academic year which includes a minimum of 24 credit hours and 45 weeks of instruction. When the time for the second disbursement arrives, the student’s schedule is compared to the schedule which was certified, and any adjustments that are necessary will be made. If students schedule breaks (for whatever reasons), then disbursements may be delayed until at least half of the credits for which the loan has been certified have been earned. No additional loans may be made at the end of the award period, either, until a student has successfully completed the minimum of 24 credit hours and 45 instructional weeks. Students should budget carefully to allow necessary funding for the hours of the loan period.

Deferments: Repayment of federal loans will begin six months after termination of enrollment. AGS deferments are handled by the associate registrar; contact her for questions about individual situations.

Federal Perkins Loan (NDSL) – up to $27,500 total

Eligible students may borrow up to $4,000 per year. Repayment begins nine months after termination of enrollment. Funds are awarded based on availability, time of application, and financial need.

Parent PLUS Loan – up to full cost

Parents of eligible students may borrow up to the full cost of attendance at 7.9% fixed interest.

Veteran’s Benefits

Certain armed forces veterans and dependents who qualify under Federal laws administered by the Veteran’s Administration are eligible to receive educational benefits. Information about these programs is available through state or county VA offices or from the Academic Records Office. Students who receive veteran’s benefits must report expected benefits on their FAFSA when submitting it to the Financial Aid Office.

Vocational Rehabilitation Services

Individuals with a handicap which directly impedes employment may apply to the Vocational Rehabilitation Services to determine eligibility for assistance (including education) toward a goal of employment.

Additional Benefits

In addition to the above programs, many companies, corporations, and foundations offer aid to students based upon a variety of criteria. Students should investigate policies and programs of employers and foundations within their fields of study.

Satisfactory academic progress (generally measured by institutional standards) and continuous enrollment must be maintained for continued consideration for assistance.