Life Scholarship Guidelines

General Eligibility Requirements

Recently, the South Carolina General Assembly passed a bill, H.3906, which, beginning in 2006-2007, mandates that continuing LIFE Scholarship eligibility be based in part on a LIFE GPA. Recipients must earn a minimum cumulative 3.0 GPA which will be based on grades earned at all institutions, including those earned at the home institution and at other institutions, even while dually enrolled during high school. Courses classified as remedial/developmental, non degree credit courses for an associate degree or higher, or continuing education courses will not be utilized to calculate a student’s LIFE GPA. This GPA will be used only for LIFE Scholarship determination and may differ from the official institutional GPA that will be used for most, if not all, other purposes.

If you are awarded a LIFE Scholarship, your award will be included in your award notification. Eligibility for the LIFE Scholarship, and for continued eligibility in subsequent years, is based upon the requirements below. Lost eligibility may be regained by meeting eligibility requirements in the next academic year.

  • You must be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen under state residency statutes.
  • You must be a South Carolina resident at the time of high school graduation and during the period of award.
  • You must have graduated from a South Carolina high school or graduated from a high school outside of South Carolina while a dependent of a parent or legal guardian who is a legal resident. If you graduated from a high school outside of South Carolina, you are expected to self-identify to the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships in order to be assured that you are not overlooked during the University’s review of LIFE eligible students.
  • You must be a full-time undergraduate student seeking your first baccalaureate degree.
  • You must not be receiving the South Carolina Palmetto Fellows Scholarship.
  • You must not have been judged delinquent, nor have been convicted or pled guilty or nolo contendere to any felony in any state.
  • You must not have been convicted of any alcohol or drug-related misdemeanor in any state within the past academic year.
  • You must not be in default or owe a refund or repayment on any Federal or State financial aid.
New Freshmen
  • You must meet all general eligibility requirements.
  • You must meet two of the three requirements listed below:
    1. Have a 3.00 final high school grade point average based on the Uniform Grading Policy.
    2. Have a minimum SAT test score of 1100 or ACT test score of 24.
    3. Have graduated in the top 30% of your high school graduating class
Continuing Students
  • You must meet all general eligibility requirements.
  • You must earn an average of 30 credit hours for each academic year (Fall, Spring, Summer) equaling a minimum of 30 credit hours if a rising second year student, 60 credit hours if a rising third year student, or 90 credit hours if a rising fourth year student.If your initial college enrollment was mid-year, you must earn 15 credit hours by the beginning of the next academic year (fall semester). In subsequent years, you must earn an average of 30 credit hours for each academic year (Fall, Spring, Summer) equaling a minimum of 45 credit hours after the first full academic year, 75 credit hours after the second full academic year, and 105 credit hours after the third full academic year. The LIFE Scholarship will not be awarded mid-year in subsequent years.Any credit hours earned before high school graduation, hours exempted by examination, and advanced placement credit approved by the institution as academic credit will be used toward the credit hour requirement;
  • Beginning in 2006-2007, you must earn a minimum 3.0 LIFE grade point average on a 4.0 scale by the end of the academic year (Fall, Spring, Summer):The LIFE grade point average will include all grades earned (excluding remedial coursework) at all eligible public or independent institutions attended by the student. Any credit hours and GPA earned before high school graduation and approved by the institution as academic credit will be used.
    If you have earned a 3.0 LIFE grade point average by the end of the spring semester and choose to enroll in a summer session(s) you will NOT be eligible to receive the LIFE Scholarship if your LIFE grade point average falls below a 3.0 at the end of that summer session(s).
  • Please note that the LIFE grade point average will be used to determine LIFE Scholarship eligibility only and will not be used in determining graduation eligibility or standing.
Transfer Students
  • You must meet all general eligibility requirements.
  • Your eligibility for the LIFE Scholarship during your first year at SCSU is based on your initial college enrollment and all non-remedial hours earned and cumulative grade point average at your previous institution(s).
  • Beginning in 2006-2007, the grade point average requirement must be based on the LIFE grade point average. Please refer to the Eligibility Requirements for Continuing Students.
  • After your first year at SCSU, prior courses determined to be remedial by SCSU will no longer be considered. If you have questions about your final transfer evaluation, please contact the Office of Admissions and Recruitment at (803) 536-8410.
Life Scholarship GPA

Beginning with the 2006-2007 academic year, a LIFE GPA must be calculated for all students for the purpose of awarding initial or renewal awards to continuing students. Awards to incoming freshmen and transfer students are not affected by this new GPA calculation during their initial year of enrollment at SCSU.

The LIFE GPA must include all grades and credit hours earned at any eligible institution (in-state or out-of-state), including courses that do not transfer based on the institution’s policy and courses taken while in high school. The LIFE GPA must not include continuing education courses, non-degree credit courses for an associates degree or higher, and remedial/developmental courses.

The following steps will be used for calculating the LIFE GPA:

  1. Convert all allowable grades earned at an eligible institution to a 4.0 scale based on each institution’s grading policy where the grades were earned to establish the grade points (GP) for each grade earned.
  2. Multiply the grade points earned in each class by the attempted credit hours (ACH) for that class to determine the total number of quality points (QP) earned for each class; then add the quality points earned for each class to establish the total number of quality points (QP) earned.
  3. Divide the total quality points (QP) by the total number of attempted credit hours (ACH) to establish the LIFE GPA.

The determination of credit hours earned to maintain LIFE eligibility remains as it has been and must equate to 30 hours per academic year (fall, spring, and summer enrollments).

Terms of Eligibility

You may receive the LIFE Scholarship through the eighth semester following initial college enrollment. The eight-semester limit is based on enrollment only. The limit is not determined by the number of semesters the LIFE Scholarship has been received and includes periods of nonenrollment after your initial college enrollment.

Award Amount

The LIFE Scholarship award amount is determined annually by the South Carolina General Assembly. Currently the LIFE Scholarship award amount at SCSU for the academic year is $5,000.

Note: The LIFE Scholarship in combination with all other scholarships and grants may not exceed the cost-of-attendance as defined in Title IV federal student aid regulations.

Award Disbursement

The LIFE Scholarship will be disbursed in equal amounts at the beginning of the fall and spring semesters. The LIFE Scholarship is only available during the fall and spring semesters with the exception of co-op students.

Co-ops

If you participate in a University-sponsored co-op program during the fall or spring semester, you are not eligible to receive the LIFE Scholarship for that semester. You may elect to receive the LIFE Scholarship for the summer sessions immediately following the co-op program. A summer payment can be made only if you enroll for at least 12 hours total during the summer session(s). If you do not receive the LIFE Scholarship for the summer, you will only need to complete an average of 15 hours for the year and maintain a 3.00 LIFE grade point average to be eligible the following year. If you do receive the LIFE Scholarship for the summer, you must complete an average of 27 hours for the year and maintain a 3.00 LIFE grade point average to be eligible the following year. If you do receive the LIFE Scholarship for the summer, you must complete an average of 27 hours from the year and maintain a 3.0 LIFE grade point average to be eligible the following year. Please refer to Eligibility Requirements for Continuing Students.

PLEASE NOTE: Beginning with 2006-2007, only the LIFE grade point average will be used to determine eligibility for the LIFE Scholarship. You will no longer be able to use your SCSU cumulative grade point average for LIFE Scholarship renewal.

Summer Courses

Summer school credits earned at any institution and accepted by SCSU may be used toward the credit hour requirement. Beginning in 2006-2007, the grade point average requirement must be based on the LIFE grade point average. Please refer to Eligibility Requirements for Continuing Students. Remedial courses are not considered toward the credit hour or grade point average requirement. Please keep in mind that if you need hours or grades earned during summer to meet the renewal criteria, your eligibility for the LIFE Scholarship cannot be determined until SCSU has received and processed your final transcript.

Dropping a Class or Withdrawing

If you are receiving the LIFE Scholarship or any other financial aid, dropping a class or withdrawing may affect your eligibility status or potential refund. Depending upon the type(s) of financial aid awards involved, withdrawal date, the amount of the refund, and other factors, you might receive a portion of the total refund amount or none of the refund amount. Under certain circumstances, if you withdraw or drop classes, you will be required to repay financial aid funds you received including the LIFE Scholarship. This is necessary when the refund amount is insufficient to meet the financial aid fund recovery requirements. If you are considering withdrawing or dropping classes, you should contact the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships before taking this action.

Changes in Residency

A change in your residency and fee payment status to non-resident will lead to the required repayment of your award for any enrollment period in which you are no longer classified as a resident and received the LIFE Scholarship.


The information on this document is subject to change by either the South Carolina Legislature or the Commission on Higher Education. You may view the most recent guidelines for the LIFE program at
http://www.che.sc.gov/New_Web/GoingToCollege/LIFE_Hm.htm