The Palmetto Fellows Scholarship is a merit-based program established in 1988 to recognize the most academically talented high school seniors and encourage these students to attend college in the State. The Palmetto Fellows Scholarship Program is administered by the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education. Palmetto Fellows may receive up to $6,700 their freshman year and up to $7,500 for their sophomore, junior and senior years.

*NEW Palmetto Fellows Scholarship Brochure

The Palmetto Fellows Scholarship requires an application to be completed on behalf of the student.  The application must be completed by the high school guidance counselor/school representative.  It is the responsibility of the guidance counselor/school representative to identify each eligible applicant.  A student must be a part of an application during their year of graduation.  There are two periods in which a student can be a part of an application period.  The Early Award opens mid-October and closes December 15th.  The Late Award opens mid-April and closes June 15th.  Should the deadline fall on a Saturday, Sunday or holiday the deadline is the preceding Friday.  All application materials must be in receipt of the Commission office by 5:00 pm of the deadline close.

There are two ways in which a student can meet the eligibility criteria for the Palmetto Fellows Scholarship.  In addition to meeting the academic criteria, a student must also meet the general eligibility criteria.

  • Rank in the top 6% at the end of the 10th, or the 11th , or the 12th grade academic year
  • Rank can be used as an eligibility requirement for those schools/home school associations that have an official policy on rank that has been reviewed by the Commission for compliance with the established Palmetto Fellows Scholarship Regulations
  • Earn a 1200 on the SAT/27 on the ACT (through the June test administration of the graduating year)
  • Earn a 3.5 cumulative GPA (based on the SC UGP)
  • OR qualify by meeting the Alternate Criteria eligibility requirements without regard to rank
  • Earn a 1400 on the SAT/32 on the ACT (through the June test administration of the graduating year)
  • Earn a 4.0 Cumulative GPA (based on the SC UGP)
General Eligibility Requirements:

  • US Citizen/Legal Permanent Resident*
  • SC Resident*
  • No felony convictions
  • No second or subsequent alcohol/drug misdemeanors
  • Not in default of any state or federal loans
  • Enroll in a degree-seeking program at an eligible SC institution

*this must be determined at the time of high school graduation.

A Palmetto Fellows Scholarship recipient is required to enroll at an eligible four-year institution the fall semester immediately following high school graduation.  Enrollment at a two-year institution during a fall or spring semester would forfeit any Palmetto Fellows Scholarship eligibility.

Continued Eligibility:

  • Earn a 3.0 cumulative institutional GPA at the end of each academic year
  • Earn 30 credit hours (not to include any AP, IB, Dual Enrollment, CLEP or exempted credit hours) at the end of each academic year

For those recipients who are currently enrolled at an eligible SC institution and would like to transfer to another eligible SC institution, you may complete an Instate Transfer Form.  For students who were originally part of the Palmetto Fellows Scholarship application process, determined to be a Palmetto Fellows Scholarship recipient and declined the award; and would like to transfer to an eligible SC institution, you may complete the Reapplication Form.

Palmetto Fellows Scholarship Enhancements:

During the 2007 legislative session, the General Assembly created the LIFE Scholarship Enhancements. The Scholarship Enhancement increases the LIFE Scholarship award from $7,500 to $10,000. The enhancement is available to students majoring in the mathematics, science and health fields at eligible South Carolina four-year institutions. Students who meet the eligibility requirements for both the Palmetto Fellows Scholarship and the Enhancement, will receive an annual award of up to $10,000 to cover their cost of attendance at any eligible four-year public or independent institution located in the state. Eligible students can be awarded a LIFE Scholarship Enhancement to meet their cost of attendance for up to six consecutive terms starting the second year of college enrollment.

To be eligible for the Scholarship Enhancement you must:

  • be a recipient of the Palmetto Fellows Scholarship;
  • earn at least 14 credit hours of instruction in approved mathematics or life and physical sciences or a combination of both by the end of the first academic year of college enrollment; and
  • declare an approved major in science, mathematics, or health related field at the institution. For eligible majors, courses and institutions, visit the Commission’s web site at

For more information on the Palmetto Fellows Scholarship and other state scholarship and grant programs, please visit the SC Commission on Higher Education Website: