Your Award Letter

SMC is pleased to offer you the financial assistance listed on your financial aid award letter for the academic year.  Your award letter is available for viewing online from the SMC Student Portal or you may request a paper copy of your award letter from the Office of Financial Aid. By accepting these awards, you agree to and acknowledge the terms and conditions set forth in this document.  Please check “accept” or “deny” beside each award on your electronic award letter and submit electronically to the Office of Financial Aid via the SMC Student Portal.  If using a paper award letter, indicate your acceptance or denial of each award by your initials and sign the bottom before returning one copy to the Office of Financial Aid.  If you do not accept or deny your awards within two weeks of the first e-mail notifying you that your award letter is viewable on the SMC Student Portal, you will be mailed a paper copy of your award letter.  If you wish to revise your award (i.e. reduce the loan amount offered), indicate changes on a printed copy of your award letter and return immediately to the Office of Financial Aid.

Terms of Awards

The financial aid listed on your award letter is based on (1) your student expense budget, (2) your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) calculated by the FAFSA, and (3) your financial need.  The student expense budgets are sometimes called cost of attendance and are estimates of the total costs you incur as a full-time student for the nine month academic year.  These costs include living expenses in addition to educational expenses.  Budgets are determined by your living arrangements and anticipated cost of tuition, fees, books, transportation, and personal expenses.

Estimated Student Expenses/Cost of Attendance for 2014-2015

AT HOMEON CAMPUSOFF CAMPUS / INDEPENDENT
Tuition/Fees$15,86015,86015,860
Room/Board$3,430$8,250$5,670
Books/Supplies$1,440$1,440$1,440
Transportation$2,770$1,050$2,770
Personal Expenses$2,240$2,240$2,240
TOTAL$25,740 $28,840$27,980

The combination of all scholarships, loans, grants and work cannot exceed your cost of attendance.  If there is an error in awarding, regardless of the source of the error, the error must be corrected and the source of the funds fully restored.

The financial aid awards listed in your award letter are subject to change at any time based upon the availability of funds and any updated information provided to or received by the Office of Financial Aid, including notification of additional aid granted to you.  There are many reasons why you may become ineligible for funds.  Some of these factors include, but are not limited to:  your total award package including outside assistance exceeds your cost of attendance; changes in residency; changes in enrollment; receipt of other aid; withdrawal from classes; changes in major; changes in financial status, and registration in courses for which you have already received a grade.

It is your responsibility to repay any disbursed funds for which you have become ineligible.  It is also your responsibility to pay any current term charges that your aid does not cover.

You must notify the SMC Office of Financial Aid immediately if you are attending another institution simultaneously to SMC and are receiving aid there as well.  Failure to notify us may jeopardize your eligibility for aid at SMC.

You will receive the indicated awards in the amounts shown on your award letter with the possible exception of the following sources of aid:

Federal Direct Student Loans (Subsidized/Unsubsidized)

The amount on the award letter is the amount that you are eligible to borrow.  Because of the origination fees charged by the lender, the actual loan amount disbursed will differ from the amount shown on your award letter.  The amount of the loan disbursement and the disbursement dates are listed on your loan disclosure statement mailed to you by the lender.

PLUS Loan

The amount on the award letter is the amount that your parent requested to borrow.  Because of the origination fees charged by the lender, the actual loan amount disbursed will differ from the amount shown on your award letter.  The amount of the loan disbursement and the disbursement dates are listed on the loan disclosure statement mailed to your parent by the lender.

Federal College Wrk-Study/SMC Work-Study

The amount on the award letter is a maximum earning level or the maximum amount you may be paid for employment in this program.  Work-study earnings are paid through the college payroll system as explained in the Work-Study section of this document.  Work-study will not appear as a credit on your billing statement as other grants, scholarships, or loans.

Eligibility and Enrollment

The US Department of Education publishes basic eligibility criteria for federal student aid programs online at http://studentaid.ed.gov/eligibility.  Federal student aid includes Federal Pell Grant, FSEOG (Grants), Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans, PLUS Loans, Perkins Loans, and Federal College Work-Study.

To receive funds from any federal aid program, with the exception of Federal Pell Grant, you must be enrolled in at least six hours each semester.  If your scheduled Federal Pell Grant permits, you may receive Pell funds if enrolled for fewer than six hours.  Some types of assistance, such as institutional scholarships, required that you be enrolled in at least twelve hours each semester.

All federal aid programs require that recipients be candidates for degrees offered by the College.  Your award is based on the assumption that you will enroll as a full-time student (at least 12 hours each semester).  You cannot receive the Federal Pell Grant at two separate schools during the same term.  Any amount received at another school will have to be repaid.

Recipients of all financial aid programs funded by the state of South Carolina have additional requirements.  State financial programs include the SC LIFE Scholarship, Lottery Tuition Assistance, and SC Tuition Grants.  Students are required to be enrolled in at least twelve hours each semester, with the exception of Lottery Tuition Assistance.

SC LIFE Scholarship

SC LIFE Scholarship recipients must maintain a minimum cumulative LIFE GPA of a 3.0 and earn an average of 30 hours (non-remedial) for each academic year of enrollment at SMC.  Summer enrollment may be counted toward the minimum 30 hours and to meet GPA requirements.  The LIFE GPA must be calculated for all students for the purpose of awarding the LIFE Scholarship.  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 College’s policy and college courses taken while in high school.  The LIFE GPA must not include continuing education courses, non-degree credit courses for an associate’s degree or higher, or remedial/developmental courses.  The LIFE GPA may or may not be equivalent to your cumulative GPA earned at SMC.  The LIFE GPA will be calculated for purposes of determining LIFE eligibility and will have no effect on your academic standing and/or graduation requirements.  If you wish to be notified of your LIFE GPA, please come to the Office of Financial Aid during regular business hours.

Lottery Tuition Assistance

Lottery Tuition Assistance requires the completion of the FAFSA and a minimum enrollment of six hours each semester.  This program supplements other financial aid programs to cover the cost of tuition.  Once attempting a total of 24 credit hours, recipients must maintain at least a 2.0 GPA for continued eligibility.

SC Tuition Grants

SC Tuition Grants applicants must submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) before June 30th to be considered for this grant.  Recipients must earn at least 24 credit hours each academic year of college enrollment for continued eligibility.

Enrollment Status as Defined by SMC

Full-time12 or more hours per semester
Three-quarter9-11 hours per semester
Half-time6-8 hours per semester
Less than half-time1-5 hours per semester

Academic Requirements

All students receiving federal, state, or institutional financial aid must adhere to the SMC policy on satisfactory academic progress published in the College Catalog.  The purpose of this is to ensure that student aid recipients make measureable progress toward a degree in a reasonable period of time.  Students not meeting these standards are not eligible for federal, state, or institutional financial aid.  This policy is explained fully in the College Catalog.  You should be aware that withdrawing from a course after the add/drop period or the 100 percent refund period could result in a deficit hour situation under the College policy.  Students not meeting satisfactory academic progress standards have the right to appeal and restore portions of their financial aid.

Certifications

Recipients of federal financial aid are asked to sign an authorization to permit all sources of federal student aid to be used for payment of current college charges. This authorization will be included in your Billing Statement from the SMC Business Office. This authorization remains in effect unless you present a written request that it be rescinded to the Business Office. If you have questions about this authorization, call the College Business Office at (864) 587-4234. Recipients of the SC LIFE Scholarship and/or SC Tuition Grants are required to sign a separate certification, which is printable from the Printable Forms section of the SMC Financial Aid web page. A paper copy may be mailed to you by the Office of Financial Aid.

Please be aware that you may lose eligibility for federal and/or state financial aid if you are convicted of certain drug and/or alcohol offenses under certain circumstances.

Federal Student Aid (FSA) Loan Program

Your award package may contain a loan under the Federal Direct Loan Program.  These loans include:

  • Federal Direct Subsidized Loan - This student loan is need-based.  The federal government pays the interest on this loan while you are enrolled at least half-time.  Repayment is scheduled to begin six months after you leave school or drop below half-time enrollment (this is your grace period).
  • Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan - This student loan is non-need-based.  The federal government does not pay this loan’s interest while you are in school.  Students must pay the interest while they are enrolled unless they elect to have the interest capitalized.  Capitalized interest, however, results in higher loan payments later.  Repayment is scheduled to begin six months after you leave school or drop below half-time enrollment.
  • Combination of Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans
Loan Interest Rates for 2014-2015

Loan Interest Rates for 2014-2015

  • The interest rate on Federal Direct Subsidized Loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2013 is fixed at 3.86%.
  • The interest rate on Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2013 is fixed at 3.86%

*Subject to change due to Congressional action

Loan Origination Fees for 2014-2015

The loan origination fee on both Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans is 1.072% for loans first disbursed on or after December 1, 2013.

Applying for Direct Student Loans

All first time borrowers of Federal Direct Student Loans (Subsidized/Unsubsidized) must:

  1. Accept the Direct Loan offered on the student award letter
  2. By accepting the Direct Loan on the award letter, you are also certifying that you have read and agree to the Terms and Conditions presented to you either online or in a paper format
  3. Complete and submit a Master Promissory Note online at https://studentloans.gov
  4. Complete Entrance Counseling online at https://studentloans.gov

Students who are not first time borrowers of Federal Direct Student Loans (Subsidized/Unsubsidized) must:

  1. Accept the Direct Loan offered on the student award letter
  2. By accepting the Direct Loan on the award letter, you are also certifying that you have read and agree to the Terms and Conditions presented to you either online or in a paper format

PLUS Loans

PLUS Loan

This loan is a non-need-based loan available to parents of dependent undergraduate students.  Your parents must actually apply for the PLUS loan.  They must sign a Master Promissory Note, and be approved for the loan before PLUS loan funds can be disbursed.  If the loan is approved your parents may borrow up to the total amount of your Cost of Attendance minus any other aid or resources that you will receive.  Repayment of the loan can be deferred until six months after the student graduates or drops below half-time status.  If your parent is denied a PLUS Loan, you may be able to receive additional Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan funds.

Interest Rates for 2014-15

The interest rate on PLUS loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2013 is fixed at 6.41%.

*Subject to change due to Congressional action

Origination Fees for 2014-15

Loan Interest Rates for 2014-2015

  • The interest rate on PLUS loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2013 is fixed as 6.41%*

Loan Origination Fees for 2014-2015

  • The loan origination fee on PLUS loans is 4.288% for loans first disbursed on or after December 1, 2013

* Subject to change due to Congressional action

Applying for PLUS Loans

Parents of undergraduate student must:

  1. Complete a Request Direct PLUS Loan form for a Parent PLUS loan online at https://studentloans.gov.  This online request must be completed by the parent each year.

If approved, the parent must also:

  1. Complete a Master Promissory Note for a Parent PLUS loan online at https://studentloans.gov
  2. Complete the SMC Federal PLUS Request Form and mail or fax it to the SMC Office of Financial Aid.  This paper form must be completed by the parent each year.

If declined, the student may be able to receive additional Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan funds.  The student must accept the increase in his/her unsubsidized loan amount in his/her award letter.

Federal Perkins Loan

If you have been awarded a Federal Perkins Loan, you must accept the award in your award letter either online or in a paper version.  You will be mailed information regarding your Perkins Loan at a later date.  You must complete the forms, including the Master Promissory Note, and return these forms in person or by mail to the SMC Office of Financial Aid before the loan funds can be disbursed to you.  You must also complete online Entrance Counseling at http://www.mappingyourfuture.org/.  To receive this loan, you must be enrolled at least half-time and meet other eligibility requirements.  Repayment of your Perkins Loan is scheduled to begin nine months after you leave school or drop below half-time enrollment.  The interest rate for a Perkins Loan is 5%.  Perkins borrowers are not charged fees and do not accrue interest on the loan until the repayment period begins.

For more complete information on Federal Student Loans, please refer to the US Department of Education’s website at http://studentaid.ed.gov.

Exit Counseling

Students who are graduating or drop below half-time enrollment status and received a FSA Loan while attending SMC are also required to complete the Exit Counseling activity.  Federal Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized Student Loan borrowers will complete their exit interviews online at https://studentloans.gov.  Federal Perkins Loan borrowers will complete their exit interviews online at http://www.mappingyourfuture.org/.

Repaying Your Loans

  • All loans must be repaid on time
  • Failure to repay may result in default and in an adverse credit rating
  • Borrowers must notify their lender/servicer of any changes in status, such as changes in name, address or enrollment status
  • Borrowers must notify their lender/servicer of any situation affecting their ability to repay their loan

Work Study

Work-study allows students to earn part of their financial aid through employment on campus and in community service agencies.  Any work-study award, Federal College Work-Study (FCWS) or College Work-Study (SCWS), listed on your award letter shows the maximum amount you may earn during the 2013-2014 academic year (August-May).  Work-study awards are not grants or scholarships automatically applied towards one’s tuition bill, nor is the amount of the award guaranteed.  An award simply authorizes a student to participate in the program and sets a limit as to the amount of income a student can earn during the academic year.  Information and instructions will be mailed to you during the summer regarding the annual meeting that all work-study students must attend.  All students working at SMC must complete an IRS Form W-4, and I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Form and a Work Authorization Form.  Forms are distributed by the Office of Financial Aid.  Please do not begin working until you have completed the required forms.  We cannot list you on the student payroll (and you will not be paid) until all forms have been completed correctly and in full.  Students working at SMC are paid an hourly wage on a bi-weekly schedule.  Wages are deposited directly into your personal checking or savings account.  Those who choose to can apply their work-study earnings to their SMC student account to defer an outstanding balance.  These students must complete a separate form with the SMC Business Office.  Students have one week after the beginning of each semester to secure their jobs and begin working.  Those who do not find a job and begin working within that one week period will forfeit their offer for a work-study position.  If you were not awarded work-study and you would like to be considered for it, contact the Office of Financial Aid to see if your name can be placed on the waiting list.

Payments

The SMC Business Office will mail a billing statement to all students who are pre-registered for the next semester approximately one month before the term begins.  The bill will be sent to the permanent home address on file with the SMC Registrar’s Office.  Review your statement and the enclosed instructions carefully.  The financial aid listed on your statement should match the most recent award letter you received from the Office of Financial Aid.  Keep in mind that a new award letter is issued each time an additional source of aid, for which you are eligible, is identified.  You have the option of paying the amount due on your statement in a single, one-time payment or participating in the FACTS Management on-line payment plan.  Details about FACTS will be mailed to you with each semester’s billing statement and can also be found on the College website.

Consumer Disclosure Information

The names of governing bodies, associations and agencies that accredit SMC are listed in the College Catalog.  Copies of these documents are on file in the Office of the President located in the Administration Building. Completion rates and graduation rates for the College are on file in the Registrar’s Office located in the Administration Building.  Statistics on athletically-related student aid, revenue and expenses information relating to inter-collegiate athletics, and athletic participation and financial support are located in the Barrett Learning Center.  Campus security policies and crime statistics are distributed annually to all students by the college security office.  Special facilities and services for handicapped students are discussed in the Student Handbook and the College Catalog. These services are administered through the Office of Student Affairs located in the campus Student Center.

Additional Student Responsibilities

Please advise the Office of Financial Aid if there are changes in your family’s financial circumstances, if you are awarded financial assistance through an outside source, if your enrollment or housing plans change, or if you need to change your personal contact information.  The Office of Financial Aid sends information regarding students’ financial aid status via e-mail and direct mail through the United States Postal Service, so it is imperative that the College have your current contact information on record, particularly your local and permanent address, as well as your personal e-mail address.  Once enrolled, we will also send e-mail communications to your SMC e-mail address. It is your responsibility to keep your SMC e-mail address activated and to check your messages.