Five Steps to Financial Aid

Five Steps to Financial Aid

These samples show how financial aid can lower your cost to attend SMC, depending on your income level.

Scroll down for steps to apply for Financial Aid.

Learn more about our Full Tuition Scholarship here.


Step One: Know what SMC aid is available



SMC offers scholarships for students who have made good grades in high school or home school. We also offer need-based scholarships for low-income families. This is money for college that does not have to be paid back.

Federal and state governments also offer a variety of grants and scholarships. This is usually money that does not have to be paid back.

Low-interest loans for students and parents (from federal sources) and private loans (typically higher interest rates) are also available. Loans must be paid back, but usually not until after college graduation.

TIP:  In most cases, filling out a FAFSA (see Step 3) will make you eligible for all the scholarships, grants and loans available at SMC. Be sure to note which are included on the FAFSA and which are not.


Step Two: Get a FSA ID



Getting a Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID  is required to submit financial aid forms such as the FAFSA (see Step 3).

  • You will need your own FSA ID and your parent or guardian (if you have family or a guardian helping you apply for financial aid) will also need their own FSA ID.
  • If you have applied for aid in past years, you can reuse your FSA ID.


Step Three: Submit the FAFSA form



Getting financial aid to attend SMC starts with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This government form asks for your financial information so that colleges can understand your financial need.



TIP: All students, no matter how much money you or your family earn, should fill out a FAFSA.

Even if you think your family makes too much money to get federal aid, a FAFSA is required to get state scholarships and grants that are set aside for ALL South Carolina students.

Also, SMC needs your FAFSA to give you college scholarships.



Step Four: Review your SAR



After filing the FAFSA, you’ll get a Student Aid Report (SAR). It contains basic information about your financial aid eligibility and lists your FAFSA answers. Here’s what to do when you get it:

  1. Review it carefully to make sure everything is correct. Fix any mistakes by logging into your student aid account with your FSA ID.
  2. Add additional colleges where you would like your FAFSA information to be sent.

TIP: The EFC (Expected Family Contribution) information on your SAR will be sent to SMC’s Financial Aid Office if you included SMC on your list of FAFSA colleges. We will take your EFC amount and subtract it from our total cost of attendance (Tuition + Fees + Room/Board). The amount left over is your family’s financial need.

Be aware: Financial need will be different for each college you apply to because each college’s total cost of education is different.


Step Five: Accept your Award



Your SMC Award Letter will tell you how much aid you will receive. Your aid may be made up of grants, work study, scholarships and student loans.

TIP: Read your award letter carefully and decide how much of the aid you want to accept. Please pay close attention to the instructions in your award letter so that you accept or appeal the award by the deadline indicated.

Be aware: We do our best to find as much financial aid as possible, but if you feel that the award does not fully meet your financial needs or your needs have changed due to illness, unemployment or for some other reason, contact us. We will take a second look at your award package.