South Carolina’s high school seniors have set a new record for college scholarships.
The Class of 2009 has won $869-million in college scholarships – $100-million more than last year’s class and the highest one-year total since the state started tracking such data seven years ago.
The scholarship totals came from an annual survey of South Carolina’s local school districts, as well as public charter schools, the Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics in Hartsville and the Governor’s School for Arts and Humanities in Greenville.
This year’s senior class total pushed South Carolina’s five-year scholarship to $3.5 billion.
The numbers represent two-year scholarship values for technical colleges and two-year schools, and four-year totals for four-year colleges and universities. The State Department of Education estimates that 90 percent of the scholarships are academic and 10 percent are athletic, although sports scholarships also have academic requirements.
LIFE, HOPE and Palmetto Fellows scholarships represent about one fifth of the total. State Education Superintendent Jim Rex says the new record will be hard to top, and calls it a tribute to the students’ hard work and the support they got from parents, teachers, guidance counselors and administrators.
(David Waterman contributed to this article)