New changes to scholarships provide an opportunity for early graduation

 Graphic by Victoria McNorrill

Graphic by Victoria McNorrill

Alex Miller, Staff Writer

NGU offers an exciting, new improvement to the Palmetto Fellows and Life Scholarships.

Students who qualify for Palmetto Fellows and Life scholarships will now have the option to use a semester of the scholarship eligibility in the summer.

To take advantage of this change, the student must take the summer classes at NGU, must be full-time, and must academically qualify at the end of spring semester to qualify for summer. While it is required that you take a full 12 hours in the summer, the 12 hours can be split in half between two summer sessions if so desired.

To retain a Palmetto Fellows scholarship, a student must pass 30 credit hours per year and have a 3.0 GPA.  For freshmen, the award is $6700 and for upperclassmen the award is $7500.

The Life scholarship is for South Carolina residents who graduated from a South Carolina high school. Students must meet two out of three criteria. They must have either a 3.0 GPA, 1100 SAT or 24 ACT, and/or be in the top 30 percent of their senior class. To keep the scholarship, the student must pass 30 credit hours and maintain a 3.0 GPA on a cumulative basis. The scholarship amount is $5,000.

If you’re a recipient of these scholarships, you’re probably wondering whether or not using your eligibility during the summer will affect you during regular semesters? Melissa Barnette, Associate Director of Financial Aid, said, “The main disadvantage of this change is that you would run out of eligibility for the regular semesters if you used it during the summer.”

Who does this change benefit the most, though?

“It would be a great benefit to those wanting to graduate early”, said Barnette.

NGU’s Financial Aid office does not push summer school, so there is no pressure.

“We don’t encourage taking summer classes unless it’s absolutely needed academically or for scholarship. Sometimes you have to go and earn some hours for that”, said Barnette. “It’s going to be $390 per hour for the summer, so that’s not a huge difference from past years. Most can attend a tech school for cheaper and get the credits they need”, she continued.

While you may expect this change to bring in an influx of students to the summer semester, surprisingly, Barnette said she had only had one student respond with interest in using eligibility during the summer.

When making your academic decisions over the next few months and years, it’s important to remember that NGU financial and academic advisors are always there to help you make the best decision.

“We usually ask a student, ‘Why are you going to summer school?’ It is ultimately the student’s decision, but we will counsel with them. If we don’t think it’s in their best interest to do summer school, we will advise against it” said Barnette.

If you’re interested in applying your Palmetto Fellows or Life scholarship eligibility to a summer semester, contact Financial Aid at 864-977-7056.