CONTACTS: Marvin Carmichael, (864) 656-3431
Kathy Woodard, (864) 656-0205
EDITOR: Teresa Hopkins, (864) 656-1222
CLEMSON — A new scholarship and grant initiative announced by Clemson University will guarantee financial aid to every freshman from South Carolina, increase the value of the state’s Palmetto Fellowship, and offer incentives for students to earn math- and science-related degrees and engage in public service.
Called The Clemson Palmetto Pact, the program was announced by Clemson President James F. Barker at a meeting with Upstate legislators.
“The Clemson Palmetto Pact is a strategic scholarship and grant initiative aimed at meeting the needs of South Carolina and its students,” he said. “Through the Palmetto Pact, Clemson will direct funds to help provide the state with the work force needed for a knowledge-based, globally competitive economy.”
Barker said the Palmetto Pact aimed to prevent “brain drain” by keeping South Carolina’s best and brightest students in state, to provide more graduates who have the math, science and engineering skills to work in knowledge-based industries, to encourage students to engage in public and community service, and to ensure access to academically qualified South Carolinians regardless of income.
One component of the Palmetto Pact is a guarantee that every freshman from South Carolina who qualifies for admission will have a scholarship or grant, both forms of assistance that do not have to be repaid. Although most freshmen come to Clemson with a state-funded scholarship, those who do not will receive assistance through the university.
“We’re focusing on freshmen because Clemson requires incoming students to purchase a laptop computer, which increases the cost of the first year,” said Marvin Carmichael, director of financial aid. “The Palmetto Pact will help reduce first-year costs for South Carolina freshmen who do not have a state-funded scholarship.”
To keep the brightest students in-state, the Palmetto Pact will offer Palmetto Fellows an additional scholarship of up to $2,500 per years, award top-ranked minority and majority rising seniors at South Carolina high schools a Clemson-Coca Cola Scholarship, and increase the pool of scholarship funding available to South Carolinians whose grades, SAT score and class rank are in the top tier of the state’s high schools.
To increase the pipeline of technology-oriented graduates, the Palmetto Pact will award graduates of the Governor’s School for Math and Science, and all resident students majoring in math or science education, a scholarship of up to $1,000 per year. It also calls for expanding the RISE (Residence in Science and Engineering) living-learning community to 350 students and increasing study-abroad opportunities.
To encourage civic responsibility and public service, which is integral to Clemson’s mission as a land-grant university, the Palmetto Pact will launch a new Community Scholars program – a four-year scholarship, study and research program focused on community and civic life. It also will introduce a new Civics and Service House, a living-learning community open to students of any major interested in careers in public service, increase funding for Community Service grants and promote the Campbell Scholars and America Reads programs, which provides financial assistance to service-oriented students who tutor and mentor elementary- and middle-school students.
And to ensure access, in addition to guaranteeing a scholarship or grant to all S.C. freshmen, the Palmetto Pact will incorporate need-based criteria into community service scholarship programs and provide tailored, one-on-one counseling and assistance with financial aid and work-study applications for minority students.