State scholarship program's success becoming its enemy

Image by flickr user Let Ideas CompeteImage by 20080519clemson.jpg Rising tuition costs at state universities have increased the importance of state scholarships to many students.

The growing success of the LIFE scholarship (and other state scholarships) may necessitate a reduction in benefits or an increase in qualification requirements, The State reports.

Last fall, 87,867 S.C. students used the program to help pay tuition at state colleges and universities. That's a 37 percent increase from five years ago. And if that weren't causing enough strain, last year the scholarship program made students majoring in engineering, math or science eligible for $7,500 instead of the standard $5,000.

The LIFE program was started as part of a plan to encourage some of the state's most promising and intelligent young minds to go to school in-state. The hope was that by remaining in South Carolina for college those students would stay in the state after getting their degree, rather than attending an out-of-state college and being unlikely to return to South Carolina.

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