If you live in South Carolina and are thinking of attending college(yes, college is still worth it), you’ve probably heard of South Carolina Student Loan. But did you know that non-residents can also apply? South Carolina Student Loan has been around for over 40 years to assist many people with their educational goals. A few of their loan programs for teachers are also eligible for loan forgiveness.
About South Carolina Student Loan
South Carolina Student Loan (SCSL) is a non-profit education lender available in South Carolina. They were established in 1973 and their goal is to assist people in South Carolina in getting an education.
They have a mission to provide financial assistance to eligible student and parents so they can pursue their educational dreams. According to their website, they administer programs with professionalism, integrity, accountability, and excellent service. They also provide assistance to financial aid administrators, guidance counselors, and others.
Facts about South Carolina Student Loan:
- They offer a private student loan, the Palmetto Assistance Loan (PAL)
- They are the only source in the state for loans under the SC Teachers Loan Programs
- They have the lowest default rates in the country
South Carolina Student Loan is a non-profit, which means they can offer:
- Flexible repayment options
- Time and money-saving benefits
Contact Information for South Carolina Student Loan
- South Carolina Student Loan Phone Number: 803-798-0916
- South Carolina Student Loan Office: 8906 Two Notch Road, Columbia, South Carolina 29223
Who Can Apply for South Carolina Student Loan
All eligible students and parents either residing in or outside of South Carolina can apply. Read on to find the eligibility requirements for each loan program.
State-Specific South Carolina Student Loans
South Carolina Student Loans sponsors loan programs such as:
The Palmetto Assistance Loan (PAL)
The PAL program offers low, fixed interest rates on private loans to legal U.S. citizens. You can use these loans to cover your tuition, educational fees, transportation, supplies and books, or a computer. You need to be enrolled in a public or private school in South Carolina in order to apply. South Carolina residents can apply if they’re attending school in another state. This program is open to both residents and non-residents of South Carolina.
The origination fee is as little as one percent, there’s no application fee, and a single monthly statement for all SCL student loans. You can borrow a minimum of $2,000 and the maximum is the cost of your attendance minus other financial aid. PAL total indebtedness is capped at $100,000.
PAL borrowers under 24 years of age need to have a creditworthy cosigner. Other borrowers don’t need a cosigner, but it may help them qualify for a lower interest rate, which reduces the cost of the loan over its lifespan. Cosigners need to be at least 24 years old and a U.S. citizen, national or permanent resident, employed or retired.
The South Carolina Teachers Loan Program (Eligible for Loan Forgiveness!)
The South Carolina Teachers Loan Programs were established by the state in order to help qualified students become teachers. The funding is limited and subject to change, so it’s suggested that applicants apply early.
This loan program was designed to attract gifted students to become teachers. Graduates who decide to teach in South Carolina in a subject area or a town or city with a critical teacher shortage can qualify for loan forgiveness. South Carolina residents can apply and they must meet GPA requirements. The priority filing deadline is April 30.
- A critical subject area is designated annually. You must teach in the critical subject at the time you began borrowing through the Teachers Loan. You can check which subject areas are deemed critical on the website.
- Critical geographic schools are designated annually and you can find which schools apply by searching on the website.
- The South Carolina Program of Alternative Certification for Educators Loan
Students who are enrolled in the South Carolina Program of Alternative Certification for Educators (PACE) may qualify for a PACE loan. They must have a current teaching certificate from the state of South Carolina and also need to be working as a full-time teacher in a South Carolina public school.
People who are interested in teaching, but haven’t yet completed a teacher education program can apply for PACE by completing a PACE Loan Application. The loan reimburses expenses associated with the PACE program.
The South Carolina Career Changers Loan (Also Eligible for Loan Forgiveness!)
South Carolina professionals who want to be teachers can apply for the South Carolina Career Changers Loan. This program was created to help professionals in South Carolina become teachers. Interested applicants must have a bachelor’s degree for at least three years prior to applying or be working as teaching assistants at a public school in South Carolina. There are requirements for work experience, too. Work experience requirements also apply. This loan is also eligible for loan forgiveness. The priority deadline to file is April 30.
The PAL Consolidation Loan
Consolidating your loans can help you save money by combining your loans into a single one. You can pay off both federal and private loans with the PAL Consolidation Loan available through SCSL. Consolidating with South Carolina Student Loan can get you a rate as low as 3.99% with different repayment term options, and zero fees.
To qualify, you need to be a legal resident of South Carolina or a non-resident carrying loans from South Carolina schools. The application will take your debt-to-income ratio into account as well as your credit score. If you don’t meet the requirements for the program, you need to have a cosigner who does. You can apply through the SCSL website.
How to Apply for South Carolina Student Loans
You can apply for any of the loan programs offered by SCSL by downloading the forms directly from the website. Once your application is accepted, you’ll need to sign a promissory note, which details the repayment terms. It is a legally binding contract that shows you the interest rate, repayment terms, cancellation, and deferment policies.
SCSL also requires you to attend entrance and exit counseling so you’re completely knowledgeable about what it means to borrow money for your education. Your entrance counseling has to be completed before you get your first loan disbursement, and exit counseling needs to happen before you graduate. The counseling makes sure that you understand all of the terms and conditions related to your loan.
What Schools are Eligible for SCSL?
The schools that are eligible for the Palmetto Assistance Loan must:
- Be attending a public or not-for-profit college or university within the U.S. that is considered eligible by the U.S. Department of Education for participation in HEA and Title IV programs
- Be set up to receive disbursements through electronic funds transfer
Schools that aren’t listed on the website need to call the South Carolina Student Loan office at (800) 488-9875 to update their information.
How to Qualify for Loan Forgiveness with South Carolina Student Loans
South Carolina has given SCSL the right to forgive its teaching loans, including the South Carolina Teachers Loan, the South Carolina Career Changers Loan, and the South Carolina PACE Loan. You can receive funding through one or more of these loans each year. In order to become eligible for loan forgiveness, you must:
- Send in a finished application and promissory note
- Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident residing in South Carolina
- Present plans for your teaching education
- Attend an accredited school and progress satisfactorily
- Meet academic standards by ranking in the top 40% of your high school graduating class and score the average for South Carolina on your SAT or ACT
The Career Changers and PACE Loans have annual borrowing limits from $2,500 to $15,000 and the total borrowing limits range from $5,000 to $60,000.
Forgiveness comes through teaching in a public school in South Carolina in a specific subject or geographic area. Each year of service earns you 20% forgiveness on the loan (or $3,000, whichever is more). If your service fulfills both subject and area needs, as in you teach in a qualifying geographic area and subject area, then your rate is 33.5 or $5,000.
South Carolina Student Loan Borrower Benefits
There are rising costs associated with borrowing student loans and SCSL tries to serve the best interests of students and their parents. They’re trusted and their not-for-profit status means they can provide excellent service and great benefits. Also, signing up for their automatic bank withdrawal will get you .25% off of your interest rate. They’re definitely worth checking out if you’re a South Carolina resident or you attended a South Carolina school.