No, these numbers weren’t randomly generated by some mischievous AI program. So what connects them?
I’ll give you a hint…it has to do with money. I know that’s not much of a hint.
So, let me ask a question: What percentage of students at SCICU member institutions take out a federal student loan? Based on media coverage, I’ll bet you guessed upwards of 90 percent.
In reality it’s 56 percent – a little over half. Of course, there are other loans, but these loans are what’s used in federal comparisons.
You might be thinking: “It’s only about half because rich kids go to private colleges.”
Then how do you explain that 39 percent of students attending SCICU member institutions receive federal Pell Grants, which are available only to the most financially disadvantaged students? The answer is that the private colleges and universities put up significant amounts of their own money to make them accessible to all students.
Last year SCICU member institutions invested $350 million dollars of their own resources so that students could focus on their studies instead of being distracted by financial concerns. That’s one-third of a billion dollars!
That $350 million amounted to 53 percent of all financial aid students at SCICU’s 21 member colleges and universities received last year. Federal student loans were 17 percent and other loans only 4.5 percent.
So those three numbers are connected – they prove the commitment of the SCICU member institutions to access and opportunity and to providing a life-changing private college education for citizens of South Carolina, regardless of their background.