SCICU Scholars Program
The SCICU Scholars Program was developed in 1994 to encourage investment in undergraduate student scholars at SCICU’s member institutions. SCICU Scholars Program benefactors recognize the value of their investment in SCICU students for fueling growth of future leaders and the South Carolina economy. They also recognize that the cost of college may prove prohibitive to outstanding young people with high potential for long-term success. For the 2021-2022 academic year, the SCICU Scholars Program awarded $383,200 to undergraduate students at SCICU member colleges and universities. Criteria for scholarships are developed with each donor.
McLean – Smith SCICU Student of the Year Award / Scholarship
In 2016, the SCICU Board of Trustees elected to combine the J. Lacy McLean and the Sterling L. Smith Scholarships into the McLean-Smith SCICU Student of the Year Award, and consolidate the scholarship into one $3,000 award. J. Lacy McLean advocated for independent higher education in South Carolina for over 34 years. Sterling L. Smith was instrumental in the development of the SC Tuition Grants Program. The award recognizes students who perform well academically and who demonstrate commitments to public affairs, community service, and leadership.
Full-time rising seniors attending SCICU member colleges and universities are eligible to be nominated for the combined scholarship award. The recipient must be a South Carolina resident and a SC Tuition Grant recipient. Rising sophomores at SCICU two-year institutions are also eligible for the award.
SCICU Student Lifeline Grants Program
Need-based grants have played an essential role for students at SCICU member colleges and universities since SCICU’s founding in 1953. Lifeline Grants help SCICU students persevere through financial crises, stay in school, and complete their degrees. Campus financial aid directors select grant recipients who are identified as at-risk for dropping out. For fiscal year 2021-2022, $125,970 was distributed to SCICU member institutions for helping students persist through unforeseen financial difficulties and earn their degrees.
SCICU Undergraduate Student/Faculty Research Program
Initially developed in 1995, the SCICU Undergraduate Student/Faculty Program increases research opportunities for undergraduate students attending SCICU member institutions. Research projects are selected for funding based on rigorous subject-area expert review. Participating students have opportunities to develop professional research and presentation skills, the benchmarks of highly-qualified professional researchers. SCICU raises funds each year to support this important program.
For the 2022-23 research cycle, a total of 28 research proposals involving 29 students from 10 SCICU member institutions were awarded research grants totaling $103,270 in the spring of 2022. The students presented the results of their 2022-23 research at the 2023 Research Symposium held at the Milliken & Company Customer Center in Spartanburg, SC on February 16, 2023. A list of the proposals funded for research during the 2021-22 cycle may be read in the SCICU 2021-2022 Annual Report.
Joint Higher Education Day at the South Carolina State House
Students from SCICU member institutions join forces with their counterparts from South Carolina’s public colleges and universities to say thanks to members of the General Assembly and the Governor for their continued support of state funded need-based financial aid. During this event held at the S.C. State House, students have opportunities to meet individually with their respective members of the S.C. House and Senate. During the 2021 and 2022 Joint Higher Education Days, Gov. Henry McMaster celebrated with the student group and presented his gubernatorial Higher Education Day proclamation.
For SCICU students, Higher Education Day is the culmination of each year’s Tuition Grants letter-writing campaign. In this annual grassroots advocacy campaign, Tuition Grants recipients attending SCICU member institutions write thank-you letters to their respective state senators and representatives. In 2023, members of the S.C. General Assembly received more than 7,000 Tuition Grants thank-you letters from students attending SCICU colleges and universities.
Excellence in Teaching Faculty Awards Program
Each year SCICU recognizes outstanding faculty from each of its 21 member colleges and universities and honors them with a $3,000 professional development grant at a special awards dinner in Columbia. Earnings from the SCICU Endowment fund the $63,000 needed to award the 21 Excellence in Teaching grants.
Consortia Groups and Purchasing Coalition
SCICU staff helps coordinate and participates in various campus communities of interest to include meetings with representatives in academic affairs, admissions, business affairs, student affairs, career services, libraries, institutional research, information technology, and human resources. These groups come together periodically to share information and work on solutions to common problems.
SCICU and its member schools have formed a purchasing coalition to leverage economies of scale to reduce the cost of purchasing common goods and services. This is done primarily through the Coalition for College Cost Savings; however, SCICU has negotiated favorable purchasing agreements with a number of national suppliers.
As part of this initiative, SCICU established a Business Partners Program beginning in 2010. Companies desiring to provide goods or services to the member colleges and universities may register as a Business Partner. A company profile and contact information of each Business Partner is posted on the SCICU website in an electronic marketplace and the partners are recognized in SCICU’s monthly newsletter and in the annual report. Membership in the Business Partners Program costs $250 annually and now includes 38 partners.
NOTE: 100% of all funds raised by SCICU go back to the colleges and universities in the form of grants or scholarships.