SCICU Scholars Program
The SCICU Scholars Program was developed in 1994 to encourage investment in undergraduate student scholars at SCICU’s member institutions. Investors in the Scholars Program recognize the need to encourage talented students to complete a college degree. They also recognize that the cost of college may prove prohibitive to outstanding young people with high potential for long-term success. For the 2013-2014 academic year, $304,380 was awarded to 242 undergraduate students. 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 seeks to recognize 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.
Please click here to read the biography for Victoria Biggers, the 2016 McLean – Smith SCICU Student of the Year.
SCICU Discretionary Scholarship Program
Unrestricted gifts have played an essential role for our colleges and universities since the founding of SCICU in 1953. Funds raised for the unrestricted campaign are distributed to the colleges 50% equally and 50% based on enrollment size. These important gifts have a profound impact on the ability of our institutions to meet their changing needs. Virtually all undesignated funds are used by participating colleges and universities to provide financial aid for students. For fiscal year 2013-2014, $118,160 was distributed to participating member institutions.
Student/Faculty Research Program
Developed by SCICU in 1995, the Student/Faculty Research Program is designed to strengthen educational programs for students attending member institutions by providing quality undergraduate research experiences. These experiences are transforming students’ lives and encouraging them to explore careers in research.
On an annual basis, SCICU raises funds from benefactors to conduct this initiative, issues a call for grant proposals, assembles an evaluation committee of faculty members who select the proposals to be funded, issues the funds for the projects selected, and organizes a symposium at which each student presents their research findings. For fiscal year 2013-2014, more than $87,457 was awarded to fund 27 student/faculty research proposals. The students presented the results of their research at a symposium held at the Milliken & Company Customer Center in Spartanburg, SC. on February 12, 2015.
Independent College and University Week
During the spring of each year, students from South Carolina’s independent colleges and universities gather at the Statehouse in Columbia to thank their legislators for funding the needs-based Tuition Grant Program and the State’s several merit-based scholarships. This event is preceded by the annual student letter writing campaign at which time recipients of state student aid write thank you letters to their House and Senate members. In 2015, we saw 100% participation in letter writing from the 20 member colleges, and over 8,000 letters were mailed prior to the students visiting the Capitol.
Excellence in Teaching
Each year SCICU recognizes the outstanding faculty from each of its 20 members and honors them with a $3,000 professional development grant at a special awards dinner in Columbia. The $60,000 needed to award the 20 grants comes from earnings off the SCICU endowment fund.
College Campus Tour
SCICU sponsors an annual week-long tour of 10 SCICU institutions for high school counselors and teachers in order to create a greater awareness among key educators about the unique and intrinsic value of independent higher education. As part of their Department of Education recertification requirements, counselors and teachers on the tour create presentations of their experience to share with students, parents, and other educators. During 2014, 37 counselors and teachers participated in the tour.
SCICU Career Connections is a state-wide career fair and interview event hosted by the twenty independent colleges and universities. This recruiting event is designed to maximize employers’ time and recruiting resources by providing the opportunity to network with and interview statewide college graduates in one day, at one location. On January 26, 2015, nearly 80 recruiters from 43 employers met with over 200 SCICU member college students and graduates at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center for interviews and networking opportunities.
Consortia Groups and Purchasing Coalition
SCICU staff helps to 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 in the form of grants or scholarships.