SCICU Scholars Program
The SCICU Scholars Program was developed in 1994 to encourage investment in undergraduate student scholars at SCICU member institutions. Investors in the Scholars Program recognize the need to encourage talented students to complete a four-year or two-year college degree and they also recognize that the cost of college may prove prohibitive to outstanding young people with high potential for long-term success. For the 2012-2013 academic year, 9 companies established Scholars Programs with SCICU that provided $274,000 to 202 undergraduate students. Criteria for the scholarships are developed by each donor.
Board of Trustees Scholarship Awards
Each year, the Board of Trustees awards a $2000 scholarship to the Independent College Student of the Year in memory of J. Lacy McLean and a $1000 scholarship to honor the legacy of Sterling L. Smith. Natasha Rudy (right), Wofford College, was the 2013-2014 J. Lacy McLean Scholarship recipient and the Independent College Student of the Year. Savannah Taylor (left), Furman College, was the Sterling L. Smith Scholarship recipient for 2013-2014.
2013-2014 Scholarship Winners
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 the 2012-2013 fiscal year, $131,100 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 a career in research. On an annual basis, SCICU raises funds from donors 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 2013, $89,919 was awarded to fund 27 student/faculty research proposals. The 2014 Research Symposium was cancelled due to inclement weather.
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 2014, almost 7,000 letters were mailed prior to over 100 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.
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 30, 2013, 70 employers from around the country met with over 300 college graduates at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center for interviews and networking opportunities. The Career Connections event for 2014 was cancelled due to inclement weather.
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.