Whether you’re heading off to be a South Carolina Gamecock or a Clemson Tiger (or something else entirely), you might be wondering how to fund your education.
Although there are many ways to pay for college, one option for people from the Palmetto State is South Carolina Student Loan.
What is South Carolina Student Loan?
South Carolina Student Loan is a statewide nonprofit education lender based in Columbia. It’s been in business since 1973 and claims to have one of the lowest default rates in the country.
Its signature product is the Palmetto Assistance Loan (PAL) — a private, fixed-rate loan for students attending a public or not-for-profit college.
To be eligible, you must be a South Carolina resident attending an eligible U.S. school or an out-of-state student attending an eligible school in South Carolina. The loan has no origination or application fees, but students under 24 must have a co-signer.
The minimum loan amount is $2,000, and you can borrow up to the cost of attendance. Here are South Carolina Student Loan’s interest rates as of November 2017:
The organization also offers the state-funded South Carolina Teachers Loan and South Carolina Career Changers Loan for students who want to become teachers.
These loans have stricter requirements. For example, you must be a South Carolina resident, and you must be in the top 40 percent of your graduating class.
How to pay your South Carolina Student Loan
Unlike federal student loans, the PAL requires you to make small payments while you’re in school: either monthly interest or $25 per month. Then, 60 days after you graduate or drop below half-time status, you’ll begin making full payments.
With the teacher loans, on the other hand, you won’t start making payments until six months after you graduate.
You can make payments online, via mail at PO Box 102400, Columbia, SC 29224, or by calling (800) 347-2752 on weekdays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET.
Or you can sign up for automatic payments, which will lower your interest rate by 0.25%. Make sure you always have enough money in your account, however, as returned payments will result in a $25 fee.
South Carolina Student Loan repayment options
Once you graduate, South Carolina Student Loan will put you on a 10-year or 15-year repayment schedule, during which you’ll make monthly payments.
For the PAL, if you took out less than $17,500, you’ll be on a 10-year repayment schedule; if you took out more, you’ll be on a 15-year repayment schedule.
Here’s how that could shake out, depending on your interest rate:
If you can’t afford your South Carolina student loans, talk to the organization about your options. Its FAQ page states it’ll work with you “until you get your finances in order” and encourages borrowers to call for further assistance.
You could, for example, apply for student loan forbearance. Borrowers with a teacher loan have several options.
For each full year teaching in a critical subject or area, 20 percent or $3,000 of your outstanding loan balance (whichever is greater) will be forgiven. If you’re teaching in both a critical subject and critical area, that amount jumps to the greater of 33.3 percent or $5,000 per year.
South Carolina Student Loan contact information
Here’s how to get in touch with South Carolina Student Loan:
- Phone: Call (800) 347-2752 (24-hour automated line).
- Email: Use the contact page.
- Walk-in services: Visit the lobby from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday, at 8906 Two Notch Road, Columbia, SC 29223.
When it comes to live phone help or mailing addresses, it depends on which services you need. Here’s a list of the company’s contact options.
If you have questions about South Carolina Student Loan, don’t hesitate to reach out. Staying on top of your student loans will help you stay on top of your finances — and your future.
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