The Abbeville Promise makes higher education available to every student who is a resident of Abbeville County and graduates high school. We are excited to bring access to higher education to any student, whether they received their diploma through Abbeville County School District 60, Calhoun Falls Charter School, homeschool, private school, or any other state-accredited option.
The Situation and Challenge
Since its founding as one of the leading economically flourishing areas of the upstate of South Carolina Abbeville County has always met each challenge with courage and energy. This has led to a level of vitality that has brought us to today with hope and excitement.
And at this time, as throughout our past, we must determine the most effective strategies for achieving quality growth and act decisively to provide a level playing field for all our citizens. Changing times demand change from us — not just little tweaks along the way but transforming changes — if we are to stay relevant in our region’s economy, educational opportunities and quality of life. Our neighbors in all directions, both statewide and locally, are “going for the gold” which is a very good thing, but if we are to positively progress and not become observers, then we must act and act with wisdom and courage.
In 2017, we find ourselves in a position that demands positive action for the future of Abbeville County. What do we do?
One essential component of successful community development strategies is the enhancement of post-secondary educational opportunities. Such opportunities can provide transformative changes to communities determined to grow, progress, and prosper.
The Freshwater Coast Community Foundation proposes establishing a pathway to more affordable, high-quality, post-secondary education by funding the cost of an associate’s degree at Piedmont Technical College for all Abbeville County residents who achieve high school diplomas free of tuition and fees under qualifying conditions.
We propose the Abbeville Promise program.
Through similar programs across the county, communities are preparing their young people to be the workforce of the future, the next generation of productive citizens, and the civic leaders of tomorrow. Dozens of communities have achieved outstanding results in both economic and community development by establishing a Promise program.
The Abbeville Program is based on successful similar programs in Kalamazoo, Michgan; El Dorado, Arkansas; Hammond, Indiana; Cleveland County, North Carolina and many others. There are more than 200 Promise programs across the United States
Proven Results from Promise Programs Nationwide:
- Reduction in crime rates.
- Better school behavior and grades.
- Improved retention rates in school.
- Higher enrollment in post-secondary education free of debt.
- More educational opportunities and good-paying jobs.
- Greatly improved workforce in numbers, ability, and qualifications.
- More families with an income sufficient to maintain a household without public support.
- Enhancement of tax base.
- Increased property values.
- Attraction of more young families to our county.
Research shows that an endowment of $1,200,000 earning a reasonable interest income will fund the Abbeville Promise program and open doors of economic opportunity and personal potential for the young men and women of Abbeville County.
In 2018, 56% of South Carolina’s jobs will require a post-secondary education. In 2014, according to the 2016 Abbeville County’s Economic Development Strategic Plan, only 22% of our residents had at least an associate’s degree, the number of residents in our labor force is stagnant and the number of residents living in poverty continues to rise. The Abbeville Promise program will help change these sobering statistics.
We can begin the Abbeville Promise program as soon as the fall of 2018 if the funding is provided. The Freshwater Coast Community Foundation intends to make this happen with your support.
Planning for the Future
The Foundation has successfully raised in pledges over $1,200,000 with payments on schedule to be completed by 2023. The Abbeville Promise program is now fully in place at Piedmont Technical College. The next phase of our mission is to put the spotlight on specific projects in the areas of cultural arts and economic development and to continue to look for areas of enrichment in education. The Foundation continues to sponsor, along with Clemson University Extension Service, the very successful Freshwater Coast Center for Rural Development.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the Abbeville Promise?
The Abbeville Promise is a placed-based last dollar scholarship program to attend Piedmont Technical College (PTC) for residents of Abbeville County who have received their High School diploma within 12 months or less of beginning to attend PTC full time. The scholarship will be for Associate’s Degree programs or its equivalent and cover tuition and required fees. The scholarship will begin with students entering as first year students in the fall of 2018 and will cover up to two years of study beginning in the fall of 2019.
- Are there limits on the time from graduation to entering Piedmont Technical College?
Yes. For a student with a traditional high school diploma, you have twelve months from the time of receiving your diploma to entrance at Piedmont Tech as a full time student. For General Equivalence Diploma (GED) graduates, you need to have received your GED within twelve months of the completion of your high school studies and then be enrolled in Piedmont Tech. within twelve months of your GED diploma date.
- Are the scholarships need based?
No. The emphasis is on providing all residents of Abbeville County assistance to ensure they can earn an Associate’s Degree free of any cost related to tuition and required fees.
- What must a student do to be qualified for the scholarship?
Each student must apply for all Federal and State scholarships and grants using the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA). Following the determination of the total aid received from these sources, the Abbeville Promise will pay the remaining cost of tuition and required fees. Each student must meet the standard admission qualifications required of any student at PTC.
- What are required fees?
Fees that are required of all students are covered in the Promise Scholarship. Not covered are fees such as application fees, contact-hour fees and course specific fees.
- What if you receive a diploma from an Abbeville County school but do not live in Abbeville County?
You are not eligible for the Abbeville Promise scholarship.
- How do you establish that a student is a resident of Abbeville County?
The location of the residence where the student is claimed as a dependent child for IRS purposes determines the permanent place of residence.
- How do I start the application process?
To apply for the Abbeville Promise, contact the Admissions Office at Piedmont Technical College telling them you believe you are eligible for the Abbeville Promise. They will add this to your application information. As you work with the Financial Aid Office please be sure they know you are possibly eligible for the Promise and they will guide you through the financial aid materials needed to receive the Promise.
- What are eligible institutions?
If your major is offered at PTC, then you must attend PTC. However, if the major is not offered at PTC, then the student may enroll at another SC technical college that does offer the selected program. The degree or course of work must be at least 12 credit hours to be eligible and shall be subject to approval by the Foundation.
- What degree programs are eligible?
All certificate and Associate Degree programs offered by PTC are covered.
- Are summer school classes covered?
- What if I am required to take developmental/remedial programs?
Students who enroll in developmental/remedial programs will not be eligible for Abbeville Promise funding unless the student is enrolled in at least 12 credit hours of non- developmental courses.
- Is study abroad covered?
Only if the program is administered by an educational institution the student is attending. Students must be enrolled in 12 credit hours and no extraordinary tuition or expenses are covered.
- Can the scholarship be transferred to a private college/university or out-of-state vocational training program?
- Are there additional requirements that must be met following initial award?
Yes. You must make Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) using the standard calculation used in other Federal and State Aid programs. If you fall below the level of SAP you are no longer eligible for the Abbeville promise funding. You must remain a full time student.
- Are there other general requirements?
Yes. If you have been convicted of any felonies nor any second or subsequent alcohol or drug related misdemeanors within the previous 12 months of graduation and up to the entrance in PTC, you are not qualified for the Abbeville Promise.
If you have defaulted in any previous student Federal loans you are disqualified.
All students must be a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident.
- How long will my scholarship last?
Until you receive you’re Associates Degree or 36 months whichever comes first however you must be a full time student in any case.
- Are there any exceptions?
Yes. Exceptions are handled on a case by case basis for military or National Guard personnel. The exception for the full time requirement would be for programs of study that are less than 12 credit hours and are listed on the approved course of study attachment.
- Can the funding by the Foundation be discontinued?
Yes, if extraordinary circumstances required the Foundation to discontinue the funding you will be notified as soon as possible.
- Is there an appeals process?
Yes. Contact PTC Admissions Office or the Foundation for details.
- What is the deadline for application?
Consult the PTC.edu website for their registration dates and application deadlines.
This summary does not constitute a contract by or between the Foundation, PTC or the applicants. This summary is subject to modification as requirements are updated.