February 6, 2008
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - USC officials announced a scholarship program Wednesday that will let some students study engineering for free.
The new Engineering and Computing Expanded Life Scholarship (ECELS) program will cover the difference between tuition costs and LIFE scholarships for in-state freshmen majoring in engineering and computing.
That means a minimum of 100 freshmen who also have LIFE scholarships can attend the university tuition-free beginning in fall 2008, said Dr. Michael Amiridis, dean of the College of Engineering and Computing.
After the freshman year, a student’s tuition will be covered if he or she maintains the 3.0 GPA required for the LIFE scholarship and continues to major in engineering or computing. The program is expected to provide about $5,400 in scholarships per student.
The initial $500,000 in support for ECELS is through gifts from individual donors, businesses, industries and the College of Engineering and Computing, Amiridis said.
"At a time when our state and nation face an alarming shortage of engineers and computing professionals, this program will enable us to recruit the state’s best and brightest students into a career field that offers lucrative job opportunities," he said.
"Business and industry look to universities to educate the engineers and computer scientists who are needed for today’s workforce and the workforce of the future. Clearly, we have an obligation to meet their needs and to meet the concerns of students who don’t want to leave college in debt," Amiridis said. "It is our goal to make education accessible and affordable to more students, and this program is a major step in that direction."
A "brain drain" of bright young people from South Carolina has been a major concern for Rep. Bobby Harrell, Speaker of the S.C. House of Representatives and one of the strongest advocates of the LIFE scholarships.
Harrell called the university’s plan to bridge the gap in tuition an innovative approach to solving the tuition concerns that many of the state’s parents and students have.
For more information about the university’s College of Engineering and Computing, visit the school’s website.
Posted by Logan Smith