COLUMBIA — The South Carolina Education Department said the class of 2013 was offered a record $1.15 billion in college scholarships.
That tops the amount offered to last year’s public high school seniors by nearly $89 million.
In the Lowcountry, both Charleston and suburban Dorchester 2 school districts saw their scholarship totals rise for 2012-13, while the winnings in Berkeley and rural Dorchester 4 fell compared to the previous school year.
Charleston seniors earned a record $50 million in scholarships, up nearly $3 million from the previous year.
Suburban Dorchester 2 saw the biggest jump locally in its scholarship earnings, growing about $14 million to $37.3 million during the most recent school year.
Sean Alford, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction in Dorchester 2, said the district’s scholarship total represent the hard work of students and teachers and the support of parents.
“The district’s focus on college and career readiness in every grade level justifies celebration by all students and teachers,” he said.
Berkeley County seniors had the biggest drop in scholarship earnings among local districts. The district’s record-setting amount of $38.8 million in 2011-12 fell to $38 million for the most recent school year. Rural Dorchester 4, which has only one high school, also saw its scholarship totals fall about $300,000 to $2.1 million.
The total includes scholarships not accepted by students.
It represents all scholarships offered to students as they consider which two- or four-year college to attend. The figures assume students keep all of their scholarships through graduation.
Scholarships funded by the state lottery accounted for one third of the total.
The state gathers the information from school districts, as well as charter schools, the governor’s schools in Hartsville and Greenville, and the School for the Deaf and the Blind.
The totals have risen yearly since the state began tracking the figure, from $684 million in 2007.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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