SC graduates break mark for scholarship awards

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) _ The state Education Department says the class of 2008 earned a record $767 million in college scholarships.

The roughly 40,000 public school seniors who graduated in the spring received $83 million more in scholarship offers than last year's class. The department says the latest amount pushes the total value of scholarships earned to more than $3 billion over the past five years.

The total includes more than the scholarships students accepted. It represents all scholarships offered to students as they considered which college to attend.

The education department estimates 90 percent of the scholarships are academic, while 10 percent are athletic. The state's lottery-backed LIFE, HOPE and Palmetto Fellows scholarships account for about 20 percent of the total.

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