A Lowcountry program aimed at helping students faces competition.

College isn't supposed to be too easy, but some students need a little help from time to time.

The University of South Carolina Beaufort has a program that does just that. and it's up for renewal. But this time around it's going to be a little tougher to get the money to keep it running.

First Generation student Marcus Humphrey is a familiar face around the Opportunity Scholars Program's computer lab.

"I come in and make use of it pretty regularly," he says.

Humphrey's taking advantage of the Opportunity Scholars Program, which is aimed at people who's parents never graduated college, students with low-income families and students with disabilities. Last year, Humphrey wanted every edge he could get, since he was taking classes alongside his son.

"He was determined as a student to make better grades than I did," laughs Humphrey, "I took that challenge."

150 students each year enroll in the same program at USCB, which is funded with a quarter million dollar grant per year. The four year grant cycle is up this year and it may be tougher for USCB to nail down than it has been in the past.

The problem is this time around a lot of the money other schools rely on from their states isn't there any more, so more and more are relying on federal money.

OSP Director Aaron Marterer says, "Colleges and universities have to find outside resources to provide support to students. It's becoming a much more coveted grant to have on campus."

If USCB does get the grant this time around, they won't have to worry about re-applying until 2009.

The program puts most of the focus on incoming students to try to get them used to campus life early on.

Reported by: Chris Cowperthwaite, ccowperthwaite@wtoc.com