- About Clemson University, Clemson University, Accessed April 2017, http://www.clemson.edu/about/
- Fast Facts, Bob Jones University, Accessed April 2017, http://www.bju.edu/about/fast-facts.php
- South Carolina at a Glance, University of South Carolina-Columbia, Accessed April 2017, http://www.sc.edu/about/south_carolina_at_a_glance/index.php
- Welcome to The Citadel, The Military School of South Carolina, Accessed April 2017, http://www.citadel.edu/root/info
- About Lander University, Lander University, Accessed April 2017, http://www.lander.edu/about
- About NGU, North Greenville University, Accessed April 2017, http://www.ngu.edu/about.php
- The University, Francis Marion University, Accessed April 2017, http://www.fmarion.edu/about/theuniversity
- About CCU, Coastal Carolina University, Accessed April 2017, http://www.coastal.edu/aboutccu/
- About CIU, Columbia International University, Accessed April 2017, http://www.ciu.edu/about-ciu
- USCB. Discovered, University of South Carolina-Beaufort, Accessed April 2017, http://www.uscb.edu/about_uscb/index.html
- Statewide Transfer Agreements and Policies in South Carolina, South Carolina Transfer and Articulation Center, Accessed April 2017, https://www.sctrac.org/Student/StatewideTransferArticulationinSC/tabid/732/Default.aspx
- SC Technical College System, Accessed April 2017, http://www.sctechsystem.com/
- Scholarships & Grants for South Carolina Residents, South Carolina Commission on Higher Education, Accessed April 2017, http://www.che.sc.gov/Students,FamiliesMilitary/PayingForCollege/FinancialAssistanceAvailable/ScholarshipsGrantsforSCResidents.aspx
- University of South Carolina System, Accessed April 2017, http://southcarolina.edu/index.php
- Scholarship directory data is copyrighted material which is reproduced on this website by permission of Wintergreen Orchard House, a division of Carnegie Communications. Copyright © 2017-18 by Wintergreen Orchard House. All rights reserved.
Home to historic Charleston and miles of beautiful beaches, South Carolina can boast of a robust system of higher education. Public colleges and universities in the state fall into one of the following four categories:
- Research institutions
- Comprehensive teaching institutions
- Two-year regional campuses of the University of South Carolina
- Technical colleges
The University of South Carolina is the state's main public system of higher education. Its flagship campus, located in Columbia, is one of the state's research institutions. The university also has another seven campus locations. Together, these schools confer 40 percent of the bachelor's and graduate degrees awarded by public institutions in South Carolina.
Articulation agreements between schools can make it simple to transfer credits from two-year colleges to four-year universities. For example, the University of South Carolina-Columbia's Bridge Program is an agreement with the South Carolina Technical College System. The agreement allows students who have earned at least 30 credits at a technical college to easily transfer and continue their education at the university.
In addition to public colleges and universities, students may also enroll in a private institutions or one of the online colleges for South Carolina.
Best 4-Year Colleges in South Carolina
To find the best four-year colleges and universities in South Carolina, we used a methodology that looked at factors such as cost, program availability and graduation rates.
As one of three research institutions in South Carolina, the accredited Clemson University is regularly ranked the number one school in the state. It is a highly selective institution that got its start as an all-male military school. Today, it has seven colleges that serve more than 22,000 undergraduate and graduate students.
Although its sticker price is higher than that of other schools on this list, Clemson is more affordable once financial aid is factored in. The university has the fifth lowest average net price for low-income students. It also ranks fifth for the amount of institutional grant aid it awards as a percentage of its tuition and fees. Perhaps as a result of that, Clemson comes in fourth for the low median debt carried by graduates.
Students looking for an online degree will find plenty of options at Clemson University. The schools ranks third for the number of distance education programs is supports. Also notable is the university's graduation rate, which is ranked second in the state.
Established in 1927, Bob Jones University is a private Christian institution. Its campus in Greenville includes four schools, a college and a seminary. The 3,000 students enrolled at BJU can choose from a variety of undergraduate and graduate programs although accounting, business administration and nursing are top choices.
Bob Jones University is an affordable choice for higher education. The school ranks fifth, out of 34 South Carolina institutions, for its average net price. It also ranks first for the low median debt carried by graduates. After graduation, alumni do a good job paying off that debt, too. The university is ranked first in the state in terms of its three-year loan repayment rate.
The university offers a number of support services to help students be successful. There are remedial classes for those who need to brush up on core skills, academic advising and career placement for those who earn their degree.
The University of South Carolina - Columbia is another of the state's research institutions. It is also the flagship campus for the University of South Carolina System. The school was founded in 1801 and has grown into one of the nation's most respected institutions of higher learning. It is one of only 32 public universities to receive research and community engagement designations from the Carnegie Foundation.
When it comes to affordability, the university ranks in the top ten for the cost of its tuition and fees, books and supplies and average net price for low income students. The University of South Carolina - Columbia also excels at helping its student complete their degrees on time. Its graduation rate is the fourth best in the state.
For those interested in earning an online degree program in South Carolina, USC Columbia offers a wide range of distance education options. So much so that the school is ranked second in the state for the number of distance programs available.
Often referred to simply as "The Citadel," The Military College of South Carolina is a Charleston institution. The school was founded in 1842 and trains the South Carolina Corps of Cadets. These students live and study in a classical military system that has honor, duty and respect as its core values.
While a public military school, The Citadel isn't only for those who plan a life in the armed services. The school's 20 undergraduate majors include such popular choices as business administration, biology, psychology and political science.
Tuition and fees at The Military College of South Carolina are the ninth most affordable in the state. It is also generous with its financial aid, ranking second for the amount of institutional grants it awards as a percentage of its tuition and fees. Once students are accepted, they tend to remain at The Citadel and graduate on time. It ranks fourth for its retention rate and seventh for its graduation rate.
Located in Greenwood, Lander University is another of South Carolina's historic public universities. The school was founded as a college for women in 1872 and now serves a co-educational student body of 2,700. Lander University has 60 areas of study within its four academic colleges and schools of management and nursing.
Business administration is the most popular program at Lander and was the most awarded degree at the university in 2015. Other programs of note include psychology, nursing and criminal justice. Students may also benefit from Lander University's policy to offer college credit for some life experiences.
The school ranks high for its affordable tuition. Its average net price is the third best in the state, and Lander University ranks second for the average net price for low income students. Its retention rate garnered the university the number five spot out of 34 South Carolina institutions.
North Greenville University is affiliated with the South Carolina Baptist Convention and has campuses in Tigerville and Greer. It is also one of the best online colleges for South Carolina, offering several online programs. Founded in 1891, North Greenville University now offers more than 50 undergraduate and graduate degree options.
In addition to being a good online school for online programs, North Greenville University has solid rankings in several categories. Its graduates have the third lowest median debt in the state. The university also ranks third for its retention rate and 12th for its graduation rate.
Students have access to a number of support services at North Greenville University. The school offers academic advising, career placement and remedial support services. Plus, there may be an opportunity for some students to earn college credit for life experiences. Dual enrollment and AP course credit is also available.
Named in honor of a Revolutionary War hero, Francis Marion University was founded in 1970. It is a public, liberal arts institution that ranks high for its affordability. The school garners the top spot and number one ranking for the cost of its books and supplies, its average net price and its average net price for low-income students. The sticker price for tuition at FMU is the fourth lowest of the South Carolina schools surveyed.
Francis Marion University is a popular option for nursing students. Of its many degree programs, the registered nursing program graduated the most students in 2015. Beyond health sciences, the university has schools of business and education along with its college of liberal arts.
It ranks sixth for its retention rate. It also offers a number of support services. Once enrolled, students have access to academic advising and at graduation, career placement services are available.
Based in Conway and near Myrtle Beach, Coastal Carolina University boasts a beautiful location. The school started as a junior college in 1954 and transitioned to a four-year school in the 1970s. With the addition of Coastal Online, the university has staked its claim to being one of the best online colleges for South Carolina.
Coastal Carolina University offers 73 baccalaureate fields of study and 21 graduate level programs. While it awarded the most degrees in business administration in 2015, other popular fields of study include marine biology, psychology and exercise and sport science.
The university ranks fifth among South Carolina schools for the affordable sticker price of its tuition and fees. After financial aid is factored in, CCU ranks tenth for the average net price of its programs. The school is also notable for its retention rate, which is the seventh best in the state.
Columbia International University might be the right fit for students looking for an intimate learning environment. With an enrollment of only 1,000 students, it is the smallest institution on this list.
The university started at Columbia Bible School in 1923. Although its name has changed, CIU retains its Christian identity. In 2015, Bible Studies was the most popular major among graduates. During that same year, 36 percent of students were enrolled in distance education classes, making Columbia International University a popular choice for online degree programs.
Although not the school with the lowest tuition rate, students at CIU seem to stay out of debt. The university ranks second in the state for the low median debt carried by graduates. Its graduation rate is also the eighth best in the state. To help students succeed, Columbia International University offers remedial services, academic advising and career placement for graduates.
Students looking for a bargain should head to the University of South Carolina - Beaufort. It's ranked number one in the state for the affordable sticker price of its tuition and fees. The university also offers a number of options, such as credit for life experiences and payment plans, which can make the cost even more manageable.
Affordable tuition isn't the only appealing feature of the University of South Carolina - Beaufort. With fewer than 2,000 students enrolled, the school offers small class sizes and a personalized learning environment. It also has a long history backing its educational offerings. It can trace its heritage to the 1700s when it was Beaufort College.
USCB is part of the University of South Carolina System and has three campus locations in the Carolina Sea Islands: Beaufort, Bluffton and Hilton Head. Students hoping to earn an online bachelor's degree in South Carolina can check out the school's degree completion programs.
Most Popular Degree Programs in South Carolina
Are you curious what other South Carolina students are studying? Whether you simply want to know or need some inspiration as you make your own plans, here's a look at the most popular fields of study in South Carolina.
In-Demand Careers in South Carolina
Before enrolling in a degree program, students should know their prospects of getting a job after graduation. To that end, you might be interested to know that these careers are expected to see strong growth in South Carolina in the years to come.
|Career Title||Projected Job Growth||Total Employment||Annual Salary|
|Occupational Therapy Assistants||36%||350||$59,090|
|Ambulance Drivers and Attendants, Except Emergency Medical Technicians||34.4%||870||$23,800|
|Home Health Aides||33.5%||10,130||$20,710|
|Operations Research Analysts||31.9%||920||$71,810|
|Computer-Controlled Machine Tool Operators, Metal and Plastic||31.8%||2,880||$38,670|
|Physical Therapist Assistants||31.2%||1,140||$60,080|
|Health Technologists and Technicians, All Other||27.1%||780||$40,260|
|Cartographers and Photogrammetrists||26.4%||350||$50,370|
|Physical Therapist Aides||24.8%||650||$23,330|
|Forensic Science Technicians||24.5%||100||$46,860|
|Interpreters and Translators||24.5%||490||$40,070|
|Electrical Power-Line Installers and Repairers||24.2%||2,770||$54,830|
|Industrial Machinery Mechanics||23.9%||7,930||$51,330|
|Personal Care Aides||23.8%||14,020||$19,820|
|Helpers--Brickmasons, Blockmasons, Stonemasons, and Tile and Marble Setters||23.4%||280||$30,350|
|Computer Systems Analysts||23.3%||5,940||$77,120|
|Diagnostic Medical Sonographers||23.1%||720||$62,490|
|Healthcare Social Workers||22.4%||2,010||$53,750|
|Personal Financial Advisors||22.2%||1,680||$109,370|
|Law Teachers, Postsecondary||22.1%||100||$114,520|
|Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Teachers, Postsecondary||21.9%||200||$66,640|
Financial Aid and Scholarships in South Carolina
Whether you plan to learn on campus or want to earn an online bachelor's degree in South Carolina, a number of financial aid programs can help reduce the cost of your education. In addition to federal assistance, South Carolina residents may eligible for aid from the state. This assistance is awarded in the form of Palmetto Fellows Scholarships, LIFE Scholarships, South Carolina HOPE Scholarships, South Carolina Need-based Grants and Lottery Tuition Assistance.
November 15 (Early Action admissions deadline)
Renewable if recipient maintains a minimum 3.25 GPA and full-time status.
Renewable if recipient maintains a minimum 3.6 GPA.
February 1 (fall); October 1 (spring)
Renewable for four years.
- University of South Carolina System
- South Carolina Transfer and Articulation Center
- SC Technical College System
- South Carolina Commission on Higher Education
- South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities