Online Colleges in South Carolina
South Carolina is known for sweet tea, peaches, mountains and beaches, but the state really stands out when it comes to higher education, too.
The southern state boasts a diverse list of postsecondary schools, including several large public research universities, and plenty of smaller private colleges focused on the arts, religion or military training. Most students have access to online learning opportunities and financial aid resources, as well.
Overview of Higher Education in South Carolina
South Carolina is home to 77 degree-granting institutions, according to a 2015-2016 report by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Of these, 33 are public schools, 22 are private non-profit schools, and 22 are private for-profit schools.
Tuition in the state is well above the national average, according to a 2016-2017 report by Collegeboard.org. In-state tuition and fees at South Carolina’s public 4-year institutions runs about $12,190, on average. Out-of-state students will pay around $29,740.
Students who have trouble finding schools that offer their chosen major can take advantage of the state’s involvement in the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB), which encourages resource sharing among 15 participating states. Through this program, South Carolina students can enroll in degree programs in nearby states while paying in-state tuition rates.
About Online Colleges in South Carolina
A 2012 report by the NCES indicated that 5.9% of college students in South Carolina were enrolled exclusively in online courses. Another 16.2% were participating in a hybrid of online and on-campus courses. In the years since, numbers have gone up as colleges increase their online course offerings.
University of South Carolina (USC) offers its online programs through Palmetto College, a part of USC’s statewide network that focuses on two-year programs and online programs. Students can choose from popular fields like Business Administration, Criminal Justice, Hospitality Management, Nursing, Education and many others. Most programs require students have two years of college credit under their belts before choosing an exclusively online format. USC also offers online graduate degree programs, including Education, Engineering and Nursing programs, which have all been ranked among the nation’s best by U.S. News and World Reports
Clemson University offers several online degree and certificate programs, in both fully online and blended formats. Online graduate level programs are available in Athletic Leadership, Construction Science, and Wildlife and Fisheries Biology and many other areas. Clemson’s online graduate degree program for Education was ranked #1 in the nation by U.S. News and World Reports.
Online programs like the ones at USC and Clemson, and those at colleges throughout the state, are monitored by the state’s Commission on Higher Education (CHE). The CHE has a comprehensive set of standards and principles that guide distance education and prioritize quality instruction and equitable access, among other things.
Scholarships and Financial Aid in South Carolina
In order to attend one of South Carolina’s colleges or universities, you will first need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which can provide access to federal, state and private financial aid.
Financial aid is typically awarded on a first come, first served basis, so it’s important to fill out the FAFSA as early as possible. It will be available starting on October 1st of the year before you plan to attend college.
The FAFSA application will require you to provide financial information for yourself and your parents (unless you’re considered “independent” by FAFSA’s standards). Your answers will help determine how much and what type of aid you qualify for.
In addition to federal assistance, residents of South Carolina may also receive aid through the following programs:
- Palmetto Fellows Scholarship – Merit based with specific academic requirements; Administered by the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education; Up to $6700 for freshmen, up to $7500 per year for sophomores, juniors and seniors; Additional funds available for students majoring in an approved math or science program
- Legislative Incentive for Future Excellence (LIFE) Scholarship – Merit based ; Administered by the financial aid office at each eligible school; Award amounts vary based on school and program duration; Enhancement program available for students majoring in an approved math or science program, with additional guidelines, for up to $10,000 per year beginning with sophomore year
- HOPE Scholarship – Merit based for students attending a 4-year institution who do not qualify for the LIFE or Palmetto Fellows Scholarships; Up to $2800
- Need-Based Grant – For the neediest students; Up to $2500 per year if full-time, Up to $1200 per year if part-time
- Lottery Tuition Assistance Program – For students at 2-year institutions; Up to $1140 per term if full-time, or $95 per credit hour if part-time
- South Carolina National Guard College Assistance Program (SCNG CAP) – For members of the South Carolina Army and Air National Guard; Up to $4500 for Army National Guard and up to $9000 for Air National Guard, per year
The financial aid received through the programs listed above does not have to be repaid.
You can find more “free money for college” by looking for private scholarships, which you can find using search sites like Fastweb.com. Here are a few examples of those available to South Carolinians:
|Cancer for College Carolinas Scholarship||Must be a cancer survivor from or attending school in North or South Carolina||
|Harry Hampton Scholarship||For a high school senior who plans to pursue a major in wildlife, fisheries, forestry, biology, zoology, marine science, environmental science or a related field; Must maintain a GPA of 2.5 or higher||
$5000 per year, up to 4 years
|Lettie Pate Whitehead Scholarship||For Christian women in specific states; Preference is given to those pursuing the medical, nursing and allied health fields||
|South Carolina Press Association Scholarship||For rising junior or senior student journalists who are from or attending school in South Carolina||
|James O. Thomason Scholarship||For a high school senior who plans to pursue a major in electronic, print or photo journalism, advertising, public relations or mass communications; Must maintain a GPA of 2.5 or higher||
$2000 per year, up to 4 years
Finally, you may be eligible to receive aid through the college or university you choose. To find out more, you will need to check with the school’s financial aid office.
List of Online Colleges in South Carolina
|Online Colleges in South Carolina||Location||Annual Tuition||Accreditation||Application Fee|
|Clemson University||Clemson, South Carolina||$14,708||Regional||$70|
|Columbia International University||Columbia, South Carolina||$21,490||Regional||$0|
|University of South Carolina||Columbia, South Carolina||$11,454||Regional||$65|
|Limestone College||Gaffney, South Carolina||$23,900||Regional||$25|
Indeed, there is more to South Carolina than beautiful landscapes.
The state is home to 77 top-notch colleges and universities, with online and on-campus opportunities to help launch you into a successful career.