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Our Research

This list features some of the best online schools in South Carolina. Each school featured is a nonprofit, accredited institution — either public or private — with a high standard of academic quality for post-secondary institutions. We included liberal arts colleges and research universities as well as small, midsize, and large institutions. Next, we compared this comprehensive list to a list of aggregated college rankings from reputable publications like the U.S. News & World Report among others to simplify a student’s college search. We pored through these rankings so students don’t have to.

The online colleges on our list meet high standards for higher education programs. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) serves as the accrediting body for all of the colleges on our list. A regional accrediting body, SACSCOC works with higher education institutions in Southern states. It aims to ensure educational quality and help its member institutions improve their effectiveness.

We evaluated each school on tuition costs, admission, retention and graduation rates, faculty, and reputation as well as the student resources provided for online students. Then we calculated the Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100. Read more about our ranking methodology.

Online College Programs That Might Interest You

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

The Top 50 Online Colleges in South Carolina

Best Online Colleges in South Carolina Badge

University of South Carolina

Columbia International University

Anderson University

The Citadel

North Greenville University

Southern Wesleyan University

Clemson University

Winthrop University

University of South Carolina at Upstate

Coastal Carolina University

USC Aiken

Lander University

Columbia College

Bob Jones University

Charleston Southern University

Francis Marion University

Claflin University

Converse College

Limestone University

Coker University

Medical University of South Carolina

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Frequently Asked Questions: Online Colleges in South Carolina

Does South Carolina have good online colleges and universities?

Yes. The state offers a wealth of online educational opportunities, such as North Greenville University’s Online Bachelor’s in Psychology and the Medical University of South Carolina’s Online Bachelor’s in Healthcare Studies. After you graduate, you may want to consider staying in South Carolina to complete a master’s degree while you work in one of the state’s many growing fields, such as healthcare. South Carolina is rich in graduate school options, like Clemson University’s Online Master of Business Administration and Southern Wesleyan University’s Online Master’s in Counseling Psychology.

That said, there are many excellent online college programs available in other states as well. If you’re open to attending a school that’s located in another state, check out our guide to the best accredited online colleges. In addition to showing you the top 30 options in the entire United States for remote learning, this guide offers expert advice on how to choose a college and complete the application process.

Do online college credits in South Carolina cost more than in-person classes?

The answer to this question depends on which college you attend. Some schools offer discounted rates for online courses, whereas others charge an additional fee for online courses to help cover the cost of software licenses, technical support, etc. South Carolina became a member of the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) in 2016, which means that out-of-state students who live in a SARA-participating state can take online courses from South Carolina schools without incurring additional fees.

Why should you choose South Carolina for online higher education?

From affordable community colleges to religious institutions to top public research universities, South Carolina offers something for every online college student. One option that stands out as a particularly appealing choice is Coker University, which offers online degree programs in high-demand fields such as nursing and business management.

The Cost of Online College in South Carolina

How much does an online degree in South Carolina cost?

The cost of an online degree in South Carolina depends on which institution you attend as well as the type of degree that you decide to pursue. For example, undergraduate degrees are usually more affordable than graduate degrees. Also, you’ll probably find yourself paying more for your degree if you major in a STEM field rather than the humanities.

Regardless of the cost per credit, you should also consider that you may be able to save money on indirect expenses, such as transportation and housing, by earning your college degree online.

To give you a sense of exactly how much you should expect to pay for your online education, we’ve listed the lowest and highest rates for earning an online bachelor’s degree in South Carolina below:

Most affordable online college in South Carolina: Anderson University, $390 per credit

Most expensive online college in South Carolina: Coastal Carolina University, $1,184 per credit

Average College Tuition Cost

Source: Education Data Initiative

How long do you have to live in South Carolina to get in-state tuition rates?

Typically, you will be eligible for in-state tuition rates after you have lived in South Carolina for 12 consecutive months. Some groups, such as military veterans, tribal members, and graduate fellows, are entitled to in-state tuition rates without meeting this one-year requirement.

Who qualifies for reduced tuition costs in South Carolina?

South Carolina has a one-of-a-kind free tuition program for senior adult learners. The state’s On Your Own Time initiative allows residents aged 60 and older to take classes at a state college or university tuition-free on a space-available basis.

Separately, in 2021, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster announced free tuition for all eligible state residents at South Carolina’s 16 technical colleges. The free tuition can only be used for programs in high-demand careers, like healthcare and transportation. Recipients must maintain a 2.0 GPA and complete either 100 volunteer hours, a financial literacy course, or have a job while in school.

College Financial Aid, Scholarships, and Grant Programs in South Carolina

If you don’t qualify for one of South Carolina’s free tuition programs, there are many other sources of financial support available that can help you cover the cost of college. Some of these programs are based on income, whereas others are awarded based on factors such as demographics or academic merit. We’ve reviewed a few of the most prominent scholarship options for you below.

Next Step Scholarship

Sponsored by the Crumley Roberts law firm, these scholarships are awarded to community college students in South Carolina who will be transferring to an accredited four-year college or university in the coming fall. Crumley Roberts has provided over $300,000 in scholarships and technology to students since it began the scholarship program.

Who’s eligible? In addition to the requirements above, applicants must have at least a 3.2 GPA at their current school.

Contact information: [email protected] | 866-691-0607

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Horatio Alger State Scholarship - South Carolina

This national scholarship program is named after American author Horatio Alger, and the South Carolina division is funded by the Horatio Alger Endowment Fund and the Horatio Alger Association. It’s offered to students who exhibit integrity and perseverance in overcoming personal adversity. Students may begin their studies at a two-year institution and later transfer to a four-year institution.

Who’s eligible? High school juniors who have at least a 2.0 GPA, financial need, and South Carolina residency.

Contact information: [email protected] | 844-422-4200

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Coastal Community Foundation

With just one application, students can apply for numerous scholarships that are managed by this South Carolina nonprofit. Scholarships are for college-bound high school seniors as well as current college students. Some scholarships have particular criteria that must be met, like residency from a certain county or intent to study a specific academic subject.

Who’s eligible? Most of the scholarships offered by the foundation require South Carolina residency. The application includes financial information, a transcript, letters of recommendation, and an essay.

Contact information: [email protected] | 843-793-6120

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Joye Scholarship Program

Sponsored by the South Carolina-based Joye law firm, these scholarships are open to high school seniors who plan to attend a four-year institution of higher learning. Selection is based on school activities, leadership, previous honors and awards, community involvement, academic performance, professional goals, and the creativity of the scholarship application essay.

Who’s eligible? In addition to the requirements above, you must also include your photo and the name of a teacher who inspired your creativity.

Contact information: [email protected] | 843-725-4252

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Top 5 Fast-Growing Industries in South Carolina

If you still don’t know where you will attend college, it’s quite possible that you also don’t yet know what you will major in. In that case, one of the most important factors you should consider is which industries are growing the fastest in South Carolina — this will make it easier to find a job, and more demand should also help you earn a higher salary.

By consulting the U.S. Department of Labor’s Long-Term Occupational Projections (2020–2030), we’ve determined that the following five careers have some of the highest projected growth rates in South Carolina:

Nurse Practitioners

NPs are advanced practice registered nurses who specialize in diagnosing and treating patients with an emphasis on preventative care and health education. They are quickly becoming many Americans’ preferred primary care professionals. NPs tend to be well-compensated; in South Carolina, they earn an average salary of $109,130.

Physician Assistants

Physician assistants are one of the most in-demand health professionals. They work under physicians to support patient care and must complete extensive education and medical training. They are not as highly compensated as physicians, but they still make six-figure salaries. The average annual PA salary in South Carolina is $106,200.

Information Security Analysts

Information security analysts monitor and manage an organization’s computer networks and systems. Specifically, information security analysts keep an organization’s data safe. As cybersecurity and information security become increasingly important in our digital world, security analysts are in high demand. They are also well-compensated, making an average annual salary of $102,270 in South Carolina.

Speech-Language Pathologists

Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) specialize in treating speech impediments and other issues that arise related to the mouth and throat area, including chewing and swallowing food. Demand for SLP services is expected to rise greatly in South Carolina and across the country, largely due to the aging population and prevalence of health issues such as stroke and Alzheimer’s, which can impair speech and eating skills. In South Carolina, SLPs make an average annual salary of $79,800.

  • Growth: 34.1%
  • Degree options: Master’s in Speech-Language Pathology

Financial Managers

Financial managers tend to the financial health of an organization. With an average salary of $132,300 in South Carolina, this is one of the highest-paying jobs available that typically only requires a bachelor’s degree.

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