Online education serves as a great equalizer. Online colleges put a degree within reach of more students who may otherwise find it difficult to earn one. Schools do not make any distinctions between their online and on-campus programs. The delivery mode varies, but the quality, admission criteria, and graduation requirements remain the same. Graduates of accredited online colleges in South Carolina reap the same professional benefits as their on-campus counterparts.
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that bachelor's degree-holders earn more than workers without a four-year degree. Bachelor's graduates earn a median weekly salary of $1,248, associate-trained workers earn $887, and employees with some college but no degree earn $883. A bachelor's degree, whether earned at a South Carolina online college or onsite, grants holders improved earning capacity.
This guide describes other benefits of earning a bachelor's degree at South Carolina online colleges. We include information on scholarships and a list of some of the best online colleges in South Carolina.
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Top Online Programs
Explore programs of your interests with the high-quality standards and flexibility you need to take your career to the next level.
Many schools charge online enrollees lower tuition. However, even if online students pay the same tuition as on-campus learners, they save on room, board, and transportation.
Online college costs vary greatly based on location, major, and other factors. By way of illustration, one online college in Florida charges $21,100, while onsite costs come to $42,768.
Currently, South Carolina does not offer free college for its residents. However, the state maintains several financial aid programs to help students pay for a college education.
South Carolina supports 33 public colleges and universities. Another 28 independent educational institutions offer additional academic options.
Best Online Colleges in South Carolina 2021
A public university based in Greenwood, Lander Online offers several undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Students may also augment their studies with a professional certificate in all-hazard emergency management.
Learners can choose from seven bachelor's degrees, including programs in criminology, health and wellness, business administration, and nursing. Master's choices include business administration, emergency management, and nursing. Online students may also take advantage of advising and career services. The school offers all coursework through an asynchronous delivery format.
Undergraduate applicants need a high school diploma to qualify for admission. The school takes a holistic approach to admissions, considering GPA, high school course load, and ACT or SAT scores. Graduate students should follow their chosen department's individual mandates, including any standardized test and work experience requirements.
Lander is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
A private Baptist university in Tigerville, NGU Online offers several undergraduate degrees and certificate programs for students who need flexibility in their studies. Students explore various fields of study through a Christian lens.
Programs include business and leadership, criminal justice, psychology, and elementary education. NGU Online also offers a suite of services, including advising, to help online students succeed. Learners may participate in chapel services online, expanding offerings for students who do not live near campus.
Applicants need a high school diploma or GED equivalent to qualify for undergraduate admission. Transfer students must have completed at least 12 credits. NGU also requires students to submit SAT or ACT scores but does not specify a minimum required score.
NGU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
A private Christian university in Anderson, AU Online offers graduate and undergraduate degree programs, along with undergraduate and postgraduate certificates.
The school offers bachelor's degrees in fields such as medical imaging, marketing, homeland security and emergency services, and organizational leadership. Students can also choose from master's degrees in organizational leadership, music education, instructional design and learning technology, and business administration.
AU offers a handful of doctoral degrees and certificates as well. Online students receive support through student services, career advising, and tutoring.
Undergraduate applicants need a high school diploma or GED equivalent and standardized test scores. Graduate students should follow their chosen department's requirements, which may include standardized test scores, statement of faith, or work requirements.
AU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
A private Christian university located in Central, SWU Online offers several graduate and undergraduate degrees, allowing students to explore faith-based studies on a flexible, convenient schedule.
The school offers eight bachelor's degrees in fields such as business administration, child and family studies, human services, and ministry. Graduate programs include master's degrees in classroom leadership, healthcare administration, counseling psychology, and project and quality management. The school also offers two doctoral programs in business administration and education online.
Undergraduate applicants need a high school diploma or GED equivalent with a minimum 2.0 GPA. Transfer students also need a minimum 2.0 GPA. SWU does not require undergraduate students to submit standardized test scores. Graduate students should verify requirements with their chosen department before applying.
SWU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
A public university in Columbia, Upstate Online offers 15 distance programs for students who cannot come to campus, including both graduate and undergraduate programs. Notable undergraduate programs include an RN-to-BSN track for current licensed nurses, a criminal justice program, an information management systems program, and an interdisciplinary studies program.
Master's programs include nursing, which entail clinicals at each student's location, and a master of education in applied learning and instruction. Learners may also pursue hybrid programs, offering at least 70% of coursework online. UofSC offers online certificate programs for career development as well.
Applicants need a high school diploma or GED equivalent and SAT or ACT scores to qualify for admission. Graduate students need a bachelor's degree and must follow the standardized test and GPA requirements for their chosen department.
UofSC is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
What Are the Goals of an Online Degree?
Several U.S. institutions offer programs online without sacrificing the quality and rigor of their academic offerings. Online students graduate with the same skills and breadth of knowledge as their on-campus peers.
Students can earn a bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree in areas including nursing and education. Online colleges prepare students to meet workforce demands in challenging STEM fields as well. Online education makes a college degree attainable for students facing various financial and time constraints.
Why Get an Online Degree?
South Carolina online colleges offer flexibility and convenience with features such as rolling admission policies and multiple start dates. Below, we describe the benefits of pursuing an education at online colleges in South Carolina.
- Enhance Professional Options: Employers typically prefer to promote bachelor's degree-holders to management and leadership positions. Few differentiate between graduates of an online or on-campus program.
- Minimize Career Interruption: Working students can more easily balance online program demands and professional responsibilities, especially with asynchronous courses.
- Enter Workforce Earlier: Many online programs follow accelerated delivery schedules, such as eight-week terms instead of the typical 16-week semester. Students often graduate and start working sooner than on-campus enrollees.
- Pursue Specialized Field of Study: Students interested in a professional program not available in their home state can enroll online at an out-of-state institution offering their preferred specialization area.
- Work Security: The BLS reports that bachelor's degree-holders enjoy a lower unemployment rate than associate graduates and workers with some college but no degree. The different groups experience rates of 2.2%, 2.7%, and 3.3%, respectively.
What Are the Requirements for an Online School?
Traditional students applying to online programs typically submit the same requirements as applicants for onsite programs. These include SAT or ACT scores, transcripts, and recommendation letters. Some programs require minimum GPA levels, which online applicants must also meet. Nontraditional applicants often need to complete required coursework and have a relevant work history.
Graduation requirements differ among majors, but remain the same for online and on-campus candidates. Programs with an internship or practicum component often permit online students to fulfill the requirement locally.
Scholarships for Online Students
Online students can often apply to many of the scholarship programs that colleges offer to on-campus enrollees. They can also explore other financial assistance programs. Professional associations, state and federal government agencies, and private nonprofit organizations affiliated with their study area may administer them.
Who Can Apply: South Carolina high school graduates pursuing an eligible program at an accredited two- or four-year in-state institution qualify for the LIFE program. Recipients must maintain full-time status throughout the scholarship program while enrolled in their initial associate, bachelor's, or professional degree.
Amount: Up to $4,700
Who Can Apply: Members of the South Carolina Army and Air National Guard can apply. The program welcomes applications from full-time or part-time students pursuing a two- or four-year program at an eligible South Carolina institution. Recipients must demonstrate financial need and meet their school's standards of satisfactory academic progress to maintain eligibility.
Amount: $4,500 per year for the Army National Guard; $9,000 per year for the Air National Guard
Who Can Apply: The program targets South Carolina high school graduates with excellent academic standing planning to attend an in-state institution. Although primarily merit-based, the program considers an applicant's financial need in the final determination. Recipients must continue to meet scholarship requirements to qualify for continued funding for up to eight consecutive semesters.
Amount: Up to $6,700 for freshman year and up to $7,600 for sophomore, junior, and senior years
Who Can Apply: The South Carolina Commission on Higher Education administers this scholarship program for Palmetto Fellows majoring in an approved math or science field. Candidates must show satisfactory completion of 14 math and science credits by the end of their freshman year before applying.
Amount: Up to $10,000 (beginning sophomore year)
Who Can Apply: The South Carolina Higher Education Tuition Grants Commission administers this program through the financial aid office of participating public institutions. Schools determine eligibility and applicable amounts from applicants' FAFSA information. Students planning to attend an independent South Carolina institution can apply directly to the commission.
Amount: $2,500 for full-time students; $1,250 for part-time enrollees