Best Online Colleges in South Carolina 2021

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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.

Table of Contents

Top 10 Colleges in South Carolina

Rank School Location
1 Clemson University Clemson, SC
2 University of South Carolina-Columbia Columbia, SC
3 North Greenville University Tigerville, SC
4 Citadel Military College of South Carolina Charleston, SC
5 Columbia International University Columbia, SC
6 Lander University Greenwood, SC
7 Anderson University Anderson, SC
8 Coastal Carolina University Conway, SC
9 Southern Wesleyan University Central, SC
10 Claflin University Orangeburg, SC

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FAQs

  • Is it cheaper to get a degree online?

    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.

  • What is the average cost for online college?

    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.

  • Is college free in South Carolina?

    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.

  • How many colleges and universities are there in South Carolina?

    South Carolina supports 33 public colleges and universities. Another 28 independent educational institutions offer additional academic options.

Best Online Colleges in South Carolina 2021

2-Year Colleges

  1. Trident Technical College
    Location

    Charleston, SC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

  2. Florence-Darlington Technical College
    Location

    Florence, SC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

  3. Tri-County Technical College
    Location

    Pendleton, SC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

  4. Piedmont Technical College
    Location

    Greenwood, SC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

  5. Technical College of the Lowcountry
    Location

    Beaufort, SC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

  6. Central Carolina community college
    Location

    Sanford, NC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

  7. Midlands Technical College
    Location

    West Columbia, SC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

4-Year Colleges

  1. Clemson University
    Location

    Clemson, SC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Clemson University provides entirely-online graduate Clemson University provides entirely online graduate degree programs or blended programs that require students to participate in online meetings, hybrid classes, and/or independent study topics. Students can earn an online master's degree in public administration; teaching and learning; athletic leadership; biology, with a specialization in wildlife and fisheries biology; human resource development; industrial engineering; construction science management; parks, recreation, and tourism management; and youth development leadership. Clemson also offers 3 doctoral programs in health care genetics; parks, recreation and tourism management; and rhetorics, communication and information design, as well as a program for registered nurses to earn a bachelor's degree in nursing. Most degree programs are designed to be completed in 3 years or less.

  2. University of South Carolina-Columbia
    Location

    Columbia, SC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Students who have 2 years of previous college credit can complete their degree online at University of South Carolina-Columbia. This college offers degree completion programs in elementary education, several areas of healthcare including health promotion and health informatics, information management and systems, criminal justice, organizational leadership, hospitality management, human services, special education and business administration with focuses in management or accounting. Current registered nurses can earn their bachelor's degree in nursing through an online, 12-month RN to BSN program. Graduate students can enroll in hybrid or online master's degree programs to earn a degree in statistics, education, a range of engineering specialties, library and information science, nursing or public health. These master's degrees are designed for completion by full-time students in 2-3 years.

  3. North Greenville University
    Location

    Tigerville, SC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Adult learners can enter online undergraduate degree programs at North Greenville University to earn their bachelor's degree. The college offers online bachelor's programs in business and leadership, Christian ministries, criminal justice, applied psychology, elementary education studies and general studies. Courses run for 8 weeks and incorporate Biblical principles into the curriculum. These degree programs are designed to be completed in 4 years. There is a scholarship available for online undergraduate students residing in South Carolina, and NGU provides need-based financial aid to online students.

  4. Citadel Military College of South Carolina
    Location

    Charleston, SC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The Citadel Military College of South Carolina offers military-focused online degrees to students in 38 states and worldwide. The Citadel has 3 online bachelor's degree completion programs in business administration, criminal justice and intelligence and security studies. Students can transfer at least 24 credits toward their degree through these programs. The Citadel also provides 6 fully-online master's degree programs in business administration, leadership, intelligence and security studies, interdisciplinary STEM education, international politics and military affairs, and social science. These graduate degrees can be completed in 2 years or less by full-time online students. Distance learning students pay the same rate per credit hour as in-state students attending The Citadel's online degree programs.

  5. Columbia International University
    Location

    Columbia, SC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Columbia International University offers a range of online master's degrees in religion, with concentrations in Bible exposition, chaplaincy, intercultural studies, divinity, ministry studies, Muslim studies, care and counseling, theological studies, and youth ministry leadership. Online students can also earn a bachelor's degree in business, or a master's in business administration or education. CIU provides one online doctoral degree program in educational leadership. Tuition rates vary depending on the course of study a student pursues, not on where they live while attending online degree programs. The college accepts international students into online programs, but some master's programs require interested applicants to provide a reference from a church leader.

  6. Lander University
    Location

    Greenwood, SC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Lander University provides 3 online graduate degree programs and 1 undergraduate degree program for registered nurses to earn their bachelor's degree in nursing. Earning a master's in nursing through Lander's online program qualifies students to sit for the Clinical Nurse Leader certification exam. Online students will earn their clinical hours through placement in their geographic area. Lander's online master's in education program offers 2 specializations in instructional technology and diverse learners. Graduate students can also earn an online master's in emergency management at this college. Some online programs accept transfer credit.

  7. Anderson University
    Location

    Anderson, SC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Students earning an online degree through Anderson University can explore bachelor's degree programs in business, Christian studies, criminal justice, health care or liberal studies. Graduate students can earn an online master's in business administration, which offers concentrations in health care leadership, human resources, marketing and supply chain management. Anderson also has programs for both a master's and a doctoral degree in ministry. Graduate degrees can be completed in 2 years of full-time study, and online classes run for either 6 or 8 weeks.

  8. Coastal Carolina University
    Location

    Conway, SC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Coastal Carolina University offers online undergraduate degree programs in hospitality, resort and tourism management, and marketing. Students can also complete a bachelor's degree in health administration. Graduate degrees include a master's in business administration, information systems technology, instructional technology, literacy or special education. Many of these graduate programs can be completed in one year. CCU also provides an online doctoral degree in instructional technology for teachers who have already completed a master's degree in this field. Transfer credits are accepted in most degree programs, and most classes are primarily self-directed, though some instructors may require online attendance for specific events.

  9. Southern Wesleyan University
    Location

    Central, SC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Online courses at Southern Wesleyan University last 7 weeks and can be taken year-round. This Christian college offers 4 bachelor's degrees in nursing; human services; early childhood and family studies; and business administration with concentrations in accounting, general business, finance, human resource management, marketing, supply chain management and general management. Graduate students can earn an online degree in areas of education and business, and SWU provides one doctoral degree program in curriculum and assessment. Online students pay a set fee for classes whether they live in-state or out-of-state.

  10. Claflin University
    Location

    Orangeburg, SC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Students at Claflin University have access to four bachelor's programs and three master's programs that can be completed entirely online. Current registered nurses can earn a bachelor's in nursing, or students can pursue undergraduate degrees in psychology, organization management or criminal justice. There is also a master's degree in criminal justice available at Claflin, as well as graduate degrees in business administration or curriculum and instruction. Undergraduate degrees can be completed in under 4 years of full-time study, and some master's degree programs take as little as 18 months to complete. International students are eligible to enroll in some online programs, as well. The college provides resources on financial aid that for students attending Claflin online including those from out of state.

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.

How Does College Accreditation Work?

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.

  • Legislative Incentive for Future Excellence Scholarship Program

    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

    See Scholarship

  • National Guard College Assistance Program

    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

    See Scholarship

  • Palmetto Fellows Scholarship Program

    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

    See Scholarship

  • Palmetto Fellows Enhancement Scholarship Program

    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)

    See Scholarship

  • South Carolina Need-Based Grant Program

    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

    See Scholarship

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