2022 Top Public Colleges and Universities in South Carolina

Public colleges and universities are often the most affordable option for students pursuing higher education, but it’s not just affordability that makes these institutions attractive. Public colleges and universities also rank highly among the best institutions in many states, South Carolina included.

Public colleges and universities receive state and federal funding. Although they generally have larger class sizes than private institutions, they also tend to offer a wide variety of academic programs, diverse student bodies, and prestigious research opportunities.

2022 Best Public Colleges and Universities in South Carolina

At BestColleges, we believe a college education is one of the most important investments you can make. We want to help you navigate the college selection process by offering transparent, inclusive, and relevant school rankings.

Our rankings are grounded in a few guiding principles and use the latest statistical data available from trusted sources. Read our ranking methodology. We hope our approach helps you find the school that is best for you.

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    Avg Tuition per YearTuition is the price you pay to attend classes. Tuition varies by school, and does not include costs associated with room and board, books, school supplies, meal plans, or transportation.

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    #1

    Clemson University

    Clemson, SC

    Graduation Rate

    84%

    Enrollment

    25,822

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $15558

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $38550

    Located in Clemson, South Carolina, Clemson University grants degrees as a public institution. With both academic and technical programs, this school can help learners reach their educational goals. Students strengthen their knowledge of the field by completing coursework. Some programs may operate with a test-optional policy for admissions. Flexible admission score requirements make it easier to apply. Learners benefit from support services, which include tutoring and career counseling. The amount students pay per credit on average is unknown. Learners at the accredited school qualify for federal financial aid programs such as the Pell Grant. Clemson University holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #2

    University of South Carolina-Columbia

    Columbia, SC

    Graduation Rate

    77%

    Enrollment

    35,364

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $12688

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $33928

    University of South Carolina-Columbia, which is often listed among the best schools, operates from its main campus in Columbia, South Carolina. Students take courses with experts in diverse disciplines. With academic and technical tracks, the programs help students reach a variety of career goals. Academic programs can take as little as a few months or as many as seven years to complete, depending on the degree or certificate type and the student's enrollment status. Some programs may operate with a test-optional policy for admissions. This makes it easier to enroll. The admissions department can provide more information on the process. At the accredited institution, enrollees also qualify for financial aid to pay for school. University of South Carolina-Columbia has received accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

    #3

    Citadel Military College of South Carolina

    Charleston, SC

    Graduation Rate

    74%

    Enrollment

    3,767

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $12620

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $35876

    Citadel Military College of South Carolina, a public institution in Charleston, South Carolina, enrolls learners in multiple programs. With both academic and technical programs, the college helps learners reach their professional goals. The institution's degree and certificate programs offer coursework that prepares learners for a career in their field. Some programs may offer test-optional admission policies. These policies make it easier to apply. The school supports enrollees with tutoring and career services. The institution's cost per credit is unknown. At the accredited school, learners qualify for federal student aid programs such as the Pell Grant. Citadel Military College of South Carolina holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #4

    Lander University

    Greenwood, SC

    Graduation Rate

    45%

    Enrollment

    3,226

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $11700

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $21300

    A public institution located in Greenwood, South Carolina, Lander University offers multiple programs. Enrollees complete programs that prepare them for the workforce. Learners benefit from the school's academic rigor and affordable tuition rate. Several of the school's programs appear in national rankings. The institution's cost per credit is unknown. Degree-seekers at this accredited institution may qualify for federal student aid programs, including the Pell Grant. Degree-seekers choose from academic and technical programs at the school. Based on their major, students take foundational courses, technical classes, and general education requirements. Lander University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #5

    College of Charleston

    Charleston, SC

    Graduation Rate

    66%

    Enrollment

    10,545

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $12939

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $33269

    College of Charleston, located in Charleston, South Carolina, enrolls students as a public institution. With both academic and technical programs, the college helps learners reach their professional goals. Students prepare to contribute to their field by completing courses. Some programs may offer test-optional admission policies. Test-optional policies make it easier to apply. Enrollees receive support in the form of tutoring and career services. The amount students pay per credit on average is unknown. Learners at the accredited school can pay for their educational costs with federal student aid programs. The school holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #6

    University of South Carolina-Upstate

    Spartanburg, SC

    Graduation Rate

    48%

    Enrollment

    6,308

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $11558

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $23060

    From its campus in Spartanburg, South Carolina, University of South Carolina-Upstate offers programs as a public institution. With both academic and technical programs, the college helps learners reach their educational goals. Students complete coursework to prepare them for advanced roles. Applicants may qualify for a waiver for standardized test scores. Test-optional policies make it easier to apply. Learners benefit from support services like tutoring and career counseling. The institution's average cost per credit is unknown. At the accredited school, learners qualify for federal financial aid programs, such as the Pell Grant. University of South Carolina-Upstate holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #7

    University of South Carolina Aiken

    Aiken, SC

    Graduation Rate

    39%

    Enrollment

    3,720

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $10760

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $21218

    University of South Carolina Aiken, located in Aiken, South Carolina, welcomes students with 31 program options. Learners benefit from rigorous programs that rank among the best in the nation. The average student-to-instructor ratio is currently unknown. Data on the amount of aid students receive per year on average is unavailable. The public institution reports a 39% graduation rate. Graduates often benefit from hands-on experience, which makes them more competitive candidates on the job market. The admission rate is unknown at this time. Some programs let applicants apply without submitting test scores. Applicants can reach out to the admission department to learn more about enrolling.

    #8

    Winthrop University

    Rock Hill, SC

    Graduation Rate

    63%

    Enrollment

    5,865

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $15806

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $30136

    Located in Rock Hill, South Carolina, Winthrop University is a public institution that offers multiple programs. Students leave the school with experience and credentials that prepare them for the workforce. The institution offers academically rigorous programs at an affordable price. Students can enroll in nationally ranked programs. The college charges an average of 804 per credit. As an accredited institution, degree-seekers qualify for federal student aid programs, such as the Pell Grant. Degree-seekers choose from academic and technical programs at the school. The school offers foundational courses, technical classes, and general education courses in multiple majors. Winthrop University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #9

    Aiken Technical College

    Graniteville, SC

    Graduation Rate

    23%

    Enrollment

    2,236

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $4826

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $6880

    Aiken Technical College enrolls students at its Graniteville, South Carolina campus as a public institution. Instructors bring expertise in their fields. The college offers academic and technical programs that prepare graduates for the workforce or further study. The institution's cost per credit is unknown. Enrollees at the accredited institution qualify for federal financial aid, including grants and loans. Bachelor's students graduate from the school at a rate of 23%. The admission rate is unknown at this time. Prospective students can contact the admissions office for more information about applying. The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #10

    Francis Marion University

    Florence, SC

    Graduation Rate

    44%

    Enrollment

    4,240

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $11160

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $21544

    Francis Marion University, which is often listed among the best schools, operates from its main campus in Florence, South Carolina. Degree-seekers take courses with experts in diverse disciplines. The school offers academic and technical tracks to help learners meet a variety of professional goals. Typical time for program completion ranges from a few months to seven years depending on the type of degree or certificate offered. Some programs may let applicants apply without submitting test scores. The waiver makes it simpler to enroll. The admissions department provides additional resources on submitting an application. Enrollees at the accredited institution also qualify for financial aid to cover costs. Francis Marion University has received accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

    #11

    Spartanburg Community College

    Spartanburg, SC

    Graduation Rate

    22%

    Enrollment

    4,633

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $4782

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $9582

    Spartanburg Community College, which operates a campus in Spartanburg, South Carolina, often ranks as a top school. Instructors bring expertise in their fields. With academic and technical tracks, the school offers programs for students with a variety of professional goals. Check the program website for specifics on the degree- or certificate-completion timeline. Some programs provide a test-optional admission option. A test score waiver makes it easier to apply. The admissions department can help prospective students complete their application. At the accredited institution, students also qualify for financial aid to pay for school. The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

    #12

    Coastal Carolina University

    Conway, SC

    Graduation Rate

    47%

    Enrollment

    10,484

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $11640

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $27394

    Coastal Carolina University is a public institution located in Conway, South Carolina. Enrollees study with experts in many different fields. The school's academic and technical programs prepare graduates for the workforce or further study. The cost per credit is unknown. Students at the accredited institution qualify for federal financial aid, including grants and loans. The public school reports a graduation rate of 47%. The admission rate is unknown at this time. Prospective applicants can contact the admissions office for more information about applying. The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

    #13

    Greenville Technical College

    Greenville, SC

    Graduation Rate

    11%

    Enrollment

    11,123

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $4778

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $9410

    Greenville Technical College, located in Greenville, South Carolina, offers 90 programs for degree-seekers. The institution's top-ranked programs offer students a challenging course of study. Information on the average student-to-instructor ratio is unavailable. How much aid students receive on average is currently unknown. The school reports a 11% graduation rate. Job seekers often benefit from hands-on experience, which makes them more competitive job candidates. The school's admission rate is unavailable. Some applicants qualify for a waiver for standardized test scores. Prospective students can contact an admission advisor to learn more about applying.

    #14

    Tri-County Technical College

    Pendleton, SC

    Graduation Rate

    29%

    Enrollment

    6,181

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $4448

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $10040

    Tri-County Technical College, a public institution in Pendleton, South Carolina, enrolls learners in multiple programs. With both academic and technical programs, the college helps learners reach their professional goals. Students strengthen their knowledge of the field by completing coursework. Some programs provide a test-optional admission option. Flexible admission score requirements make it easier to enroll. The school supports learners with tutoring and career services. The amount students pay per credit on average is currently unknown. At the accredited school, learners qualify for federal financial aid programs, such as the Pell Grant. The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #15

    Trident Technical College

    Charleston, SC

    Graduation Rate

    19%

    Enrollment

    12,351

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $4648

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $8690

    Trident Technical College, located in Charleston, South Carolina, enrolls students as a public institution. Students learn from experts in multiple disciplines. The school offers academic and technical programs that prepare graduates for the workforce or further study. The school's average cost per credit is unknown. The accredited institution meets the requirements for federal financial aid programs, including the Pell Grant. Learners graduate from the school at a rate of 19%. The school's admission rate is currently unknown. Prospective applicants can contact an admission advisor to learn more about applying. Trident Technical College has received accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #16

    Orangeburg Calhoun Technical College

    Orangeburg, SC

    Graduation Rate

    20%

    Enrollment

    2,298

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $4570

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $7370

    Located in Orangeburg, South Carolina, Orangeburg Calhoun Technical College awards degrees and certificates as a public institution. Learners take courses with experts in diverse disciplines. The school offers academic and technical programs that prepare graduates for a successful career. The school's cost per credit is unknown. Students at the accredited institution qualify for federal financial aid, including grants and loans. Enrollees graduate from the school at a rate of 20%. The institution's admission rate is currently unknown. The admissions office provides more information about application requirements. Orangeburg Calhoun Technical College has been accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

    #17

    Central Carolina Technical College

    Sumter, SC

    Graduation Rate

    15%

    Enrollment

    3,361

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $5549

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $8753

    From its campus in Sumter, South Carolina, Central Carolina Technical College grants degrees and certificates as a top school. Students learn from experts in multiple disciplines. With academic and technical tracks, the school offers programs for students with a variety of professional goals. Academic programs generally take anywhere from a few months to several years to complete depending on degree or certificate type. Applicants may qualify for a standardized test score waiver. Test-optional policies make it easier to apply. Admission advisors can provide more information on the application process. Financial aid helps students cover the cost of their degree or certificate. Central Carolina Technical College has received accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

    #18

    York Technical College

    Rock Hill, SC

    Graduation Rate

    23%

    Enrollment

    4,529

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $5005

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $10309

    York Technical College offers programs from its campus in Rock Hill, South Carolina. Enrollees study with experts in many different fields. With academic and technical tracks, the school's programs help learners meet their professional goals. Visit the program's website to find information on the typical timeline for completion. Applicants may qualify for test-optional admissions. A waiver makes it easier to enroll. The admissions department can help applicants determine the next steps. Students also use financial aid to pay for their college degree or certificate. York Technical College holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

    #19

    Northeastern Technical College

    Cheraw, SC

    Graduation Rate

    19%

    Enrollment

    1,276

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $4518

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $7350

    Located in Cheraw, South Carolina, Northeastern Technical College enrolls students as a public institution. Degree-seekers take courses with experts in diverse disciplines. The school offers academic and technical programs that prepare graduates for a successful career. Data on the school's average cost per credit is unavailable. Students at the accredited institution qualify for federal financial aid, including grants and loans. The public institution reports a 19% graduation rate. The school's admission rate is unavailable. Prospective students can contact the admissions office for more information about applying. Northeastern Technical College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #20

    Horry-Georgetown Technical College

    Conway, SC

    Graduation Rate

    21%

    Enrollment

    6,705

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $4372

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $8620

    From its Conway, South Carolina campus, Horry-Georgetown Technical College enrolls learners in 78 programs. Learners enroll in top-ranked programs that offer a rigorous course of study. The average student-to-teacher ratio is unavailable. Data on the amount of aid students receive per year on average is unavailable. The public institution reports a 21% graduation rate. The institution's commitment to experiential learning makes graduates more competitive. The school's admission rate is unknown at this time. Some programs waive the test score requirement for qualified applicants. Prospective students can contact the admissions office for more information about applying.

    #21

    Florence-Darlington Technical College

    Florence, SC

    Graduation Rate

    13%

    Enrollment

    3,558

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $4772

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $6908

    From its Florence, South Carolina campus, Florence-Darlington Technical College enrolls students in 62 programs. Learners benefit from rigorous programs that rank among the best in the nation. The average student-to-teacher ratio is currently unavailable. How much aid students receive on average is currently unknown. Learners graduate from the school at a rate of 13%. Real-world experience helps candidates stand out on the job market. The admission rate is unknown at this time. Some programs no longer require test scores for admission. Applicants can reach out to the admissions office to learn more about enrolling.

    #22

    Technical College of the Lowcountry

    Beaufort, SC

    Graduation Rate

    14%

    Enrollment

    2,308

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $4852

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $10396

    From its campus in Beaufort, South Carolina, Technical College of the Lowcountry offers multiple programs as a public institution. Students complete programs that prepare them for the workforce. Learners benefit from the school's academic rigor and affordable tuition rate. Many of the school's degrees make national rankings. The school's average cost per credit is unknown. Degree-seekers at this accredited institution may qualify for federal student aid programs, including the Pell Grant. Learners choose from academic and technical majors at the school. Depending on their program, students complete foundational courses, technical classes, and general education requirements. The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

    #23

    University of South Carolina Beaufort

    Bluffton, SC

    Graduation Rate

    31%

    Enrollment

    2,119

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $10730

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $21776

    University of South Carolina Beaufort offers programs from its campus in Bluffton, South Carolina. Degree-seekers take courses with experts in diverse disciplines. The programs offer academic and technical tracks to help learners meet their career goals. Depending on the program, students can spend anywhere from a few months up to as many as seven years earning their degree or certificate. Applicants may qualify for a standardized test score waiver. Test-optional policies make it easier to apply. Admission advisors can provide more information on the application process. Students at the accredited institution also qualify for financial aid to cover costs. The school holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #24

    Williamsburg Technical College

    Kingstree, SC

    Graduation Rate

    8%

    Enrollment

    832

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $4488

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $8400

    Williamsburg Technical College enrolls students at its Kingstree, South Carolina campus as a public institution. Learners take courses with experts in diverse disciplines. The college offers academic and technical programs that prepare graduates for the workforce. The amount students pay per credit is currently unknown. Enrollees at the accredited institution qualify for federal student aid programs, including the Pell Grant. The institution reports a 8% graduation rate. The rate of admission for the school is unknown. Admissions advisors can provide more information about application requirements and start dates. Williamsburg Technical College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #25

    Piedmont Technical College

    Greenwood, SC

    Graduation Rate

    20%

    Enrollment

    4,747

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $4547

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $6593

    Piedmont Technical College, which operates a campus in Greenwood, South Carolina, often ranks as a top school. Experts in diverse disciplines teach at the institution. Academic and technical programs help learners reach their unique professional goals. Consult the institution's website to find information on the typical timeline for program completion. Applicants may qualify for a waiver for standardized test scores. A test score waiver makes it easier to apply. The admissions department can help students complete the process. Degree-seekers also use financial aid to cover their educational costs. The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

    #26

    Midlands Technical College

    West Columbia, SC

    Graduation Rate

    12%

    Enrollment

    9,160

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $4788

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $13812

    From its West Columbia, South Carolina campus, Midlands Technical College offers 84 program options for students. Degree-seekers benefit from rigorous programs that rank among the best in the nation. The average student-to-faculty ratio is currently unknown. Data on the average amount of aid students receive is unavailable. Students in the school's programs graduate at a rate of 12%. The institution understands that real-world experience helps job seekers stand out. The school's admission rate is unavailable. Some programs no longer require test scores for admission. Prospective applicants can contact the admission department for more information about applying.

    #27

    University of South Carolina-Sumter

    Sumter, SC

    Graduation Rate

    31%

    Enrollment

    1,361

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $7558

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $18238

    University of South Carolina-Sumter is a public institution located in Sumter, South Carolina. Degree-seekers take courses with experts in diverse disciplines. The school offers academic and technical programs that prepare graduates for the workforce or further study. The amount students pay per credit is unknown at this time. Students at the accredited institution qualify for federal student aid programs, including the Pell Grant. The public institution reports a graduation rate of 31%. The admission rate is unknown at this time. Applicants can reach out to the admission department to learn more about enrolling. The school holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #28

    South Carolina State University

    Orangeburg, SC

    Graduation Rate

    35%

    Enrollment

    2,479

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $11060

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $21750

    A public institution, South Carolina State University enrolls students on its campus in Orangeburg, South Carolina. The college offers academic and technical programs to help learners reach their educational goals. The institution offers coursework that gives students the chance to build industry-specific knowledge. Applicants may qualify for a waiver for standardized test scores. Test-optional policies make it easier to apply. The school supports learners with academic help and career services. Information on the school's cost per credit is unavailable. Learners at this accredited school also qualify for federal student aid programs, including the Pell Grant. South Carolina State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #29

    University of South Carolina-Lancaster

    Lancaster, SC

    Graduation Rate

    20%

    Enrollment

    1,640

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $7558

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $18238

    University of South Carolina-Lancaster, located in Lancaster, South Carolina, operates as a public institution. The institution's faculty brings expertise in multiple fields. Students who complete an academic or technical program often enter the workforce right away. The cost per credit is unknown. Students at the accredited institution qualify for federal student aid programs, including the Pell Grant. The institution reports a graduation rate of 20%. The institution's admission rate is currently unknown. Prospective students can contact the admissions office for more information about applying. University of South Carolina-Lancaster has received accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #30

    University of South Carolina-Union

    Union, SC

    Graduation Rate

    26%

    Enrollment

    1,153

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $7558

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $18238

    From its campus in Union, South Carolina, University of South Carolina-Union grants college degrees as a public institution. The college offers academic and technical programs to help learners reach their educational goals. Students prepare for a successful career by completing the program's coursework. Applicants may qualify for a standardized test score waiver. Test-optional policies make it easier to enroll. Learners benefit from support services like tutoring and career counseling. Information on the school's cost per credit is unavailable. The accredited school qualifies for federal student aid programs, including the Pell Grant. The school holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    Why Choose a Public College or University in South Carolina?

    To choose the right college, prospective students need to consider every option available to them, including private vs. public colleges and on-campus and online colleges in South Carolina. There are 71 colleges and universities in South Carolina, including 34 public institutions.

    Public colleges in South Carolina provide many benefits to students, including lower average tuition rates than private colleges, greater program selection, and more facilities and extracurricular activities. The Academic Common Market allows South Carolina residents to study in other states for in-state tuition rates.

    On the flip side, public schools tend to have larger class sizes, possibly leading to less personalized support and one-on-one time with the instructors. However, larger schools tend to boast better research facilities and faculties.

    Pros and Cons of Attending a Public College or University in South Carolina

    Pros

    • Lower average tuition and room and board rates
    • More programs and courses available to choose from
    • More campus diversity and a wider variety of entertainment options
    • More facilities, extracurricular offerings, and student organizations
    • More accessible admission requirements
    • Reciprocity agreements with other states

    Cons

    • Larger class sizes and less personalized support from teachers and administrators
    • Schools may not have the prestige of private schools
    • Classes may be less specialized and more generic
    • Scholarships may not be available to students without financial need
    • Large campuses can feel less community oriented

    Nonprofit vs. For-Profit Colleges and Universities in South Carolina

    Public schools receive government funding, while private schools rely on student tuition to fund their programs. The primary difference between nonprofit vs. for-profit colleges is how they manage the incoming tuition money. Nonprofit colleges have to reinvest that money into the school, whereas for-profit colleges can use that money to pay out investors and other stakeholders.

    According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), South Carolina has 36 for-profit colleges. Among the pros and cons of for-profit colleges, prospective students typically benefit from career-focused training. The main drawbacks of for-profit colleges include lower six-year graduation rates and higher rates of graduate loan debt than in nonprofit schools.

    How Much Does It Cost to Attend a Public College or University in South Carolina?

    Prospective students should pay attention to the differences between in-state vs. out-of-state tuition. The average tuition rate at public colleges and universities in South Carolina was $12,500 in 2019-20 for in-state students, according to the NCES. Room and board rates were $6,400 and $3,900, respectively.

    The average cost for out-of-state tuition and fees in South Carolina came in at $32,850 for public school students. Meanwhile, the average private school tuition rates and fees were $36,240 in 2019-20. Each of these South Carolina rates exceeded the national average out-of-state tuition rate of $27,020.

    One of the misconceptions about paying for college is that public colleges always cost less than private schools. While the least expensive public institutions in South Carolina, like Williamsburg Technical College and Florence-Darlington Technical College, offer tuition rates below $5,000 a year, Clemson University’s tuition rates exceed $15,000.

    Find the Tools You Need to Get Started on Your Degree

    Frequently Asked Questions About Public Colleges and Universities in South Carolina

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

    In total, there are 96 institutions of higher education in South Carolina, according to the NCES. There are 34 public institutions, which includes 14 public 4-year colleges and 20 public 2-year colleges.

    Of the 62 private colleges, 26 are nonprofit and 36 are for-profit. There are also 33 private 4-year colleges, eight 2-year schools, and 24 schools that run programs shorter than two years.

    What is the most expensive public college or university in South Carolina?

    The most expensive public institution in South Carolina is likely Clemson University. With a tuition rate above $15,000, this school costs more than most other public schools in the state. According to the NCES, however, tuition here is still considerably lower than the state’s average private school tuition of $26,270.

    In general, college is expensive in South Carolina. The average tuition rate of $12,497 exceeds the national average tuition of $9,349, as per the NCES. Prospective students should look into their financial aid options to help manage the costs.

    What is the least expensive public college or university in South Carolina?

    The least expensive public colleges and universities in South Carolina are Williamsburg Technical College and Florence-Darlington Technical College. The tuition rates at these schools come in below $5,000 per year. At Williamsburg Technical College, full-time students may even pay less than $3,000 per year.

    Thanks to the Academic Common Market, South Carolina students can find affordable out-of-state schools as well. This multistate agreement permits South Carolina learners to access in-state tuition rates at many colleges within participating states.

    What is the biggest public college or university in South Carolina?

    The biggest public institution in South Carolina is the University of South Carolina-Columbia, which enrolls more than 35,000 students. Clemson University is the second-largest school, enrolling more than 27,000 students.

    While big public schools may have larger class sizes, they also have their benefits. For example, they may offer more class and program options, facilities, extracurricular activities, and student organizations. These large schools also tend to have superior research facilities and faculties.

    Is a public college or university right for me?

    Public colleges and universities have many strengths and benefits that students find appealing, but every individual needs to decide on a school that aligns with their needs and goals. Public schools typically feature lower tuition rates and a greater selection of programs and courses.

    Public schools also tend to have more extensive facilities, more diverse campuses, and a larger variety of student services. Students may feel less connected in big public schools, however. They may want a more personal and intimate school experience that smaller private schools can offer.