South Carolina Online Colleges & Universities – Top Schools for ’15

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Quick Facts:
  • 41 Colleges

    in South Carolina offer
    full online programs

  • 707 online programs

    were available
    in 2014

  • 132 online graduate degrees

    were offered by South Carolina
    schools in 2014

Best Online Colleges in South Carolina for 2015

South Carolina is a state with a thriving college and university community, and students will find that the state’s colleges – public and private alike – offer a wide range of distance learning options on every degree level. Locating a top program in terms of quality academics and services can be a challenge, however. The following list of South Carolina schools is designed to help, by ranking those whose excellence sets them apart from their peers. Here are 2015’s Best Online Colleges in South Carolina.

RANK COLLEGE Tuition And Fees Enrollment Accredited MORE INFO
1 South Carolina State University$9,2584,308YES
If you are looking for online colleges in South Carolina that specialize in theology, the Theological Seminary of Saint Charles Borromeo is a perfect choice. Allowing students to work comfortably from anywhere with an internet connection, an accredited degree in theology is easy to obtain through SCS
2 Lander University$9,7923,380YES
Lander University offers both classroom and online degree programs for current and prospective students at an affordable price. Lander University has been providing both educational and cultural opportunities since being founded in 1872. Lander is now a public, co-ed, state-assisted, four-year university with liberal arts and science programs, and professional programs in business, education and nursing.
3 University of South Carolina-Columbia$10,48824,691YES
The University of South Carolina at Columbia offers a collection of online degree programs at the bachelor's level, including programs in business, criminal justice, education, human services, organizational leadership, and RN-to-BSN. All distance learning programs are available to students with at least 60 credit hours and who possess the minimum required grade point average. The college's breadth of programs make it one of the top online colleges in South Carolina.
4 Clemson University$12,67417,155YES
Clemson University's commitment to distance learning takes place at the graduate level. As one of the most notable traditional and online colleges in South Carolina, the university offers students online master's degrees in agriculture, the arts, engineering, and more. Clemson's BIOSC Online program, for example, is a master's program helps prepare graduates for K-12 science instruction.
5 North Greenville University$13,9362,375YES
When it comes to finding online colleges in South Carolina that offer students graduate degrees, North Greenville University is a great option to look at. With both MBA and MCM programs, students can further their careers in business or ministry, working over the internet with excellent teachers to move forward in their careers.
6 Columbia International University$18,745633YES
Columbia International University has a variety of degree programs that are all online-only, allowing students from all over the world to get an accredited college education from one of the great online colleges in South Carolina. With award winning online courses and a faculty full of great teachers, CIU is a fantastic option to consider when looking at schools.
7 Limestone College$21,0003,801YES
Limestone College offers many different degree programs to students enrolling in their extended campus, with five options at the associate level and nineteen at the bachelor’s level. This is one of the bigger offerings out of all the online colleges in South Carolina, so Limestone is a great school to look into.
8 Charleston Southern University$21,4403,897YES
Out of the many online colleges in South Carolina, Charleston Southern University does not have the biggest list of degree programs available, but it does have a varied one. Students are able to choose from anything from nursing to organizational management or graphic design. All of these degrees are accredited and can help students seeking employment in the professional world.
9 Southern Wesleyan University$21,4501,778YES
If a student is looking for an online degree from a school that is focused on Christ as well as academics, one of the best online colleges in South Carolina that meets that criterion is Southern Wesleyan University. With a strong focus on their online school, SWU has produced a number of alumni who have worked primarily online.
10 Anderson University$21,7302,662YES
Anderson University offers current and prospective students the option to learn in classroom as well as via their online degree programs at an affordable price. Located in Anderson, South Carolina, Anderson University is a highly selective, well rounded university offering bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees on campus and online. Students have the option of choosing from over 35 majors across over 60 concentrations and minors, and is ranked as one of the best regional colleges in the South by both Princeton Review and U. S. News and World Report.
11 Newberry College$23,5751,162YES
Newberry College is a private institution that features small class sizes to focus on one-on-one interactions with students. The school is accredited and offers a decent number of degree programs through their online school, making Newberry an excellent option when looking at online colleges in South Carolina.
12 Coker College$23,6401,248YES
With affordable tuition and a good variety of courses offered, Coker College should not be ignored when looking at online colleges in South Carolina. Coker has been rated “one of America’s best colleges,” and their online program is no different. Every course is fully-accredited and can help students achieve an undergraduate degree.
13 Converse College$28,276745YES
The South Carolina school at Converse College offers four online degree programs which can all be completed without setting a foot on campus. There are many busy students out there who don’t have time to drive to and from school every day, so it’s great for them to take advantage of one of the fully online colleges in South Carolina.

Search Accredited South Carolina Online Colleges

Online college programs provide a great deal of convenience and flexibility for their students. Yet, each college delivers its coursework in slightly different ways, and on different schedules. The key is for each individual student to determine which program best suits his or her particular requirements and preferences. Once that is accomplished, finding the right program becomes a process of narrowing down the choices based on each student’s priority list. The search tool below is designed to allow its users to do just that.

Degree Level:
Tuition:
Student Population:
School Type:
41 results TUITION ACCEPTANCE RATE STUDENT POPULATION SCHOOL TYPE
University of South Carolina-Columbia Columbia, South Carolina Four or more years TUITION
ACCEPTANCE RATE 61% STUDENT POPULATION 31,964 SCHOOL
TYPE
Public
BACHELOR'S DEGREES
  • Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Leadership
  • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies
  • Bachelor of Science in Human Services
MASTERS DEGREES
  • Master of Education in Educational Administration
  • Master of Education in Teaching
  • Master of Public Health in Health Promotion, Education And Behavior
  • Master of Health Information Technology
DOCTORATE DEGREES
  • Doctor of Education in Curriculum & Instruction
Trident Technical College Charleston, South Carolina 2+ years TUITION
ACCEPTANCE RATE NR STUDENT POPULATION 17,489 SCHOOL
TYPE
Public
ASSOCIATE DEGREES
  • Associate in Arts of Art/Art History
  • Associate in Arts of Music
  • Associate in Arts of Accounting
  • Associate in Arts of Business Administration
  • Associate in Arts of Management
  • Associate of Applied Science in Accounting
  • Associate of Applied Science in General Business - Customer Service
  • Associate of Applied Science in General Business - E-Commerce
  • Associate of Applied Science in General Business - International Business
  • Associate of Applied Science in General Business - Marketing
  • Associate of Applied Science in General Business - Small Business/Entrepreneurship
  • Associate of Applied Science in Management - Business Information Systems
  • Associate of Applied Science in Management - Corporate Quality
  • Associate of Applied Science in Management - Human Resources
  • Associate of Applied Science in Management - Leadership Development
  • Associate of Applied Science in Management - Supply Chain Management
  • Associate of Applied Science in Management - Transportation And Logistics
  • Associate in Arts of Pre-Law
  • Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice
  • Associate in Arts of Education
  • Associate of Applied Science in Computer Technology
  • Associate of Applied Science in Computer Technology - Computer Programming
  • Associate of Applied Science in Computer Technology - Information Systems Specialist
  • Associate in Arts of English
  • Associate in Arts of Foreign Language
  • Associate in Arts of Communication
  • Associate in Arts of History
  • Associate in Arts of Political Science
  • Associate in Arts of Psychology
  • Associate in Arts of Sociology
  • Associate of Applied Science in Administrative Office Technology
Greenville Technical College Greenville, South Carolina 2+ years TUITION
ACCEPTANCE RATE NR STUDENT POPULATION 13,448 SCHOOL
TYPE
Public
ASSOCIATE DEGREES
  • Associate of Arts And Sciences - University Transfer
Coastal Carolina University Conway, South Carolina Four or more years TUITION
ACCEPTANCE RATE 74% STUDENT POPULATION 9,478 SCHOOL
TYPE
Public
BACHELOR'S DEGREES
  • B.S.B.A. - Hospitality, Resort & Tourism Management
  • B.S.B.A. - Marketing
MASTERS DEGREES
  • Master of Education - Learning & Teaching Literacy
  • Master of Education - Learning And Teaching Instructional Technology
Tri-County Technical College Pendleton, South Carolina 2+ years TUITION
ACCEPTANCE RATE NR STUDENT POPULATION 6,553 SCHOOL
TYPE
Public
ASSOCIATE DEGREES
  • Associate Degree in Management
  • Associate Degree in Criminal Justice Technology
Florence-Darlington Technical College Florence, South Carolina 2+ years TUITION
ACCEPTANCE RATE NR STUDENT POPULATION 5,991 SCHOOL
TYPE
Public
ASSOCIATE DEGREES
  • Associate in Leadership And Management
  • Associate in Management
  • Associate in Marketing
  • Associate in Criminal Justice Technology
  • Associate in Arts
  • Associate in Robotics Production
Spartanburg Community College Spartanburg, South Carolina 2+ years TUITION
ACCEPTANCE RATE NR STUDENT POPULATION 5,864 SCHOOL
TYPE
Public
ASSOCIATE DEGREES
  • Associate of Applied Science in Management
  • Associate of Applied Science in Management With Fire Service Electives
  • Associate of Applied Science in Management With Marketing Electives
  • Associate in Arts Degree (University Transfer)
  • Associate in Science Degree (University Transfer)
University of South Carolina-Upstate Spartanburg, South Carolina Four or more years TUITION
ACCEPTANCE RATE 64% STUDENT POPULATION 5,445 SCHOOL
TYPE
Public
BACHELOR'S DEGREES
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Science in Engineering Technology Management
  • Bachelor of Arts in Information Management & Systems/Health Information Management (Ims/Him)
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing- (Rn To Bsn)
  • Bachelor of Arts in Information Management And Systems
MASTERS DEGREES
  • Master of Education in Early Childhood And Elementary Education
  • Masters of Education in Special Education: Visual Impairment
  • Master of Science in Nursing - Clinical Nurse Leader
York Technical College Rock Hill, South Carolina 2+ years TUITION
ACCEPTANCE RATE NR STUDENT POPULATION 5,030 SCHOOL
TYPE
Public
ASSOCIATE DEGREES
  • Associate of Arts in Fine Arts, Visual And Performing Arts
  • Associate of Applied Science in Accounting And Related Services
  • Associate of Applied Science in Business Management
  • Associate of Applied Science in Business Management - Administrative Support Technology
  • Associate of Applied Science in Business Management - International Studies/ Business Management & Operations
  • Associate of Applied Science in Business Management - Public Management Specialization
  • Associate of Applied Science in Marketing - Ecommerce Specialization
  • Associate of Applied Science in Marketing - International Marketing Specialization
  • Associate of Arts in Business Administration
  • Associate of Applied Science in Administration of Justice, Criminal Justice/Law Enforcement Administration
  • Associate of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Associate of Applied Science in Information Systems Technology
  • Associate of Arts in Liberal Studies
  • Associate of Applied Science in Fire Science Technology
  • Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts - Speech Communication Specialization
  • Associate in Arts
  • Associate in Science in General Studies
  • Associate of Applied Science
  • Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts
  • Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts - International Studies Specialization
BACHELOR'S DEGREES
  • Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Leadership - Foodservice Strategies And Operations
  • Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Leadership - Public Safety Administration
  • Bachelor of Business Administration
  • Bachelor of Business Administration - Accounting
  • Bachelor of Business Administration - Human Resources Management
  • Bachelor of Business Administration in Aviation
  • Bachelor of Business Management
  • Bachelor of Business Management in Aviation Management
  • Bachelor of Business Management in Nonprofit Management
  • Bachelor of Science Business Management
  • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration
  • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration - Accounting
  • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration - Computer Science Programming
  • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration - Computer Science Software Applications
  • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration - Finance
  • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration - General Business
  • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration - Management
  • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration/ Accounting
  • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration/ Computer Science Programming
  • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration/ Computer Science Software Applications
  • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration/ General Business
  • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration/ Management
  • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration/ Marketing
  • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration/Finance
  • Bachelor of Science in Finance
  • Bachelor of Science in Health Care Administration
  • Bachelor of Science in Health Care Management
  • Bachelor of Science in Human Resource Management
  • Bachelor of Science in Human Resources Management
  • Bachelor of Science in Human Resources Training And Development
  • Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership And Learning
  • Bachelor of Science in Public Safety Leadership
  • Bachelors of Science in Organizational Leadership
  • Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Bachelors of Science Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Science - Early Childhood Education
  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems
  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Technology
  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science - Computer And Information System Security
  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science - Information Technology
  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science - Internet Management
  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science / Internet Management
  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science Programming
  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science/ Computer And Information System Security
  • Bachelor of Science in Computer Science/ Information Technology
  • Bachelor of Science in Health Information Systems
  • Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing - Nursing
  • Registered Nurse (Rn) To Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • Registered Nurse To Bsn Program For Registered Nurses
  • Bachelor of Science in Liberal Studies
  • Bachelor of Arts in English
  • Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies
  • Bachelor of Biblical Studies And Ministry
  • Bachelor of Christian Ministry
  • Bachelor of Science in Biblical Studies And Ministry
  • Bachelor of Arts in Communication
  • Bachelor of Arts in History
  • Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
  • Bachelor of Arts in Sociology
  • Bachelor of Human Services
  • Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Bachelor of Science in Psychology
  • Bachelor of Science Psychology
  • Bachelor of Applied Arts And Science
  • Bachelor of Applied Science
  • Bachelor of Arts in University Studies
  • Bachelor of General Studies
  • Bachelor of Integrated Studies
  • Bachelor of Science in Addiction Studies
  • Bachelor of Science in Aviation Studies
  • Bachelor of Science in General Family And Consumer Sciences
  • Bachelor of Science in Systems Management
  • Bachelor of Science in Technology Management (Completion Degree)
  • Bachelor of Science in University Studies
MASTERS DEGREES
  • Master of Business Administration
  • Master of Business Administration
  • Master of Construction Science Management
  • Master of Human Resource Development
  • Master of Science (Nonthesis) Parks, Recreation, And Tourism Management
  • Master of Science in Health Care Administration
  • Master of Strategic Leadership
  • Master of Education Curriculum And Instruction
  • Master of Education- Educational Administration
  • Master of Education in Educational Technology
  • Master of Electrical And Computer Engineering (Ece)
  • Master Science of Industrial Engineering (M. Engr)
  • Master of Science in Nursing Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
  • Master of Science in Nursing Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing
  • Master of Science in Biological Sciences & Microbiology (Ms Non-Thesis Online)
  • Master of Arts in Psychology
  • Master of Public Administration
  • Master of Rehabilitation Counseling
  • Master of Applied Statistics/Mas
  • Master of Science in Youth Development
DOCTORATE DEGREES
  • Doctor in Nursing (Phd)
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (Dnp)
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Online Colleges in South Carolina: Spotlight

Online Departments in South Carolina

Southern Wesleyan University

How would you describe your institution's approach to online learning?

At Southern Wesleyan, we understand the needs and commitments of working adults. We have been providing working adults with Christ-centered educational opportunities for more than 25 years. At SWU we offer fully online options for select degree programs. Online students will earn the same degree as they would in the on-site classroom. Courses are taught in a flexible virtual classroom experience, designed to be both engaging and challenging. Students have access to an incredible array of learning resources and can complete their online degrees on their own schedule. As a Christ-centered university, our programs offer a faith-based education that combines theory with practical, real-world applications.

What makes your online programs so valuable to students?

  • Transfer friendly policies
  • Devoted professors and student services coordinators
  • Flexibility via no set login times
  • Student friendly interface provides 24/7 access to course work
  • Established brick-and mortar campus for over 100 years
  • Non-profit institution that is regionally accredited

Where do you see your online programs in the next five years? Beyond?

Dedicating tremendous time and resources to increase program offerings (content specific concentrations) and improve systems and processes.

A Guide to Online Colleges in South Carolina

In the early stages of the online education business, postsecondary programs were mainly offered by private online for-profit providers. Much has changed in the last several years, however, with a growing number of traditional colleges and universities establishing a strong online presence in South Carolina and elsewhere.

The major contributor among South Carolina public online colleges and universities is the University of South Carolina System, which consists of four 4-year campuses (USC Aiken, USC Beaufort, USC Columbia and USC Upstate) and four 2-year, associate degree-granting campuses (USC Lancaster, USC Salkehatchie, USC Sumter and USC Union). The four 2-year campuses, along with the system’s online bachelor’s degree completion program, are collectively known as Palmetto College. Other South Carolina public online schools of note include Clemson University in Clemson, the College of Charleston in Charleston and Coastal Carolina University in Conway.

There are currently 15 private not-for-profit colleges in South Carolina offering distance education programs. Of particular note are Charleston Southern University in Charleston, Converse College in Spartanburg and Limestone College in Gaffney.

A good way to get a feel for the state of higher education in South Carolina is to take a closer look at what is happening on the college and university campuses of its biggest cities. South Carolina’s two biggest cities are Columbia and Charleston. The following two sections examine the current college climate in the greater Charleston metropolitan area.

Charleston Colleges and Universities

Located centrally on the eastern seaboard of South Carolina, Charleston is home to a number of renowned public and private colleges and universities. Ranked fourth on U.S. News & World Report’s list of Top Public Schools in the South, the College of Charleston’s incoming freshman class averages a 3.9 grade point average in high school. Students at the College of Charleston are encouraged to study abroad and take advantage of independent research to round out their education.

Also located in Charleston, The Citadel is consistently recognized as the top public college in the South for master’s degrees. With only 20 students or less per class in 40 percent of the classes, and an average student retention rate of 82 percent, The Citadel places on many “top” lists from U.S. News.

Medical University of South Carolina has a mission to “preserve and optimize human life,” evident in its growth into one of the country’s top academic health science centers. Its academic hospital was the only hospital in the state to earn an “A” by Leapfrog, an organization that scores hospitals’ health safety based on survey and safety ratings.

Online Courses and Degree Programs in Charleston

Distance learning opportunities allow students the flexibility to take courses from across the globe. The Citadel offers a combination of online courses and synchronous distance learning, where students attend classes in real time from a location outside the traditional classroom. Some graduate programs, such as a master’s in leadership, are available completely online, while other programs have evening and weekend options. At Trident Technical College, distance learning programs continue to grow, as online education gains popularity. From continuing education to associate degrees and accredited programs in accounting, business and technology, students have a variety of options when choosing online programs at TTC.

Tuition and Other Expenses for Online Colleges in South Carolina

Whether in South Carolina or any other state, pursuing a college or university degree is an expensive proposition, which requires a great deal of planning when considering how one will pay. The first cost that any student must consider is tuition. Tuitions vary greatly from school to school, particularly when it comes to private colleges. South Carolina ranked 26th among all states in terms of average college tuition rates in 2012, with resident students averaging $11,762 per year for in-state tuition costs.

Another major expense for college students is also known as room and board. Again, these costs vary substantially by school and location. Recent cost of living (COL) numbers place South Carolina at approximately 1 percent below national averages. COL figures for specific South Carolina cities, compared to the national average (100), are indicated below.

Urban Area Composite Index Housing Groceries Utilities Transportation Health Care Misc.
Greenville -9.7% -27.1% 2.7% -9.9% -2.9% -1.8% -2.3%
Anderson -8.2% -23.0% 3.4% 1.6% -7.7% -0.3% -4.1%
Myrtle Beach -4.8% -21.6% 5.7% 4.5% -5.3% 0.4% 2.4%
Sumter -3.7% -9.8% 3.4% 8.4% -2.2% -8.7% -4.7%
Camden -2.6% -12.2% 3.4% 7.5% -14.0% -6.9% 4.3%
Charleston-N Charleston -1.7% -7.4% 5.7% -3.4% -6.1% 4.4% 1.5%
Columbia 0.4% -17.7% 5.2% 9.0% 2.0% 6.2% 10.6%
Beaufort 5.2% 3.5% 6.9% 14.3% -0.4% -4.3% 6.0%
Hilton Head Island 14.1% 19.8% 11.4% 0.4% 1.6% 10.7% 18.5%

In addition to tuition, room and board, students should also vet the value of a college’s degree. Specifically, once a student graduates, will that degree lead to solid career and salary potential? This return on investment (ROI) analysis, while overlooked and underrated, could be one of the most important metrics to consider when choosing a college. The following South Carolina colleges had the state’s best ROIs in 2013:

  1. Clemson University
  2. Presbyterian College
  3. Furman University
  4. University of South Carolina – Main Campus
  5. College of Charleston

Accreditation of South Carolina Online Colleges

Accreditation is a crucial factor when it comes to choosing a college or university degree program. Proper accreditation of an institution is also an absolute prerequisite for students who plan on paying for their education with the help of federal loans or grants. U.S. Department of Education recognized regional institutional accreditation for South Carolina colleges is administered by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Individual programs, colleges, or departments within a larger institution in South Carolina may also hold specialized or programmatic accreditation. For example, the University of South Carolina Bachelor of Science in Nursing program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

Great Resources for Online Students in South Carolina

College students in South Carolina – and elsewhere – have access to a wide variety of online tools and resources to support their studies. Some services require payment of a fee, but a surprising number of fully functioning tools and applications are available to the general public free of charge. The types of resources offered include tools for time and money management, help in resume writing and job placement, subject-focused learning databases, tutorial services, math and science calculators, and access to language and writing coaches. Below is just a small sampling of the types of tools and resources that can be found online, along with links to a number of helpful websites specifically for South Carolina students.

Major South Carolina Educational Resources: