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Online Colleges in South Carolina

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Whether you’re a resident of South Carolina or a non-resident interested in earning your degree from one of South Carolina’s online colleges, we’ve got everything you need to get started. We review state trends in higher education funding and tuition, as well as the state’s online education landscape, looking at enrollment figures and info on education consortiums and initiatives to advance distance learning in the state.

Following this section, we’ve ranked South Carolina’s online colleges and universities by affordability. Each school is fully accredited and offers at least one fully-online degree program. Compare program options, tuition rates and distance learning formats by expanding the overviews below. If you don’t find what you’re looking for, scroll to our program search tool, which allows you to browse our entire directory of online colleges.

At the bottom of the page you’ll find a full list of resources offered to college students in South Carolina. We’ve compiled the best scholarships, state boards, educational non-profits and college savings programs. Bear in mind that online students who attend an accredited college or university full-time within South Carolina qualify for the same programs and benefits as their campus-based peers.

Postsecondary Education in South Carolina

South Carolina’s 61.5% average graduation rate is the 13th highest in the nation.

As of 2009-10, South Carolina has a total of 94 Title IV institutions.

CollegeBoard reports that, for in-state students, 2014-15 tuition in South Carolina’s public four-year schools came to roughly $11,449, a 9% change over the last five years.

Private nonprofit four-year tuition and fees in South Carolina sit at $23,417 on average, a 10% change over the last five years.

Online Education in South Carolina

NCES Report

According to a recent NCES report, in fall 2012, 5.9% of students enrolled in Title IV institutions in South Carolina (15,598 students) were in exclusively online programs.

  • 83.1% of those students were undergraduates
  • 11.7% were in public 4-year institutions
  • 16.3% were in private not-for-profit 4-year institutions
  • 9% were in private for-profit 4-year institutions
  • 91.1% were living in South Carolina
  • 7.5% were living elsewhere in the United States

Most Affordable Online Colleges in South Carolina

Below you’ll find the very best online colleges in South Carolina, sorted by affordability. These rankings identify the fully online programs in a school’s catalogue, explain how the school’s online interface works and spotlight the recognition a school has received for its online initiatives.

Want to know what it takes to make our rankings? Check out our distinct approach.


We use data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Every ranked school offers a range of programs that can be completed fully online. Schools with narrow program offerings were not included. Tuition rates reflect the annual cost of enrolling full-time in state. Rates are pulled directly from the schools' websites or from IPEDS. Unless otherwise stated, these figures do not include program-specific fees. If schools do not share a general tuition rate, we provide the institution's quoted rate for a bachelor's degree in liberal arts or estimate a full-time annual course load of 24 credits. When tuition rates were equal, schools that reported higher rates of aid ranked higher.

Limestone College

Limestone College

An Online Education at Limestone College

Limestone College is dedicated to serving adult and non-traditional learners. Born of an understanding that the need to work full-time often prohibits traditional higher education, the Extended Campus offers a number of online options to busy students. Limestone’s programs never require on-campus attendance and deliver the same quality education received by campus-bound students.

Online Undergraduate Degrees

  • Accounting, B.S.
  • Management, B.S.
  • Information Technology, B.S.
  • Health Care Administration, B.S.
  • Social Work, B.S.W.
  • Criminal Justice, B.A.
  • Psychology, B.A.

Similar programs are also offered in hybrid options at one of 8 satellite sites in the state; upper-level courses in these hybrid programs are most likely to be conducted online.

Limestone uses the BlackBoard educational management platform to administer online classes. Coursework is asynchronous, allowing for flexibility in choosing study times. Course curricula are accelerated to allow for fast degree completion: class sessions are 8 weeks in length and available throughout the year. Participants who take 2 classes each term are considered full-time students.

The College is generous in its acceptance of transfer credits from other schools; up to 92 hours from regionally accredited institutions can be transferred toward a bachelor’s degree. Limestone is a military-friendly school and offers discounted tuition to qualified applicants. Additionally, a limited number of merit and need-based scholarships are awarded to Extended Campus students.

Contact Information

1115 College Drive
Gaffney, SC 29340-3799
(800) 795-71510

Acclaim for online programs

  • #125 on U.S. News & World Report’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs

Anderson University

Anderson University

An Online Education at Anderson University

Anderson University is a private Christian school noted for its campus-based educational programs and innovative approach to learning. Adult and other non-traditional students can take advantage of flexible distance learning options to pursue a degree without taking time off from work.

Over 500 courses are offered either online or in a hybrid format combining class attendance with online study. Apart from standalone classes, students may choose from 14 bachelor’s degree programs.

Online Undergraduate Degrees

  • Criminal Justice, B.S.
  • Human Services, B.A.
  • Organizational Leadership, B.O.S.
  • Business Administration, B.S.
  • Christian Studies, B.C.S.
  • Emergency Management Services, B.A.
  • Nursing, RN-to-BSN

Depending on the program, some bachelor’s degree options build on classes already completed in the course of associate degree study.

Online Graduate Degrees

  • Music Education, M.Mus.
  • Ministry, M.Min., D.Min.
  • Education, M.Ed.
  • Criminal Justice, M.S.
  • Business Administration, M.B.A.

The majority of online courses are deployed via Moodle, with the application called Turnitin used for assignment submission. Classes are taught in 8-week sessions. Students in these programs have comprehensive support in the form of textbook delivery, advising, career services and full online access to the Thrift Library. Technical assistance is a phone call away at 864-231-2859.

Contact Information

316 Boulevard
Anderson, SC 29621-4035
(864) 231-2000

University of South Carolina – Upstate

University of South Carolina – Upstate

An Online Education at University of South Carolina – Upstate

USC Upstate offers a comprehensive list of educational options for working adults and other alternative learners. Students admitted into its campus-based degree programs may opt to take courses online at any time. In many cases, upper-level courses in bachelor’s and master’s degree programs can be completed through distance education. USC Upstate offers solely online courses, hybrid courses that blend online class with brick-and-mortar attendance, and courses that utilize live streaming video and web-conferencing technology.

The virtual classroom is administered via the BlackBoard learning management system. Depending on the instructor, course materials are delivered asynchronously or synchronously. Student support is made available to distance learners in the form of dedicated staff in the online USC Upstate Library, Skype-facilitated writing assistance, and technical help with all components of distance education classes.

Online Undergraduate Degrees

  • Information Management Systems, B.A.
  • Health Information Management, B.A.
  • Nursing, RN-to-BSN
  • Engineering Technology, B.S.
  • Criminal Justice, B.S.

Working professionals in education can earn the Master of Education (M.Ed.) degree online as well; concentrations in Early Childhood, Elementary and Special Education are offered. 2015 saw the launch of an online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program with a concentration in clinical nurse leadership.

Contact Information

800 University Way
Spartanburg, SC 29303-4999
(864) 503-5000

Coastal Carolina University

Coastal Carolina University

An Online Education at Coastal Carolina University

Alongside standalone classes across all academic fields, Coastal Online offers undergraduate and graduate level degree programs that can be completed exclusively online. Distance education students are supported by dedicated advising staff, online access to the Kimbel Library and textbook delivery. Technical assistance for online learners is provided by 24/7 live chat, online tutorials and software downloads.

Online Undergraduate Degrees

  • B.S. Marketing
  • B.S. Health Administration
  • B.S. Hospitality, Resort & Tourism Management

Professionals looking to enhance their workplace knowledge can do so with virtual certificate programs in online teaching, ESOL, and business foundations.

Online Graduate Degrees

  • M.Ed. Instructional Technology
  • M.Ed. Literacy

Moodle is used to deliver online course materials. Instructors populate the virtual classroom with digital text, videos, presentations, streaming content and interactive multimedia. Students complete assignments and collaborate with peers using email, discussion forums and real-time web conferencing. Most online study is asynchronous, but students can expect a few time-sensitive login requirements.

Contact Information

103 Tom Trout Drive
Conway, SC 29526
(843) 347-3161

Lander University

Lander University

An Online Education at Lander University

Lander University, formerly a women’s college serving the Greenwood area, is now a co-ed institution. It offers distance education options in many of its standalone classes, plus two undergraduate degree completion programs and one professional certificate program. These options are particularly useful for working adults with full-time employment seeking to further their careers through higher education.

Online Undergraduate Degrees

  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice Management
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.)

Professionals in healthcare can take online courses to earn the Health Care Management certificate. Lander delivers its online courses with the BlackBoard educational management platform. Students in need of technical assistance can submit a help ticket or call (864) 388-8234 during business hours.

Contact Information

320 Stanley Avenue
Greenwood, SC 29649-2099
(864) 388-8000

Southern Wesleyan University

Southern Wesleyan University

An Online Education at Southern Wesleyan University

Students at Southern Wesleyan have numerous options for online study at the associate, bachelor’s and master’s degree level. These flexible education options are designed with working adults in mind, allowing for freedom in scheduling while maintaining full-time employment.

Online Undergraduate Degrees

  • Business Administration B.S.

Online Graduate Degrees

  • Business Administration, M.B.A.
  • Business Administration: Health Care Administration, M.B.A.
  • Education, M.Ed.

Licensed educators may also earn teaching endorsements in literacy, learning disabilities, gifted and talented, and early childhood special education.

Distance education at Southern Wesleyan is deployed via the Canvas learning management system. Classes are asynchronous, meaning that students access coursework when it’s most convenient. Student Services Coordinators throughout the state deliver advising and other support to online learners. SWU is a military-friendly school and offers tuition discounts to qualified applicants.

Contact Information

907 Wesleyan Drive
Central, SC 29630-1020
(864) 644-5000

Charleston Southern University

Charleston Southern University

An Online Education at Charleston Southern University

Online offerings at this private Christian school reflect an awareness of working adults’ challenges in pursuing higher education without taking time off from work. CSU offers a range of bachelor’s and master’s degree programs that can be earned exclusively online.

Online Undergraduate Degrees

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.)
  • Bachelor of Technology in Computer Systems
  • Bachelor of Science in Organizational Management

For those students who aspire to further education but not an entire degree, professional certificate programs are offered in supply chain management, operations management, human resources management, organizational leadership and entrepreneurship.

Online Graduate Degrees

  • Organizational Leadership, M.A.
  • Organizational Management, M.S.
  • Business Administration, M.B.A.
  • Nursing, M.S.N.
  • Criminal Justice, M.S.

Online courses are delivered via the BlackBoard learning platform. Instructors populate this virtual classroom with videos, podcasts, multimedia presentations and streaming content. Students use this classroom to complete assignments and collaborate with peers. For further study, the L. Mendel Rivers Library offers digital content, including scholarly publications and databases.

Contact Information

9200 University Blvd
Charleston, SC 29406-9121
(843) 863-7000

Acclaim for online programs

  • #34 in U.S. News & World Report’s Best Online Bachelor’s Program

Scholarships and Financial Aid in South Carolina

Avery Scholarship

Deadline: na
Scholarship Amount Amount varies See Scholarship

The Avery Scholarship is designed to help first-generation, underserved, and economically disadvantaged students entering the College of Charleston. Selection is competitive, based on academic performance and financial need. A GPA of 2.75+ is required. Preference is given to South Carolina residents.

Carolina Scholars Award

Deadline: na
Scholarship Amount $10,000 See Scholarship

Provided by the University of South Carolina, the Carolina Scholars Award is one of the university’s most prestigious awards for South Carolina residents. Selection is based on outstanding academics, and leadership within high school and community. A personal interview is required. The award is $10,000 per year for 4 years.

Lieber Scholars Award

Deadline: na
Scholarship Amount $6,000 See Scholarship

The Leiber Scholarship is provided to National Merit and Achievement Finalists, and National Hispanic Recognition Scholars who select University of South Carolina as their first-choice school. The maximum award is $6,000 per year for 4 years. Out-of-state students who receive this award qualify for reduced tuition; they will be charged only in-state tuition.

McNair Scholars Award

Deadline: na
Scholarship Amount $15,000 See Scholarship

Provided by the University of South Carolina, the McNair Scholars program is available to out-of-state students attending USC. Selection is highly competitive, and recipients are chosen based on academic merit and leadership. The scholarship includes a $15,000 monetary award plus tuition reduction for 4 years.

Palmetto Fellows Scholarship

Deadline: December 15, 2015
Scholarship Amount $29,200 See Scholarship

The Palmetto Scholars program is provided by the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education for academically talented South Carolina high school seniors who will attend college within the state. To be eligible, applicants must have a 1200+ SAT or 27+ ACT score, a GPA of 3.5+, and rank within the top 6% of their graduating class.

SC LIFE Scholarship

Deadline: na
Scholarship Amount $4,700 See Scholarship

The South Carolina Life Scholarship is open to students attending Limestone College. To be eligible, applicants must be South Carolina residents, rank within the top 30% of their class, and have a 3.0+ GPA/ 1100+ SAT. The award amount is $4,700 plus an allowance of $300 for textbooks.

South Carolina Press Association Foundation Internship

Deadline: na
Scholarship Amount $3,000 See Scholarship

The South Carolina Press Association provides the Press Association Foundation scholarship to South Carolina undergraduate students majoring in journalism. Applicants may be college juniors or seniors. The maximum award is $3,000 per year for 4 years, and may be used at a four-year college in South Carolina or out-of-state.

Transfer Scholarship

Deadline: na
Scholarship Amount $9,000 See Scholarship

The Transfer Scholarship is available to transfer students entering Coker College. Recipients are selected based on academic achievement (including cumulative GPA), leadership, and financial need. The maximum award is $9,000 per year for 4 years.

Trustee Scholarship

Deadline: na
Scholarship Amount $1,000 See Scholarship

Freshmen entering Clemson University are eligible for the Trustee Scholarship if they rank in the top 10% of their graduating high school class and have an ACT score of 27+ or a SAT score of 1200+. The award is $1,000 per year for 4 years.

Valedictorian Scholarship

Deadline: na
Scholarship Amount Full tuition See Scholarship

The Valedictorian Scholarship is offered annually to freshmen entering University of South Carolina – Aiken. It is open to the valedictorian of each Aiken, Barnwell, Edgefield, Allendale, Richmond (GA), and Columbia County (GA) high school. The award covers full tuition for 4 years; recipients must maintain a 3.0+ GPA and full-time enrollment at USC – Aiken.

Higher Education Resources in South Carolina