Online Degree Programs in South Carolina


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Methodology  To be included in our ranking of the best colleges for online degree programs, all colleges had to meet the following five criteria:
  1. Be an accredited U.S. institution
  2. Offer either 2- or 4-year degree programs
  3. Have at least 1 percent of students taking at least some of their classes via distance education
  4. Be active in the 2015-16 school year
  5. Report data for all 15 specific ranking variables included in our methodology

We then ranked the remaining 2,169 colleges and universities and scored each on a 100-point scale on these specific. Our data points include:

  • The in-state tuition and fees for full-time undergraduates, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • Percent of undergraduate students awarded federal, state, local, institutional or other sources of grant aid, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • The average amount of federal, state, local, institutional or other sources of grant aid awarded to undergraduate students, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • Full-time Retention rate, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • Percent of students participating fully or partially in distance education to total enrollment, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • Graduation rate within six years, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • No. of degree programs offered via distance education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • Percent of students working and not enrolled 6 years after entry, College Scorecard, 2013-14
  • Open admissions policy for all or most entering first-time undergraduate-level students, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  • Flexibility and student services, based on whether the school offers the following services, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
    • Dual credit
    • Credit for life experience
    • Advanced Placement credit
    • Academic and career counseling
    • Job placement services for graduates
    • Offers credit for military training

Sources:

  • Cumulative Estimates of the Resident Population Change for the United States, Regions, States, and Puerto Rico: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2016 (NST-EST2016-02)
  • Employment Outcomes for South Carolina Postsecondary Graduates, Erica M. Von Nessen, Ph.D. October 2017,  http://www.che.sc.gov/CHE_Docs/executivedirector/mailouts/post-secondary-workforce-evaluation-10-12-17.pdf
  • Guiding Principles for Distance Education in South Carolina, South Carolina Commission on Higher Education, http://www.che.sc.gov/InstitutionsEducators/AcademicPolicies,Programs/AcademicPolicies/DistanceEducation.aspx, accessed November 2017
  • How These 4 East Coast Cities Are Attracting Millennials, Inc.com, October 2017, https://www.inc.com/jeff-barrett/how-these-4-east-coast-cities-are-attracting-millennials.html
  • Most Recent Cohorts (All Data Elements): 2013-14, College Scorecard, U.S. Department of Education, accessed October, 2017, https://collegescorecard.ed.gov/data/
  • Most S.C. college graduates see earnings rise five years after graduating, South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce, November 2017, https://www.dew.sc.gov/news-details-page/2017/11/03/most-s.c.-college-graduates-see-earnings-rise-five-years-after-graduating
  • Public Higher Education Affordability in the South: Regional Profile 2017, Southern Region Education Board, https://www.sreb.org/sites/main/files/file-attachments/2017regional_profile.pdf, accessed November 2017
  • Scholarships & Grants for SC Residents, South Carolina Commission for Higher Education, http://www.che.sc.gov/Students,FamiliesMilitary/PayingForCollege/FinancialAssistanceAvailable/ScholarshipsGrantsforSCResidents/SCNeed-basedGrantProgram.aspx, accessed November 2017
  • Sources of Financial Aid, National Center for Education Statistics, Last Updated April 2017, https://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/indicator_cuc.asp
  • South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce, October 2017, https://dew.sc.gov/docs/default-source/default-document-library/post-secondary-workforce-evaluation-10-12-17.pdf
  • USA TODAY calls Charleston “Millennial Magnet” Charleston Regional Development Alliance, http://www.crda.org/news/usa-today-calls-charleston-millennial-magnet/, accessed November 2017
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online degrees in south carolina
South Carolina is a fast-growing state, attracting millennials and experienced professionals from all over the country looking for employment, better job prospects or a career change. Between 2010 and 2016 the state's population increased 7.3 percent — far above the national average. A comfortable climate, a thriving arts and restaurant culture, affordable housing and a job growth rate that is faster than the national average can make this state the perfect spot for meeting your goals for higher education, building a career and even growing a family. Imagine earning a reputed online MBA degree while working part-time and getting to visit South Carolina's many historical sites, museums, amusement parks, theaters, music venues or hitting its beautiful surf spots.

The government of South Carolina is working hard to build its industries and provide opportunities for employment throughout the state. Robust economic development has led to new businesses being established and the expansion of old ones.

By 2020, 62 percent of jobs in South Carolina will require a postsecondary education, according to projections by the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce, so it's a good thing that South Carolina is home to many top colleges and universities. According to South Carolina's Department of Employment and Workforce, there appears to be a significant need for graduates at the bachelor's level in the following fields:

  • Architecture
  • Computer and information science
  • Industrial
  • Civil engineering
  • Mechanical engineering

Higher-paying jobs may be found in fields such as:

  • Diversified manufacturing
  • Health care
  • Construction
  • Business and information technology services
  • Transportation
  • Logistics
  • Wholesale trade

The report also suggests a growing need for qualified STEM majors in the state. Although students of STEM show the fastest median annual wage growth one to five years post-graduation, students of trades and business and communication are not far behind.

A 2017 report, "Employment Outcomes for South Carolina Post-Secondary Graduates," shows that those who earned a graduate degree enjoyed the highest median earnings while those who earned less than an associate-level degree had the lowest earnings. Students who completed a bachelor's degree had higher median earnings in 9 out of 12 majors one year post-graduation than those completing an associate degree within the same majors. Five years after graduation, the number increased to 10 out of 12 majors.

Using data from the National Center for Education Statistics, we created a multi-point ranking methodology to determine which colleges do the best job of serving students who want to pursue an online degree program. We factored in metrics such as graduation rate, the amount of financial aid awarded, placement services and the percentage of students participating in distance education to come up with our list.

1
Anderson University
Anderson, SC
Average in-state tuition
$23,470
No of online programs
18
% of students in distance education
42%
Avg. amount of Aid
$11,051
Admissions Rate
54%
Graduation Rate
53%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
2
Clemson University
Clemson, SC
Average in-state tuition
$13,418
No of online programs
36
% of students in distance education
20%
Avg. amount of Aid
$9,132
Admissions Rate
51%
Graduation Rate
81%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
3
University of South Carolina-Columbia
Columbia, SC
Average in-state tuition
$11,054
No of online programs
41
% of students in distance education
25%
Avg. amount of Aid
$6,514
Admissions Rate
68%
Graduation Rate
73%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
4
College of Charleston
Charleston, SC
Average in-state tuition
$70
No of online programs
N/A
% of students in distance education
13%
Avg. amount of Aid
$9,402
Admissions Rate
84%
Graduation Rate
69%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
5
Citadel Military College of South Carolina
Charleston, SC
Average in-state tuition
$150
No of online programs
8
% of students in distance education
13%
Avg. amount of Aid
$11,275
Admissions Rate
82%
Graduation Rate
69%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
6
Winthrop University
Rock Hill, SC
Average in-state tuition
$14,510
No of online programs
3
% of students in distance education
29%
Avg. amount of Aid
$10,467
Admissions Rate
69%
Graduation Rate
58%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
7
Columbia College
Columbia, SC
Average in-state tuition
$28,900
No of online programs
2
% of students in distance education
46%
Avg. amount of Aid
$14,827
Admissions Rate
87%
Graduation Rate
50%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
8
Coker College
Hartsville, SC
Average in-state tuition
$27,624
No of online programs
1
% of students in distance education
33%
Avg. amount of Aid
$14,314
Admissions Rate
59%
Graduation Rate
48%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
9
Southern Wesleyan University
Central, SC
Average in-state tuition
$23,660
No of online programs
9
% of students in distance education
20%
Avg. amount of Aid
$12,297
Admissions Rate
55%
Graduation Rate
60%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes
10
Limestone College
Gaffney, SC
Average in-state tuition
$23,900
No of online programs
20
% of students in distance education
55%
Avg. amount of Aid
$9,504
Admissions Rate
48%
Graduation Rate
33%
Career Counseling
Yes
Placement Services
Yes

So which online degree programs in South Carolina are the most popular? The list below shows the 10 most widely available in the state. If you're exploring one of these programs (or any program), don't forget to check whether the program at your target school(s) is accredited. While accredited programs do not guarantee quality, they do indicate that there is oversight regarding the instruction and the school’s authority to issue degrees.

Program Name
No. of online programs
Business Administration and Management, General
23
Liberal Arts and Sciences/Liberal Studies
10
Registered Nursing/Registered Nurse
8
Business/Commerce, General
8
Criminal Justice/Law Enforcement Administration
7
Human Resources Management/Personnel Administration, General
6
Criminal Justice/Safety Studies
6
Educational Leadership and Administration, General
5
Medical/Clinical Assistant
4
Medical Insurance Coding Specialist/Coder
4

The South Carolina Commission on Higher Education oversees the state's public postsecondary institutions. It is involved in managing the academic quality of educational programs, helps in funding its schools and in supplying financial aid.

The Commission also oversees distance education programs and has established certain principles to ensure the quality of online degree programs in South Carolina. While the main goal is to make higher education accessible to more students other important principles include:

  • Meeting rigorous academic standards for online education in South Carolina that are comparable to coursework offered by an on-campus program
  • Ongoing accountability that meets the satisfaction of faculty, students, employers and the general public
  • Compatibility of technology to provide the best possible mode of delivery for the type of program offered
  • The individual success of the student

To help execute these principles, the Commission has delineated responsibilities to itself and to the state's colleges and universities. The Commission collaboratively works with colleges and universities to build a progressive educational policy that meets the demands of an ever-changing educational environment.

Jane C. Owen, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus at Midwestern State University states, "One of the most promising advances regarding online education is the possibility for truly implementing differentiated instruction — tailoring instruction to meet individual needs, learning styles, and information gaps for each student," she says. "Advances in delivery methods will allow the best of face-to-face instruction to blend with the ease and convenience of asynchronous instruction."

Students should always be sure that the educational path they choose will truly meet their needs upon graduation. Owen recommends students ask the following questions before enrolling:

  • Is the school credible?
  • Is the program accredited by a recognized accrediting body?
  • Is the school recognized by the education agency in your state?
  • Will credits earned in the online school transfer to a traditional university?
  • Is the curriculum for the program aligned to the national standards for the program area?
  • If you are pursuing a professional degree such as teaching, does the online school have the authority to recommend you to sit for the state certification test in the state in which you intend to practice?

Other factors students might want to consider are academic support services, technological competence, qualifications of teaching faculty and accessibility of teaching professors.

When you're looking at online degree programs in South Carolina, be aware that campus-based schools may offer online programs under a separate name. For example, the University of South Carolina offers Palmetto College, an online-only option that features more than a dozen bachelor's degree programs. And Clemson University lists all available online graduate programs in the Clemson Online section of their website.

South Carolina is not just a great place to live, but a great place to work. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these jobs are thriving in the Palmetto State.

Occupation
Number of Workers
(2016)
Average Salary
(2016)
Office and Administrative Support Occupations301,110$34,100
Sales and Related Occupations221,070$33,340
Food Preparation and Serving Related Occupations200,840$21,270
Production Occupations195,020$37,970
Transportation and Material Moving Occupations148,510$32,480
Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Occupations121,130$73,630
Education, Training, and Library Occupations112,900$47,910
Installation, Maintenance, and Repair Occupations93,840$43,870
Management Occupations87,760$100,760
Construction and Extraction Occupations78,820$39,820
Business and Financial Operations Occupations75,380$62,770
Building and Grounds Cleaning and Maintenance Occupations70,060$24,190
Retail Salespersons69,360$25,160
Cashiers64,400$19,120
Combined Food Preparation and Serving Workers, Including Fast Food63,190$18,320
Source: 2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2016-26 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

Students who qualify can find financial aid through federal, state, institutional and private funds. This aid may come in the form of scholarships, grants, loans and work-study programs. Knowing where to find financial aid can help lower college costs.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the percentage of first-time, full-time undergraduate students at 4-year degree-granting postsecondary institutions awarded financial aid is between 80 to 90 percent for public, for-profit and nonprofit institutes.

Federal

  • Pell grants: This is one of the largest federal grant programs that can be available to undergraduate students based on need.
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG). This program can provide need-based grants to lower income students with exceptional financial need.
  • Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Program: This grant can be applied to by students who want to become teachers in a high-need field in a low-income area.

Federal financial aid is only available to students who attend accredited schools.

State

  • Palmetto Fellows Scholarship: This scholarship recognizes high school seniors with the highest academic talent. It is designed to encourage high school graduates to attend college.
  • LIFE Scholarship: The Legislative Incentive for Future Excellence (LIFE) Scholarship may cover the cost of attending a college for the first 8 terms in a program leading to the first baccalaureate or professional degree.
  • South Carolina HOPE Scholarship: Don't qualify for the LIFE and Palmetto Fellows scholarships? If you're a freshman in a 4-year program, you can still apply for the HOPE.
  • South Carolina Need-Based Grants: This grant can help provide aid for needy students.

Here are some institution-specific scholarships and grants that can be available to students in South Carolina who qualify:

You can find more detailed information on the above scholarship and grants on the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education website.

Scholarship Listing

South Carolina Tuition Grants
No. of Awards
14,192
Deadline
June 30
Max. Award Amount
2,600
Renewable
Yes
Criteria
Applicant must be a qualified South Carolina resident attending as a full-time student an eligible South Carolina Independent College who applies annually by submitting the FAFSA. Applicant must demonstrate financial need using the federal methodology. Award is for fall and spring semesters only (no summer school).
More
Henry DeWitt Plyler Scholarship
No. of Awards
511
Deadline
February 1
Max. Award Amount
6,000
Renewable
Yes
Criteria
Applicant must be a resident of Lancaster County, S.C.
More
Valedictorian Scholarship
No. of Awards
50
Deadline
Not Available
Max. Award Amount
3,000
Renewable
Yes
Criteria
Applicant must be a South Carolina resident or a graduate of a South Carolina high school. Applicant must rank first in his or her secondary school class and have a minimum combined SAT I score of 1150.
More
Harper Gault Scholarship
No. of Awards
8
Deadline
March 1
Max. Award Amount
500
Renewable
Yes
Criteria
Applicant must be a resident of York County, SC and have a minimum cumulative 2.5 GPA.
More
Joye Law Firm Scholarship
No. of Awards
6
Deadline
April 1
Max. Award Amount
2,000
Renewable
No
Criteria
Applicant must be a graduating high school senior in South Carolina who plans to attend a four-year institution in the fall. Essay on drinking and driving is required. Selection based upon written essays, school activities, positions of leadership, special honors and awards, community involvement, academic performance, and professional pursuits.
More

Scholarship directory data is copyrighted material which is reproduced on this website by permission of Wintergreen Orchard House, a division of Carnegie Communications. Copyright © 2017-18 by Wintergreen Orchard House. All rights reserved.

Depending on the degree and college you choose, you may be required to take one or more entry-level tests. A few of the common tests are listed below:

SAT: This exam tests your skills in reading, writing, language and mathematics (with a calculator) and math (without a calculator).

ACT: This is a multiple-choice exam that tests your knowledge of English, mathematics, reading, and science.

AP: Held in May each year, a good score in this exam could entail college credit and advanced placement in college.

CLEP: Get a qualifying score on any of the 33 examinations and earn credit for subject matter you already know through the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP).

Praxis I Test: This test is for those entering a teacher’s program or for those who desire license to teach. It is a basic skills proficiency assessment in reading, writing and mathematics. Students who have already qualified on SAT or ACT are exempt.

GED: The General Equivalency Development or General Equivalency Diploma (GED) is for those who have not completed their high school. The test measures proficiency in science, mathematics, social studies, reading and writing. A high school diploma is an entry-level requirement for any 4-year degree program. A GED is equivalent to a high school diploma for most colleges.


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