Online Colleges in South Carolina

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Updated October 5, 2021 is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Students can qualify for careers in a variety of industries, such as the growing technical and healthcare fields, by earning a degree from one of the high-quality, cheap online colleges in South Carolina. The state is home to some of the nation's most affordable technical colleges, community colleges, liberal arts institutions, and research universities. North Carolina also offers a robust job market in high-employment fields such as agribusiness, aerospace engineering, and automotive research and development.

South Carolina's growing senior population makes it an ideal location for students pursuing nursing or an allied health profession. The state government offers financial aid packages to assist students with tuition and other costs, and many private organizations provide scholarships for South Carolina students. South Carolina's coasts and mountains, along with its strong economy, attract many students to its institutions.

Job Outlook for Students With College Degrees in South Carolina

The mean annual salary for South Carolina professionals is slightly lower than the national average. However, a greater percentage of South Carolinians maintain full-time employment than the U.S. average. The state's affordable cost of living and its strong economy make South Carolina a great place to launch a new career. South Carolina's traditional industries of agriculture, tourism, and textiles are quickly giving way to technology-related jobs, healthcare positions, engineering posts, and manufacturing opportunities.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 29.1% of jobs in South Carolina require less than a high school diploma, but these positions pay an average of $18,990, which is far less than the average employee's income. The state's fastest-growing and highest-paying occupations require an associate, bachelor's, or master's degree. According to the South Carolina Department of Commerce, the state's fastest-growing industries include agribusiness, aerospace, manufacturing, automotive, and technology. Professionals with a college degree earned about 56% more than workers with a high school diploma in 2015, according to data from the Economic Policy Institute.

Unemployment Rate, August 2018

South Carolina 3.3%
United States 3.8%

Source: BLS

Annual Mean Wage, May 2017

South Carolina $42,240
United States $50,620

Source: BLS

Cost of Online Colleges in South Carolina

Many students seeking an affordable, accredited education enroll in institutions such as online technical colleges in South Carolina. Online and on-campus students generally pay the same tuition rates; however, public universities and colleges typically charge far less than private schools. First-year students may save money by beginning with South Carolina community college online classes before transferring to a four-year school. Along with tuition rates, learners should consider the specific financial aid package they receive at each school when selecting an institution.

While online learners typically pay the same tuition rates as on-campus students, distance learners generally save money on transportation costs and facility fees. Additionally, digital textbooks are typically less expensive than physical books, and online learners can cut costs by living at home or choosing an area with a low cost of living. Online learners can also maintain full-time employment while earning their degree, which can reduce the financial burden of pursuing higher education.

Average Price for In-State Tuition and Fees by Institution Type, 2018-19

  Public Two-Year Public Four-Year
South Carolina $5,640 $12,950
U.S. Average $3,660 $10,230

Source: The College Board

In-State vs. Out-of-State Tuition in South Carolina

At most public institutions, in-state students receive discounted tuition rates. Out-of-state students may pay two to three times as much as residents. State residents pay lower tuition rates because they support public institutions through taxes. These in-state rates also incentivise talented students to pursue their education and career in their home state.

In-state students have plenty of options for cheap online colleges in South Carolina. However, learners from other states should carefully review costs and available financial aid. Some schools charge online learners in-state tuition rates, regardless of residency. Private institutions typically charge the same rate to both in-state and out-of-state students.

Average Tuition and Fees, 2018-19

  Public Two-Year Public Four-Year
South Carolina $12,950 $32,150
U.S. Average $10,230 $26,290

Source: The College Board

Financial Aid in South Carolina

Students who enroll in one of the cheap online colleges in South Carolina typically save on tuition costs and qualify for financial aid. Students should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to apply for several types of federal aid simultaneously. The U.S. government offers grants to undergraduate students who demonstrate financial need. Students can also qualify for unsubsidized and subsidized federal loans, work-study jobs, loan forgiveness programs, and aid for military members.

South Carolina residents can also apply for state-sponsored scholarships and grants. The state offers a variety of merit- and need-based aid programs, including the Palmetto Fellows Scholarship, the Life Scholarship, the SC HOPE Scholarship, the SC Need-Based Grant, and Lottery Tuition Assistance. South Carolina also maintains a teacher loan forgiveness program for public school educators who teach in critical subject or geographic areas. The government forgives 20% of qualifying borrowers' loans for each year they teach. Families can also take advantage of a tuition prepayment program that locks in current tuition rates and keeps students from paying higher tuition costs in the future.

State Grant Aid per Full-Time Equivalent Undergraduate Student, 2016-17

South Carolina $2,190
U.S. Average $820

Source: The College Board

Scholarships and Grants for South Carolina College Students

Students enrolled at an accredited college or university in South Carolina may qualify for grants or scholarships. Students can compete for merit-based scholarships and apply for income-based grant funding. The best online colleges in South Carolina offer institutional scholarships, which learners can obtain in addition to government and private aid.

Best Majors for Online Students in South Carolina

With an unemployment rate of 3.3% and a strong job market, South Carolina's economy displays consistent growth. The state's rapid population increase is reshaping its economic structure, which traditionally relied on textiles and agriculture. Today, urban areas near cities such as Charlotte, Greenville, and Charleston are developing new jobs in industries including banking, finance, aerospace manufacturing, automotive development, bioscience, and energy.

The aging population fuels job growth for nursing and allied health professionals. Online college courses in South Carolina prepare students to enter these growing fields. Online learners in the state can qualify to become manufacturers, engineers, project managers, nurses, and therapists.

Operational Research

Operational research professionals solve high-level problems using techniques such as statistical analysis, data mining, and mathematical modeling. U.S. News & World Report lists this profession among the best business careers. Operational research professionals benefit from the growing engineering and automotive research industries in South Carolina.


Consistent with the nationwide growth in nursing, the demand for nursing professionals in South Carolina is projected to continue increasing. Nursing students taking online college courses in South Carolina gain the skills and knowledge needed to enter this rapidly growing profession at a critical time.

Occupational Therapy

The growing senior population and increasing focus on prevention and independence in healthcare drive demand for occupational therapists. These professionals help patients maintain active lives. Students can pursue careers as occupational therapists or as occupational therapists' assistants.

Resources for Online College Students in South Carolina

South Carolina Student Loan Association: This organization provides non-federal loans to students, along with information on loans and refinancing. The association also offers loan-related resources to parents, students, and schools. The website helps visitors learn about the Palmetto Assistance Loan and loan forgiveness programs for teachers.

American Association of University Women of South Carolina: AAUW's South Carolina chapter boasts 300 members and 10 branches throughout the state. The organization advances educational opportunities for women through publications and advocacy. Students can learn about the impact of healthcare, pay equity, violence against women, civil rights, and student debt on college students and graduates.

South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities: This nonprofit coalition of higher education institutions comprises South Carolina's 20 independent colleges and universities. Prospective students can learn about each member institution and can find facts about attending college in South Carolina. The organization also provides scholarship programs and organizes collaborative initiatives. The South Carolina Commission on Higher Education maintains this website to provide prospective students information about attending college, returning to school, and securing financial assistance. The website also provides information about special benefits for military members.

South Carolina Commission on Higher Education: CHE is a government agency that compiles and publishes information on higher education in the state. CHE also ensures higher education institutions comply with regulations. The commission's website provides information about paying for college and taking advantage of programs for military members.

Become Team
Become Team
Contributing Writer is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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