We know college is expensive. And it keeps getting more expensive, year by year. This has led some people to wonder whether it’s even worth going at all.

Best Colleges in South Carolina

We think it is (though we might be biased). Still, we have some data to back it up. Consider this: since the Great Recession, the economy has added 11.6 million jobs, but a full 11.5 million of those jobs have gone to people with at least some college education. So even if you’re only thinking about the issue financially, going to college is probably still worth it.

And if you are considering going in South Carolina, you’ve come to the right place. We think it’s a great place to be too, and so we took a look at every institution of higher education in the state that grants 4-year degrees. And we found some interesting stuff along the way. If you’d like to be part of something historic, South Carolina has got that—it boasts one of the oldest colleges in America, and the first municipal college in the country. Looking for a big-time college experience with school spirit and a competitive football team? South Carolina has that too. Or maybe you are a quieter, more literary type, and are looking for a small liberal arts college? Or how about that, but with a religious affiliation? Check and check. In short, there are plenty of options here for just about anyone.  For more information, see the Top Online Colleges in South Carolina.

What are the best colleges in South Carolina?

So how did we get our list? Well, we took that list that we mentioned up above, and looked for data on academic quality—things like test scores and student-to-faculty ratios, student body diversity, and return on investment. That statistic is a weight of total cost, including things like tuition and fees, against the expected early career income for graduates. We want you to be able to get the best education possible, but we also want you to be successful post-college as well. All of our data comes from IPEDS, the database put together by the National Center for Education Statistics.

1

Clemson University

College Choice Score: 100

Average Net Price: $11,952

School Website

Overview

Clemson University was founded in 1880 in Clemson. South Carolina. The property was donated via a bequest from Thomas Green Clemson and approved by then Governor John Peter Richardson. It became a federally funded agricultural education and research institution that was initially an all-male, all-white military school. However, it become a co-ed, civilian institution in 1955. Today, it is located in Clemson, South Carolina on 1,400 acres in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains near the shores of Hartwell Lake. Clemson University also has various research and economic hubs throughout South Carolina.

Features                

As of 2016, Clemson University serves 18,599 undergraduate and 4,807 graduate students who pursue over 80 undergraduate and 110 graduate degree programs. Inside the classroom, the student-faculty ratio is 16:1 and over half of the classes have less than 20 students. There are over 450 different organizations for the students to join. Club sports and Greek life are popular options. Top programs include:

  • Business
  • Engineering,
  • Biological & Biomedical Sciences
  • Health Professions

Notables

Clemson University is ranked #7 for the best return on your investment. It is not just the location near Hartwell Lake where students can enjoy outdoor pastimes. It also includes top technology like the university-owned supercomputer and the state of the art wind-turbine. Both these impressive technologies give students hands-on experience in bleeding edge technology.

2

Presbyterian College

College Choice Score: 95.77

Average Net Price: $10,008

School Website

Overview

Presbyterian Colleges was founded in 1880 as part of the post-Civil War community revitalization efforts. The effort started with Dr. William Plummer Jacobs in Clinton, South Carolina in a town full of bars. His first effort was an orphanage in 1875 and then turned his eyes towards establishing a college. These efforts moved the entire community into the future with hope.

Features

Today, Presbyterian College serves over 1025 undergraduates and nearly 300 pharmacy students. Inside the classroom, the average class size is 13 students. The Student-faculty ratio is 11 to 1. Students have the options from 42 different majors or 9 pre-professional programs. This is a very healthy campus where 90% of the students are involved in some sort of athletic team – either intercollegiate or intramural. The college also has 7 national Greek organizations to join. Top Majors include:

  • Business
  • Biological & Biomedical Sciences
  • Psychology
  • Social Sciences
  • History

Notables

There is a common lore on the Presbyterian College campus concerning, Blue Hose. The lore states that it represents the strong Scottish heritage of the college – representing their fierce Scottish ancestors. The historical accounts lose its allure. In the early 1900s, the sports teams wear long blue socks or hose as part of their uniform. It was so unique that local sportswriters began to refer to the teams as “Blue Stockings”. By 1954, it was shortened to ‘Blue Hose’. The college PR thought it would make the teams sound fiercer. What do you think?

3

University of South Carolina Columbia

College Choice Score: 93.32

Average Net Price: $10,729

School Website

Overview

University of South Carolina Columbia was initiated in 1801 by Governor John Drayton to be in Columbia, South Carolina. The action had a two-prong approach. First it was to bring together the Lowcountry and the Backcountry. Second, it supported the public college movement led by Thomas Jefferson. Today, University of South Carolina – Columbia is the flagship research university of the University of South Carolina System on 359 acres in downtown Columbia.

Features

Today, this research university sponsors over 350 programs of study at all levels. Almost 50,000 students study at one of the University of South Carolina locations. Over 33,000 students study at the location in Columbia. Even with such a large student population, the student-faculty ratio is 18 to 1. About 1/3 of the classes have less than 20 students. Of the remaining classes, only 15% have more than 50 students. Top undergraduate programs include:

  • Business
  • Finance
  • Psychology
  • Exercise Physiology
  • Biology

Notables

University of South Carolina Columbia has spent the last century developing their research capabilities. Today, it is one of 32 Carnegie Foundation Top Tier Researching institutions. However, reaching this level of academics strives them forward – they are known as having the highest research activity but also known as an up-and-coming university. However, even with all this research, they have a deep appreciation for the arts. For example, they have the largest collection of Robert Burns, Scottish Literature and Ernest Hemingway collections.

4

Wofford College

College Choice Score: 92.98

Average Net Price: $10,695

School Website

Overview

Wofford College was founded in 1851 by the United Methodists and Bishop William Wightman in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Today it is known as one of the handful of pre-Civil War American colleges that continued through economic hardships to be successful today on its original campus. It is one of the few Phi Beta Kappa colleges – gaining their seat in 1941. Today, this liberal arts college is located just north of downtown Spartanburg on the 170-acre Roger Milliken Arboretum complete with over 5,000 trees.

Features

Today, Wofford College serves 1,613 undergraduates on a 4-1-4 academic calendar. There are over 50 majors. In the classroom, over half of their classes have less than 20 students. The student-faculty ratio is 11 to 1. In addition to the numerous student organizations, 40% of the students are very active in the 14 Greek organizations. Outside of Greek life and education, you can find the students attending a NCAA Division I game. Top majors include:

  • Biology & Biological Sciences
  • Finance
  • Business
  • Accounting
  • English language & Literature

Notables

Spartanburg is known as a college town. In addition to Wofford College, there are over 6 distinct higher education institutions. Just like most college towns, you will find a local international airport, large number of businesses, shopping and outdoor adventures. This college town is located at the junction of I-85 and I-26 in upstate South Carolina.

5

Erskine College

College Choice Score: 86.80

Average Net Price: $7,868

School Website

Overview

Erskine College was founded in 1839 by the Associate Reformed Presbyterian (ARP) Church. The original property was to serve as all-male academy and seminary. By 1899, the academy transformed into Erskine College as a four-year, co-ed denominational institution. Today, Erskine College near the village of Due West, South Carolina on 90 acres.

Features

Erskine College is a small institution with just over 600 undergraduates. The positive aspect of such as small school is that the student-faculty ratio is 14 to 1 and nearly 78% of the classes have less than 20 students. This type of individual attention assists students moving on into that next phase of their education. Nearly 100% are accepted to their post graduate school of choice. On campus, students can join over 40 student organizations, attend an NCAA Division II sport or take a January term to focus on an internship. Top programs include:

  • Biological & Biomedical Sciences
  • Business, Management, & Marketing
  • English Language & Literature
  • Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies
  • Physical Sciences.

Notables

The town of Due West sounds like a town in the Pacific Northwest. I can assure you that this tiny little town is within 3-hours of Charlotte, North Carolina and Atlanta, Georgia. While the town has only 1,200 residents, the area is rich in colonial, Revolutionary War and Civil War history. If that isn’t enough, there are plenty of recreational activities and lakes that can assist with relaxing after that massive exam.

6

Converse College

College Choice Score: 83.43

Average Net Price: $6,560

School Website

Overview

Converse College was founded in 1889 by textile pioneer Dexter Edgar Converse and the surrounding community of Spartanburg, South Carolina. It was established as a women’s only residential undergraduate and graduate college. Today, it is the only women’s college competing in the NCCA division II sports. The 94% of the students graduate in four years or less – 3Xs faster than other higher education institutions. It is recognized by the US department of Education as a top private college – “excelling in access and success”.

Features

Today, Converse College has 822 undergraduate and 567 graduate students pursuing over 30 majors and 5 graduate degrees. Inside the classroom over 85% of the classes have less than 20 students. The student-faculty ratio is 12 to 1. Popular majors include:

  • Visual & Performing Arts
  • Education
  • Psychology
  • Biological & Biomedical Sciences
  • Business

Notables

Spartanburg, South Carolina is known as “Hub City” due to its extensive railroad history. Today, it is a college town with over 6 major higher education institutions, over 400 corporations and much more in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The rich culture, outdoor life and bustling city create a home for a talent driven workforce that find their jobs at Michelin, BMW, or General Electric. There is something for everyone at Converse College and Spartanburg, South Carolina.

7

Citadel Military College of South Carolina

College Choice Score: 83.12

Average Net Price: $9,361

School Website

Overview

Citadel Military College of South Carolina was founded in 1842 in Charleston, South Carolina. Since its inception, it was meant to be a military college. Today it is located on a 300-acre campus. The Citadel’s core values are drummed into their 5 battalions and 21 companies of cadets: Honor, Duty, Respect. Unlike some of the other military colleges and universities in the United States that specialize in only one branch of the military, The Citadel welcomes all branches of the armed forces. Nearly 30% of the graduating cadets commission into military service. The average commission between branches are Army (72%), Air Force (11%), Navy (7%), Marine Corps (8%) and Coast Guard (2%).

Features

There are 2,300 undergraduate students (or cadets) that attend The Citadel. There is another 1,000 students pursing graduate, profession and undergraduate evening programs through The Citadel Graduate College. Cadets and Students pursue one of 70 programs. Inside the classroom, the average undergraduate class size is 21 with a student-faculty ratio of 12 to 1. On average, 43% of classes have less than 20 students. Top majors include:

  • Business
  • Criminal Justice & Law Enforcement
  • Engineering
  • Social Sciences
  • Education

Notables

The Citadel is near the Ashley River and a 10-minute drive to downtown Charleston. Like most military institutions, cadets will face stricter codes than those at other schools. Here are a few examples of the student’s experience on campus: 1) A cadet cannot leave campus whenever they choose – they must gain permission. 2) A Cadet cannot have alcohol on campus – regardless of age. 3) All day cadets must reside on campus all four years. In short, a student at The Citadel commits to live a military life for the four years they are there.

8

Claflin University

College Choice Score: 82.70

Average Net Price: $7,699

School Website

Overview

Claflin University was founded after the Civil War in 1869 to be the first African-American college in Orangeburg, South Carolina. Today Claflin University is in the top ten Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the nation. The University was named after a prominent Methodist layman and his governor son from Boston Massachusetts. Unlike other institutions in the area, the only admissions requirement was good moral character and a desire to learn regardless of race, complexion, gender or religious opinion. The goal was to provide education and prepare them for full citizenship.

Features

Today, Claflin University serves 2,000 students on its 46-acre campus. . It has 36 undergraduate degrees, 4 graduate degrees and 6 online degrees. In the classroom, most classes have less than 20 students. Student-faculty ratio is 13 to 1. While they are part of the NCAA Division II sports, they do not have a football program now. Students are encouraged to engage with student organizations, volunteering in the community and to pursue their dreams. Top programs include:

  • Criminal Justice
  • Biology
  • Political Science
  • Communication
  • Organizational Behavior Studies

Notables

Orangeburg, South Carolina, is located about 40 miles southeast of Columbia, South Carolina. There are plenty of historical gardens and centers in the area to visit. As well as a I. P. Stanback Museum & Planetarium.

9

Furman University

College Choice Score: 80.14

Average Net Price: $18,080

School Website

Overview

Furman University was founded in 1826 as a private institution for educating men for business and seminary in Greenville, South Carolina, near the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It is named after Baptist Clergyman Richard Furman. However, overtime, the men’s academy and the seminary parted ways. Today, Furman University is located on 750 acres that includes a 40-acre lake and is next to Paris Mountain State Park.

Features

Today, the campus is five miles away from downtown Greenville. The campus is so important it has its own stop on the bus route. That would make sense to support the 2,700 undergraduates pursuing over 60 areas of study. Inside the classroom, the average class has about 20 students and the student-faculty ratio is 11 to 1. Outside the classroom, there are 200 clubs, NCAA Division I sports, 12 Greek organizations and cultural life programs. Top majors include:

  • Health Professions
  • Clinical Sciences
  • Business
  • Biology

Notables

The campus does sound large at 750 acres. However, they have made a definite impact with the property. In addition to the 40-acre lake, they have built an Asian Garden, a replica of Henry David Thoreau’s cabin, the David E. Shi Center for Sustainability, a Florentine bell tower, a spring-fed lake, 13 miles of paved trails through the woodlands for hiking and biking and an 18-hole golf course. With that much to do on campus and the bus-route access, a Furman University students has everything at their fingertips.

10

College of Charleston

College Choice Score: 79.05

Average Net Price: $8,994

School Website

Overview

The College of Charleston was founded in 1770 – 6 years before the Declaration of Independence. With tensions mounting between Britain and the new Colonies, wealthy colonial families were tied of sending their sons abroad to finish their education. Thus, the Lieutenant Governor William Bull petitioned the general assembly to create the College of Charleston. While the American Revolution caused the opening to be pushed back, the College of Charleston is the 13th higher educational institution in the United States and the first educational institution south of Virginia.

Features

Today, it is a public, 52-acre sea-grant and space grant university that inspires over 10,000 undergraduates and almost 1,000 graduate students to pursue their educational dreams. Inside the classroom, most classes have less than 30 students and the student-faculty ratio is 15 to 1. Outside the classroom, students can join 100s of student groups, volunteer organizations or attend NCAA Division I or intramural sporting events. Top programs include:

  • Business
  • Biological & biomedical Sciences
  • Visual & Performing Arts
  • Social Sciences

Notables

Graduation at the College of Charleston is very different than other institutions. After reading about the tradition, I think it is a hold-over from the American Revolution throwing off the shackles of tradition. But you be your own judge. At the spring graduation, female students wear white dresses and male students wear white dinner jackets. If the weather cooperates, the ceremony takes place in the Cistern Yard – complete with ancient trees with Spanish Moss. At the December graduation, the ceremony is held indoors. The male students wear black tuxedos and the female students wear black dresses.

11

Columbia International University

College Choice Score: 78.33

Average Net Price: $8,566

School Website

Overview

Columbia International University was founded in 1923 after years of prayer by a group of women, including Emily Dick, a graduate of Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Illinois. Robert C. McQuilkin was named the first president. The goal in founding the college was to train people to minister to local Columbia mill workers. By 1960, the school moved to its current 400-acre location on Monticello Road in Columbia, South Carolina. In 1994, the name changed to Columbia International University.

Features

Today, Columbia International University serves nearly 500 undergraduate students and 500 graduate students. There are over 21 undergraduate majors, several master degrees, a few certificates and 5 doctorate programs. Inside the classroom, the average class size is 20 students. Student-faculty ratio is 17 to 1. Nearly 50 different denominations are represented on campus and 65% live on campus. Top majors include:

  • Bible
  • Psychology
  • Communication
  • Education
  • Business & Organizational Leadership

Notables

As mentioned before Columbia International University has nearly 50 different denominations represented on campus. While everyone’s faith might have different backgrounds, they are able to come together in Columbia, South Carolina, under the same goal and motto: “To Know Him and to Make Him Known.”

12

Winthrop University

College Choice Score: 77.81

Average Net Price: $8,526

School Website

Overview

Winthrop University was founded in 1886 by David Bancroft Johnson. With the help of Robert C. Winthrop and the Peabody fund, there was enough money to found the premier women college in the region. As the institution expanded, it started accepting minorities in 1964 and became fully co-educational in 1974. Since 1992, the institution has been known as Winthrop University. Today, Winthrop is located in Rock Hill, South Carolina on 456 acres.

Features

Winthrop University serves over 5,000 undergraduates and over 100 graduate students. Undergraduates have over 43 degrees to choose from and over 150 student and Greek organizations to join. Inside the classroom, nearly 505 of the classes have less than 20 students. Student-faculty ratio is 14 to 1. Top programs include:

  • Business
  • Education
  • Visual & Performing Arts
  • Psychology

Notables

Winthrop University can be called a commuter-residential school. Freshmen and sophomores that live outside of a 50-mile radius or do not live with their parents, must live on campus. Individuals within the zone or those who are upper classmen, typically commute to classes but they do have the option to live on campus. If someone is very interested in residential Greek life options, living on campus might be the best choice.

13

North Greenville University

College Choice Score: 77.37

Average Net Price: $5,010

School Website

Overview

North Greenville University founded in 1891 by the Southern Carolina Baptist Convention. In 1892, they offered their first classes. By 1934, the institution gained a junior college charter. In 1991, it could bestow bachelor degrees. In 2006, it expanded by offering master programs and the name changed to North Greenville University to match the growth spurt and the fact it has three campuses. Unlike its name, is it not located inside Greenville. It is in Tigerville, South Carolina – 11 miles north of Greenville, South Carolina.

Features

North Greenville University offers nearly 2,500 undergraduate students the option to study 50 undergraduate degrees at one of their campuses: the main campus in Tigerville, South Carolina, the sister campus in Greer, South Carolina or online. At the main campus, students have over 70% of their classes with less than 20 students. Student faculty ratio is 14 to 1. There are 20 student organizations and almost 70% of the student body lives on campus. Top programs include:

  • Sport & Fitness Administration
  • Business
  • Education
  • Biblical Studies

Notables

North Greenville University is a Steinway Piano music school. This means that the school only has Steinway Pianos on their campus. Steinway is like the Ferrari of the piano world. There are only 99 other higher education institutions that have this designation. They are also the only Southern Baptist School that has this honor.

14

University of South Carolina Upstate

College Choice Score: 76.52

Average Net Price: $6,624

School Website

Overview

University of South Carolina Upstate was founded in 1967 by Dr. G. B. Hodge in response to the closure of the Spartanburg General Hospital closing it nursing degree programs. This closure would have created a massive health care provider shortage in the region. First day of junior college classes were in 1967; but, due to the popularity of the institution became a 4-year institution in 1975. Today, Upstate is still the fastest growing university in South Carolina – complete with two campuses: a residential, 280-acre main campus in Spartanburg, South Carolina and a Greenville campus for juniors and seniors.

Features

University of South Carolina Upstate has 5,636 undergraduates. Inside the classroom, the student-faculty ratio is 17-to-1. Most classes have less than 20 students. Popular programs at this university include:

  • Nursing
  • Non-profit, Public & Organizational Management
  • Liberal Arts & Sciences
  • Psychology
  • Education

Notables

The University of South Carolina Upstate is in the Piedmont foothills. It is an area that offers tremendous diverse, global opportunities for students, faculty and the community at large. Even though the university’s history is focused on health sciences, it regularly contributes to the area’s historical and cultural centers. It looks for ways to become the metropolitan university of South Carolina and support the world-class manufacturing and business centers.

15

Charleston Southern University

College Choice Score: 75.15

Average Net Price: $6,179

School Website

Overview

Charleston Southern University was founded in 1964 by the South Carolina Baptists in response to an urgent need for another college in the Lowcountry. Today it is one of South Carolina’s largest, independent universities on 300 acres.

Features

Today, Charleston Southern University provides 3,400 students the opportunity to study one of 48 Undergraduate programs, 14 Graduate programs and 16 online programs. Students have access to NCAA division athletic events, student clubs and the historical culture within Charleston, South Carolina. Inside the classroom, the average class is 20 students with student-faculty ratio of 15 to 1. Top majors include:

  • Nursing
  • Health and Physical Education
  • Biology & Biological Sciences
  • Criminal Justice & Law Enforcement
  • Psychology

Notables

Like all major cities, Charleston is a place to do a culinary tour, visit historical sites or walk in a nature park. However, Charleston Southern University is right in the middle of everything that a student or family needs to get involved with the local history and culture.

16

Newberry College

College Choice Score: 74.21

Average Net Price: $6,619

School Website

Overview

Newberry College was founded by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in American in 1828. Between the first day of classes in 1831 and the aftermath of the Civil War, Newberry College moved several times before finally settling in Newberry, South Carolina. Today, students from all over the world study at this Lutheran higher education institution on this 94-acre campus in the city of Newberry.

Features

Today, over 1,000 students pursue over 30 degrees. Inside the classroom, most classes have less than 20 students and the student-faculty ratio is 12 to 1. Outside the classroom, students can engage with the community through volunteering and student organizations. They also participate in intramural sports and attend NCAA Division II sports. Top Majors include:

  • Business
  • Parks, Recreation, Leisure
  • Nursing
  • Biology
  • Education

Notables

Newberry, South Carolina still has many historical centers to visit pertaining to the Civil War. But for the non-history intrigued person, there are plenty of nature walk areas, places to shop, and activities for all ages.

17

Anderson University

College Choice Score: 73.84

Average Net Price: $5,479

School Website

Overview

Anderson University was founded in 1848 by Daniel Brown, J.P. Reed, and Stephen McCulley as Johnson Female Seminary. Overtime, the seminary expanded into a co-ed institution called Anderson University. Officially, Anderson University began in 1911 and now provides all degree levels for their students. The university is located in Anderson, South Carolina on 271 acres.

Features

Today, Anderson University provides over 40 majors for its 2,824 students. Inside the classroom, 40% fo the classes have 20 students and the student-faculty ratio is 16 to 1. Over 53% of the student body lives on campus. Top programs include:

  • Education
  • Business
  • Visual & Performing Arts
  • Parks, Recreation, Leisure and Fitness Studies
  • Homeland Security

Notables

In 2011, Anderson University started an innovation called the Mobile Learning Initiative, or the MLI. The MLI program gives a school-specific Apple iPad to each traditional student upon enrollment. This program has been such a success in pairing learning and technology that Apple, Inc. has twice awarded the school with an Apple Distinguished School status. A school with this honor is recognized as one of the most innovative schools in the world. This is a selective honor that very few institutions have earned.

18

Coker College

College Choice Score: 73.74

Average Net Price: $6,067

School Website

Overview

Coker College was originally founded in 1894 as a local high school by the local businessman and American Civil War Veteran, Major James Lide Coker to prepare students for higher education. By 1908, the local high school had developed into Coker College for women. After World War II, male students began to register for some classes – but the college remained “female school” By 1968, the school officially became co-ed.

Features

Today, Coker College serves just over 1,200 students on its 37 acres. There are over 50 programs to study and 30 student organizations to join. Most students will attend a class with 12 other students and see a student-faculty ratio of 13 to 1. Only 40% of the student body lives on campus. Popular majors include:

  • Business
  • Sport and Fitness Administration
  • Psychology
  • Criminology

Notables

In 1985, Coker implemented a unique “Round Table” teaching style. The curriculum has been formatted to support this interactive style between faculty and the student. They were the first to implement this style and it is now known as its own model of learning. Due to the interactive nature of the college, it might not be the best learning style for introverted individuals. However, if you are looking to expand your horizons, Coker will provide that opportunity.

19

Coastal Carolina University

College Choice Score: 73.25

Average Net Price: $8,475

School Website

Overview

Coastal Carolina University was founded in 1954 as a branch campus of the University of South Carolina. As Coastal Carolina University grew, it became apparent it needed to become an independent, public institution. It was granted its independence. Today, it is located on 633 acres in Conway, South Carolina, just 10 miles northwest of Myrtle Beach resort areas. The university’s property includes several other sites including: the Coastal Science Center and the Burroughs & Chapin Center for Marine and Wetland Studies.

Features

Coastal Carolina University offers 72 undergraduate programs and 21 graduate programs with a total enrollment of 10,479 students. The undergraduate student-faculty ratio is 18 to 1 and the 35% of the classes have less than 20 students. It is largely a commuter school but over 40% of the student population does live on campus. Popular majors include:

  • Business
  • Kinesiology & Exercise Science
  • Marine Biology & biological Oceanography
  • Psychology

Notables

Conway, South Carolina, provides a unique atmosphere that you don’t find many places. It is a location that is close to small town environment with mossy oaks and the bright entertainment associated with Myrtle Beach resorts. The average temperature is usually 75 degrees and over 200 days of sunshine. Plenty to do whether your plans call for water-sports, NCAA Division I game, or antiquated charm.

20

Francis Marion University

College Choice Score: 71.92

Average Net Price: $8,702

School Website

Overview

Francis Marion University was founded in 1970. Today, FMU is one of South Carolina’s 13 four-year, state-assisted universities. Francis Marion University is located in a rural area six miles east of Florence, S.C., on nearly 500 wooded acres and mature landscaping. Campus facilities include modern classroom buildings, laboratories and residence halls – all in a safe, comfortable learning environment.

Features

Today, Francis Marion University serves over 3,500 undergraduates pursuing 60 majors. Inside the classroom at this rural university, there is a student-faculty ratio of 15 to 1. Outside the classroom, students are able to enjoy NCAA Division II sports, Greek Organizations and participate in exchange programs at 19 foreign universities in 13 different countries. Top majors include:

  • Business
  • Health Professions
  • Biological & Biomedical Sciences
  • Social Sciences
  • Psychology

Notables

Francis Marion University’s name traces back to the American Revolutionary War. Even though the school was founded in the 1970s, the founders wanted to honor a true South Carolina hero: General Francis Marion. The General’s nickname was “The Swamp Fox” due to his use of using his knowledge of terrain and trickery to outmaneuver the Loyalist troops.

21

Lander University

College Choice Score: 71.39

Average Net Price: $5,161

School Website

Overview

Lander University was founded in 1872 by Methodist clergyman Samuel Lander as a college for women. By 1943, the college became co-educational to support the troops coming back from World War II. In 1951, Lander thus became the only four-year liberal arts college in the United States to be controlled and financed by a county government. Today, it is the second smallest publicly funded school in Greenwood, South Carolina – named after its founder.

 

Features

Lander university serves approximately 2,700 students. Students have the option of participating in 60 student organizations that include Greek life, intramural and performing arts. Inside the classroom, the student faculty ratio is 14 to 1 and 40% of the classes have less than 20 students. Top programs include:

  • Business
  • Nursing
  • Psychology
  • Kinesiology & Exercise Science
  • Sociology

Notables

Lander University is in Greenwood, South Carolina. For students that want to get off campus and explore, there is an historical railroad center, several parks, and a drive-in theatre. With the temperate weather year-round, the weather will encourage you to get out and explore!

22

Limestone College

College Choice Score: 69.75

Average Net Price: $5,196

School Website

Overview

Limestone College was founded in 1845 by The Curtis Family from England. The goal was to provide educational opportunities for those who did not have access to it. They ended up establishing one of the first women’s colleges in the United States, the first women’s college in South Carolina, and the third oldest college in South Carolina. By late 1960, the college became co-educational. Today, it is the largest private institution in South Carolina with 8 distance learning sites.

Features

Limestone College serves over 1,000 undergraduate students at the main campus and over 2,500 students over 8 unique educational site throughout South Carolina. Inside the classroom, 60% of the classes have less than 20 students. The student-faculty ratio is 13 to 1. At the main campus, there are 20 student clubs to join and NCAA Division II games to attend. Top programs:

  • Business
  • Computer & Information Sciences
  • Social Sciences
  • Liberal Arts & Sciences
  • Humanities

Notables

Limestone’s extensive history continues today as the first women’s college in South Carolina. Due to the historical relevance, ten buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places. But that is not the only historical aspect to this area. There is a huge Limestone spring and quarry not too far from the campus that students can visit to truly understand the entrepreneur spirit that the started this institution.

23

University of South Carolina Aiken

College Choice Score: 69.22

Average Net Price: $6,588

School Website

Overview

The University of South Carolina Aiken was founded in 1961 with generous and enthusiastic support from the local community. Today, the main campus is located on 453 acres in Aiken, South Carolina. It is located 18 miles from Augusta, Georgia, and 60 miles from Columbia, South Carolina. USC Aiken is one of the fastest growing institutions in the USC system due to their focus on serving the student body and area community with committed teaching, student research and civic engagement.

Features

University of South Carolina Aiken has 3,500 students pursuing over 30 areas of study. Inside the classroom, over 40% of the classes have less than 20 students. Student-faculty ratio is 15 to 1. Outside of classes, students can engage with other students through Greek life and other student organizations. Top majors include:

  • Health Professions
  • Business
  • Parks, Recreation, Leisure, & Fitness Studies
  • Education
  • Social Sciences

Notables

Aiken, South Carolina was named after William Aiken, the president of the South Carolina Railroad. While the train is not the most common traveling method by students, there is still plenty to learn from its history by visiting local museums, taking trolley tours or seeing modern technology take off on the Carolina Dragway.

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Southern Wesleyan University

College Choice Score: 67.18

Average Net Price: $6,302

School Website

Overview

Southern Wesleyan University was founded in 1906 by the Wesleyan church as a local Bible Institute. In 1963, it became a 4-year institution. In 1994, it was named Southern Wesleyan University. In 2013, they started the NCAA Division II membership process. As of 2016, it has become a full member of the NCAA Division II sports. Today, the main campus is in Central, South Carolina. However, they have several regional locations throughout South Carolina in Charleston, Columbia, Greenville and North Augusta.

Features

Today, Southern Wesleyan University’s main campus in Central, South Carolina is located on 350 acres. They have over 1800 students enrolled studying over 40 undergraduate and 5 graduate degrees: 772 traditional undergraduate students, 549 evening and online undergraduate students and 365 evening and online graduate students. Inside the classroom, it is an 18 to 1 student-faculty ratio. Outside the classroom, students can join over 15 student organizations, intramural sports or volunteer groups. Top Programs include:

  • Business
  • Human Services
  • Biology
  • Religious Studies
  • Education

Notables

Southern Wesleyan University might have a large campus and have access to NCAA sport. However, there is plenty to do in the area. You can travel to various Civil War historical sites. Or you can Visit the Pee Dee State Farmers Market and the Congaree National Park.

25

University of South Carolina Beaufort

College Choice Score: 66.39

Average Net Price: $6,669

School Website

Overview

The University of South Carolina Beaufort was founded in 1795 as Beaufort college. After the Civil War, Beaufort College brought public education to the newly freed slaves. However, by 1950, the needs of the community had changed. By 1959, Beaufort joined the University of South Carolina partnership. Since then, it has expanded to add 6 bachelor degrees and opened a Hilton Head Gateway campus.

Features

Today, 1794 students study between the two campuses: Hilton Head Gateway & Historic Beaufort. There are 30 clubs to join. The Beaufort campus has 213 acres and the Hilton head Gateway campus has 200 acres. Inside the classroom, the student-faculty ratio is 18-to-1. Nearly 50% of the classes have less than 20 students. Top programs include:

  • Business
  • Hospitality Administration
  • Psychology
  • Nursing
  • Social Sciences

Notables

The School mascot is a sand shark. To those who do not live in the Lowcountry. A sand shark is a common shark in the area. It is often found caught from local tidal docks. While they are not predictable, they are powerful, strong and graceful. It is the perfect representation of the school’s athletic teams: “proud, tough, aggressive, and athletic” while introduces the coastal life to national audiences. Our Sand Shark Mascot.

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