South Carolina’s Most Affordable Colleges & Universities of 2021

Here are the most affordable colleges and universities in South Carolina. Our list will help you find the right kind of school for you, at a price you can afford.

South Carolina’s  Most Affordable Colleges & Universities of 2021

Colleges and Universities in South Carolina

The 31 public schools range in tuition from $5,000 to $17,000. The largest institution, the University of South Carolina (U of SC), is right in the middle, totaling $11,000 for fees. Located in Columbia, U of SC has over 30,000 students in attendance and offers over 300 degree options. Aside from the technical and community colleges in the state, there are four universities under $10,000. At $17,000, the Medical University of South Carolina is the most expensive public school in the state.

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In addition, over 25 private schools, 17 with religious affiliations, offer academic settings with small student populations, none exceeding 3,500. Though it is the most expensive at $50,000, Furman University boasts an 84% graduation rate. With Methodist connections, Wofford College charges a tuition of $44,000, and it bears noting that the campus is situated on a national arboretum. The University of South Carolina School of Law is one of the nation’s oldest law schools and the state’s only nonprofit law school. Graduates of the school have the opportunity to receive financial assistance from the Public Interest Law Loan Forgiveness Fund if they are employed in the field of public interest law.

Along the 60-mile stretch of beaches in South Carolina is iconic Myrtle Beach, home to one of the world’s tallest Ferris wheels. Cypress swamps, military museums, and tea gardens add to the southern charm of this state. And with over 50 higher education institutions, students have plenty of options for where to earn their associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree.

Check out the top programs available, and earn your degree in The Palmetto State.

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What are South Carolina’s Colleges & Universities?

South Carolina’s Best Overall


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How do we determine South Carolina's most affordable colleges and universities?

The best colleges pound for pound!

The people affiliated with a school are ultimately what make it great. This is why, at the undergraduate level, we rank the best colleges and universities based on what we call Concentrated Influence. Concentrated Influence takes the combined influence score of a college or university’s top academic influencers (including faculty and alums) and divides it by the school’s total number of undergraduates.

Using concentrated influence gives small and mid-sized schools an opportunity to shine by taking away the size advantage of larger universities. A small school with proportionately more influential faculty than a large school, whose influence in absolute terms may be bigger, will nonetheless score higher in a concentrated influence ranking. Our approach highlights undergraduate schools that truly rank for excellence, regardless of size.

If you are serious about finding the best colleges and universities for a bachelor’s degree, you should be asking where the most influential professors are teaching and whether their graduates are themselves advancing the school’s reputation for academic excellence.

Most ranking sites rely on an opaque combination of reputation surveys and arbitrary performance metrics. Concentrated Influence provides a ranking that is free from bias, insulated from manipulation, and reflective of real-world educational outcomes.

Find out more about our ranking methodology here.

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We’ve identified 16 affordable colleges and universities in South Carolina, all of which satisfies the following conditions:

  1. It must be fully accredited.
  2. It must offer a broad range of bachelor’s degrees
  3. It must have stated tuition and fees under $16,000/year.

Most Affordable Colleges & Universities in South Carolina

  1. #1

    Clinton College

    #12859 institution's historical influence

    Tuition + fees

    $10K

    Graduation

    8%

    Student body

    <1K

    Rock Hill, SC

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    What is Clinton College known for?

    Clinton College ’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Biology
    • Religious Studies
  2. #2

    University of South Carolina Beaufort

    #4897 institution's historical influence
    #1314 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    67%

    Graduation

    34%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1015/19

    Bluffton, SC

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    What is University of South Carolina Beaufort known for?

    University of South Carolina Beaufort’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Biology
    • Nursing
    • History
    • Psychology
    • Medical
    • Computer Science
    • Literature
    • Mathematics
    • Sociology
  3. #3

    University of South Carolina Aiken

    #5785 institution's historical influence
    #1008 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    56%

    Graduation

    41%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1050/20

    Aiken, SC

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    What is University of South Carolina Aiken known for?

    University of South Carolina Aiken’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Psychology
    • Nursing
    • History
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Medical
    • Political Science
    • Engineering
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

  4. #4

    South Carolina State University

    #1680 institution's historical influence
    #544 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    94%

    Graduation

    30%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    915/16

    Orangeburg, SC

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    What is South Carolina State University known for?

    South Carolina State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Biology
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Business
    • Communications
    • Engineering
    • Medical
    • Mathematics
    • Social Work

    Most Influential Alumni

  5. #5

    Francis Marion University

    #3387 institution's historical influence
    #1269 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    75%

    Graduation

    44%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1005/18

    Florence, SC

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    What is Francis Marion University known for?

    Francis Marion University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Psychology
    • Business
    • Nursing
    • Medical
    • History
    • Literature
    • Political Science
    • Chemistry
    • Physics
  6. #6

    Coastal Carolina University

    #1760 institution's historical influence
    #613 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Acceptance

    70%

    Graduation

    46%

    Student body

    10K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1090/21

    Conway, SC

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    What is Coastal Carolina University known for?

    Coastal Carolina University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Business
    • Literature
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Mathematics
    • Biology
    • Philosophy
    • Economics
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  7. #7

    University of South Carolina Upstate

    #5916 institution's historical influence
    #1231 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Acceptance

    60%

    Graduation

    47%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1015/19

    Spartanburg, SC

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    What is University of South Carolina Upstate known for?

    University of South Carolina Upstate’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Business
    • Education
    • History
    • Communications
    • Medical
    • Engineering
    • Computer Science
    • Mathematics
    • Literature
    • Political Science
  8. #8

    Lander University

    #3902 institution's historical influence
    #913 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $12K

    Acceptance

    57%

    Graduation

    49%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1035/20

    Greenwood, SC

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    What is Lander University known for?

    Lander University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Criminal Justice
    • Nursing
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Sociology
    • Mathematics
    • Communications
    • Biology
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  9. #9

    The Citadel

    #1377 institution's historical influence
    #1218 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $13K

    Acceptance

    80%

    Graduation

    71%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1140/22

    Charleston, SC

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    What is The Citadel known for?

    The Citadel’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Literature
    • Engineering
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Education
    • Medical
    • Mathematics
    • Criminal Justice
    • Chemistry
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

  10. #10

    University of South Carolina

    #286 institution's historical influence
    #1388 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $13K

    Acceptance

    68%

    Graduation

    78%

    Student body

    32K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1275/28

    Columbia, SC

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    What is University of South Carolina known for?

    University of South Carolina’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Medical
    • Law
    • Education
    • Business
    • History
    • Biology
    • Literature
    • Engineering
    • Political Science
    • Chemistry

    Most Influential Alumni

  11. #11

    Voorhees College

    #6955 institution's historical influence
    #1203 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $13K

    Graduation

    41%

    Student body

    <1K

    Denmark, SC

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    What is Voorhees College known for?

    Voorhees College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Medical
    • Communications
    • Literature
    • Mathematics
    • Biology
    • Sociology
    • Criminal Justice
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

  12. #12

    College of Charleston

    #792 institution's historical influence
    #435 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $13K

    Acceptance

    74%

    Graduation

    66%

    Student body

    10K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1170/25

    Charleston, SC

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    What is College of Charleston known for?

    College of Charleston’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Business
    • Education
    • History
    • Engineering
    • Computer Science
    • Political Science
    • Medical
    • Literature
    • Philosophy
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

  13. #13

    Allen University

    #3017 institution's historical influence

    Tuition + fees

    $13K

    Acceptance

    65%

    Graduation

    19%

    Student body

    <1K

    Columbia, SC

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    What is Allen University known for?

    Allen University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Mathematics
    • Religious Studies
    • Literature
    • Sociology
    • Biology
    • Chemistry

    Most Influential Alumni

  14. #14

    Morris College

    #4368 institution's historical influence

    Tuition + fees

    $14K

    Graduation

    26%

    Student body

    <1K

    Sumter, SC

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    What is Morris College known for?

    Morris College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Mathematics
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Criminal Justice
    • Medical
    • Communications
    • Literature
    • Biology
    • Sociology
  15. #15

    Clemson University

    #437 institution's historical influence
    #513 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $16K

    Acceptance

    62%

    Graduation

    85%

    Student body

    24K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1315/29

    Clemson, SC

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    What is Clemson University known for?

    Clemson University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Engineering
    • Business
    • Education
    • Biology
    • History
    • Mathematics
    • Computer Science
    • Literature
    • Medical
    • Chemistry

    Most Influential Alumni

  16. #16

    Winthrop University

    #2575 institution's historical influence
    #1174 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $16K

    Acceptance

    64%

    Graduation

    61%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1055/21

    Rock Hill, SC

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    What is Winthrop University known for?

    Winthrop University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Computer Science
    • Education
    • Business
    • History
    • Medical
    • Political Science
    • Literature
    • Communications
    • Philosophy
    • Biology

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Photo By: Clinton Junior College