South Carolina Colleges and Schools

South Carolina offers college-bound students many higher education options from which to choose:

  • 13 public, four-year universities
  • 20 public, two-year colleges
  • 23 private, nonprofit schools
  • Almost two dozen for-profit schools

Most two-year public universities in South Carolina are technical schools and the South Carolina Technical College System (SCTCS) is the state's largest higher education system. The majority of private, two-year colleges are beauty and barbering vocational schools.

Twenty-one of the private colleges in South Carolina offer four-year degree programs. Almost all of them belong to the South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (SCICU) system.

South Carolina Colleges: A Few Highlights

The University of South Carolina (USC) is one of only 32 public universities in the U.S. to earn the Carnegie Foundation's top rankings in research and community engagement. It is also highly ranked by publications such as Kiplinger's, Inc. and U.S. News & World Report.

Perhaps the best-known private university in the state is Clemson University, which boasts impressive rankings and a rich history. Founded as a military school in 1896, Clemson is today known for its science and engineering programs.

Education Initiatives in South Carolina

South Carolina participates in the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA), which sets national standards for distance education, making it easier for students to take online courses offered by postsecondary institutions based in other states.

And, through the state's dual enrollment program, high school students can take college courses for college credit, while meeting high school graduation requirements.

South Carolina's membership in the Academic Common Market, administered by the Southern Regional Education Board, allows eligible residents to pay in-state tuition for specific programs offered in other states.

For more information, visit the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education.


  • South Carolina Commission on Higher Education, Accessed April 2018,
  • National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator, Accessed April 2018,
  •, Accessed April 2018,
  • Clemson University, Accessed April 2018,
  • University of South Carolina, Accessed April 2018,
Education Institutes in South Carolina
Total Number of Educational Institutes
Total Enrollment in all institutes
Number of Public Educational Institutes
Number of Private For-Profit Institutes
Number of Private Non-Profit Institutes
Graduation Rate
Total Graduates With Bachelors Degree
On Campus and Online Programs in South Carolina
Number of Institutes Offering on-campus programs
Number of Institutes Offering on-line programs
Number of Institutes Offering both

Source: Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2018-19, National Center for Education Statistics,