The Best Online Colleges in South Carolina

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Online programs are ideal for students who already have full–time jobs and other responsibilities that would make attending class on campus difficult. Distance learning programs allow busy people to prepare for new careers or advance in their current jobs. Online degrees also benefit students who live too far from campus to attend a traditional program. Distance learners save money on transportation, parking, on–campus housing, and other fees. In addition, many online schools in South Carolina offer tuition discounts for online students.

Several colleges in South Carolina offer online degrees, including the University of South Carolina and Limestone College. While there are many majors available, popular options include nursing, healthcare, and business. Some online schools in South Carolina offer degree completion programs for students who already have an associate degree or 60 college credits. Students who don’t want to earn a full degree can complete an online certificate in a specialized field. The list below describes the best online colleges in South Carolina and their available programs.

Four Reasons to Find an Online College in Your State

  1. Guaranteed in–state tuition saves you money
  2. Be a part of a university or college you know and love
  3. Get a degree from a school that employers know and trust
  4. Be close enough to easily visit when desired

Ranking Guidelines for the Best Online Colleges in South Carolina

Best Online Colleges in South Carolina
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We selected the online colleges and universities here based on the quality of their programs, types of courses and degrees offered, faculty strengths, as well as school awards, rankings, and reputation, including a strong reputation for online degree programs.

Note: In ranking the best online colleges in South Carolina, giving attention to the variety of degree programs available at the institutions is of utmost importance. For this reason, a more prestigious school in South Carolina may offer one, or a few online degrees, but that may not be enough for that school to rank highly among the best online colleges in the state. In this ranking, we are dedicated to showing who’s leading the way in delivering quality online degree programs in South Carolina.

The Best Online Colleges in South Carolina

1
University of South Carolina-Columbia
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4

Anderson University 

Anderson, SC

About this school

Anderson University, established in 1911, is a Baptist university. The university has more than 3,000 students in attendance and offer more than 60 programs of study. The university is also one of a handful authorized to train the state’s public school teachers. As part of its curriculum, the university encourages students to take part in one of its study abroad programs. These programs have more than 40 countries available to visit, including Australia, France, Lithuania, Ireland and Costa Rica.

Anderson University offers baccalaureate, master and doctoral degree programs online through its AU Online platform. Online bachelor’s degrees include criminal justice, human services, law enforcement, liberal studies and organizational leadership. Online master’s degree options include education and business administration. Online doctoral degree offerings include ministry.

Online student resources include an online job board, technical support and an online library with librarians available via email, text message, Twitter, Facebook, live chat or over the phone.

5

North Greenville University 

Tigerville, SC

About this school

North Greenville University is a comprehensive Southern Baptist university established in 1891. The university originally opened as a high school and became a college in 1949. In 2006, the college grew into a university, the same year it began offering master’s degrees. Today the university has more than 2,000 students in attendance and offers degrees in a variety of fields. Available majors include topics within mathematics, sports-related professions, science, business, humanities, education, the arts and much more.

North Greenville University offers baccalaureate, master and doctoral degree programs online through its College of Adult Professional Studies. Online bachelor’s degrees include business administration and psychology. Online master’s degree options include multiple topics in education. Online doctoral degree offerings include ministry. Keep checking back as more academic programs will become available soon.

Online student resources include an online job board, technical support and an online library with librarians available via email or over the phone.

6

Columbia International University 

Columbia, SC

About this school

Columbia International University embraces a biblical worldview. The school maintains a 16-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio. Online undergraduate students can choose either an associate of arts or bachelor of science in business. These programs encourage learners to incorporate a biblical worldview into their business and workplace.

CIU also offers 14 online graduate degrees in fields such as intercultural studies, counseling, and education. Business students can complete the online MBA in as few as 18 months. One of the best online colleges in South Carolina for aspiring ministers, CIU offers several graduate degrees focused on religious study. Options include the master's in Bible exposition and the master of divinity.

7

Columbia College 

Columbia, SC

About this school

Columbia College celebrates its 160-year history of educating women. The school continues to provide undergraduate women with a liberal arts curriculum, in addition to specialized programs for co-eds and graduate students. The school offers several fully online, asynchronous degrees for distance learners.

Undergraduates can choose from online majors in criminal justice, nursing, and respiratory care. An exclusively online degree in disaster and emergency management provides learners with the skills necessary to protect communities through preparedness, response, and recovery efforts. Graduate students can opt for the master's degree in athletics coaching or the master's degree in criminal justice. Students supplement classroom learning with mentorship programs and apprenticeships through the school's Center for Entrepreneurship. One of the best online schools in South Carolina for field experiences, Columbia College offers all students study abroad opportunities in Europe and Mexico. The school admits students in the fall, spring, and summer.

8

Citadel Military College of South Carolina 

Charleston, SC

About this school

The Citadel Military College of South Carolina cultivates leaders through military-style education. The Citadel's Corps of Cadets attracts students from around the U.S. and 12 foreign countries. Students learn in classrooms with a 12-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio. Learners with at least 24 transferable credits can complete online bachelor's degrees in business administration, security studies, and criminal justice. The school's intelligence and security studies major focuses on skills coveted by the U.S. intelligence community.

At the graduate level, students can choose fully online master's degrees in subjects such as business administration, intelligence and security studies, and interdisciplinary STEM education. Citadel is one of the only online colleges in SC to offer online certificates in intelligence analysis and military leadership. Online students can access academic support services, an online library, and the career center.

9

Southern Wesleyan University 

Central, SC

About this school

Southern Wesleyan University provides liberal arts and professional education in a Christian community. Affiliated with the Wesleyan Church, SWU sits on a 350-acre campus in Greenville. SWU's 40 areas of study include online, transfer-friendly bachelor's programs in human services, nursing, and early childhood and family studies.

The school's bachelor of science in business administration immerses students in study of business principles and ethics based on a Christian worldview. The BS also allows students to specialize in areas such as accounting, supply chain management, and economics and finance. Graduate students can complete a master's degree in business or education in as few as 20 months. The school also offers certificates and an online doctorate in education. All learners enjoy affordable tuition, small class sizes, and student support services. Unlike most online colleges in South Carolina, SWU does not require graduate applicants to submit GRE scores.

10

Coastal Carolina University 

Conway, SC

About this school

Coastal Carolina University, established in 1954, is a sea-grant university. The university owns part of Waties Island, utilized as a natural research laboratory. The university also features a gifted high school, an online radio station and several sports clubs. To date, the university has more than 9,500 students enrolled and offers programs of study within education, humanities, the arts and science. Interestingly, the university is one of a handful nationwide which offers a PGA Golf Management program.

Coastal Carolina University offers online baccalaureate, master, specialist and certificate programs. Online bachelor’s degrees include health administration and hospitality. Online master’s degrees include literacy and instructional technology. Specialist degree offerings include instructional technology as well. Available certifications include online teaching and training, business foundations and ESOL.

Online student resources include online writing video tutorials, technical support and an online library with librarians available via live chat, email, text message or over the phone.

11

University of South Carolina-Upstate 

Spartanburg, SC

About this school

The University of South Carolina Upstate, established in 1967, came about after the Spartanburg General Hospital discontinued its nursing degree program. The university obtained much popularity in a short amount of time; it earned the ability to grant four-year degrees by 1975, just eight years after it opened its doors. Today, the university has more than 5,000 students in attendance and offers programs of study within medicine, education, business, the arts and science.

Through its Upstate Online platform, the University of South Carolina Upstate offers upper-division degree completion programs at the baccalaureate and master’s levels. Bachelor’s degree options include nursing, criminal justice, information management systems and engineering, while master’s degree offerings include multiple topics in education.

Online student resources include online writing tutoring, technical support over the phone and an online library with librarians available via live chat, text message and over the phone.

12

Claflin University 

Orangeburg, SC

About this school

The state's first historically black college, Claflin University welcomes students and faculty from 43 countries. The school's catalog includes 36 undergraduate majors and six online degrees. Options include criminal justice, nursing, and education. The online bachelor's in psychology provides learners with an interdisciplinary education that includes study of general education, core research areas in psychology, and applications for real-world contexts. Psychology majors can engage in extracurricular academic and social activities through the Psychology Club and Psi Chi.

Students with at least 45 transferable credits can enroll in the bachelor of science in organizational management, a degree that covers areas such as statistics, accounting, finance, and organizational theory and behavior. Graduate students can choose a degree in curriculum design, business, or criminal justice. One of the best online colleges in South Carolina for out-of-state students, Claflin charges the same tuition rate regardless of residency status.

13

Lander University 

Greenwood, SC

About this school

Lander University uses an experiential learning model that promotes student engagement. Approximately 3,000 students enroll in the school's 60 liberal arts and science programs. A leader in nursing education for 50 years, Lander is one of the top online colleges in South Carolina for BSN students. The school's RN-to-BSN focuses on community healthcare, research, and leadership. RNs fulfill the program's clinical experiences at facilities in their communities. Some nurses who complete the RN-to-BSN choose to enroll in the school's master of science in nursing.

Lander also offers online graduate degrees in teaching and emergency management. The master's in teaching and learning features specializations in instructional technology, diverse learners, or exercise and sports studies. The master of science in emergency management prepares students to assist their communities when natural or manmade disasters strike.

14

Newberry College 

Newberry, SC

About this school

Students at Newberry College receive a challenging education rooted in the Lutheran liberal arts tradition. Newberry is unique among online schools in SC for its focus on mental and physical health. The school offers three online programs in nursing, respiratory therapy, and psychology.

Registered nurses with an associate degree or nursing diploma can complete the RN-to-BSN in as little as 12 months. Courses last seven-and-a-half weeks each. Newberry accepts a large number of transfer credits. The school also grants credits for prior life experiences such as training, work, or military service. All online students pay the same tuition rate regardless of in-state or out-of-state residency.

15

University of South Carolina-Beaufort 

Bluffton, SC

About this school

The University of South Carolina Beaufort dates back to the 1700s. The school's 30 academic programs feature rigorous coursework, experiential learning opportunities, and cutting-edge technology and resources. Through USCB and Palmetto College, students with 60 or more credits can complete degrees completely online. Options include business administration and criminal justice.

The bachelor of science in health promotion prepares healthcare professionals to address issues such as chronic diseases, substance abuse, and depression. The BS in human services draws on sociology and psychology to create a dynamic degree plan that can lead to careers social services and social work. USCB boasts the most affordable tuition out of all four-year online schools in South Carolina. The school admits students in the fall, spring, and summer.

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End of list, bravo!

The Most Affordable Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs in South Carolina

Most Affordable Bachelor's Degrees in South Carolina
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Many college–bound students flock to South Carolina for its exciting higher learning opportunities. While there are a variety of affordable online colleges in South Carolina, the cheapest online college may not always be the best option. Students should weigh several factors, including the quality of instruction and reputation of the school. Ultimately, students should not simply choose the cheapest online degree but explore the best values in career–preparation programs.

The Most Affordable Online Bachelor's Programs in South Carolina

1
University of South Carolina - Aiken
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North Greenville University 

Greer, SC

About this school

From its Greer campus and online, NGU features Christian programs with an emphasis on lifelong learning and service. The university enrolls more than 2,500 students and offers dozens of bachelor's and master's programs, including 11 undergraduate degrees and certificates online. NGU ranks among the most affordable online colleges in South Carolina and the best regional universities in the South, according to U.S. News & World Report.

Students at least 22 years old seeking nontraditional undergraduate coursework can complete a variety of bachelor's degrees online. NGU offers baccalaureate programs in business and leadership, Christian ministries, criminal justice, elementary educational studies, psychology-applied, and general studies. Additionally, the university offers one-year professional certificates in subjects like church planting and professional investigations.

NGU charges the same per-credit tuition rate to online students, regardless of their state of residence. The university awards financial aid to qualifying enrollees based primarily on their financial need, according to their FAFSA. Applicants may also pursue the Martin Timothy Brashier Scholars program, funding the first 12 credit hours of a qualifying degree at NGU.

Online students can complete courses through the Blackboard learning management system. Courses generally last for eight weeks. Students can access a variety of support resources throughout the e-learning process, such as technical, library, and career services. NGU assigns students a dedicated advisor from admission to completion of the online program.

5

Clemson University 

Clemson, SC

About this school

Set at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Clemson offers 80 majors across seven academic schools through traditional programs on campus, in addition to online and blended delivery options. The university enrolls nearly 20,000 undergraduate students, ranking Clemson among the largest and most affordable online colleges in South Carolina.

A student can complete a bachelor of science in electrical engineering or an RN-to-BSN bridge nursing degree through Clemson Online. Distance learners may also complete a variety of undergraduate certificates in renewable energy disciplines, offered through the Holcombe Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. The university also delivers dozens of individual courses online and as part of blended programs through its participation in the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement.

Applicants to the online engineering degree-completion program at Clemson must satisfy prerequisites and hold a grade of at least "B" in all completed credits. A prospective RN-to-BS student should hold an associate degree in nursing and a current nursing license, meeting all prerequisites with a minimum cumulative 2.75 GPA to qualify for admission. Full-time nursing students can complete their degrees online in as little as 12 months.

Students can complete courses online through the Canvas learning management system. Clemson provides a variety of interactive support tools for distance learners, such as assessment services, web conferencing, cloud storage, and group collaboration forums. The university welcomes new students to participate in its annual "e-learning day," an online webinar/orientation to introduce the university's digital learning environment.

6

Southern Wesleyan University 

Central, SC

About this school

One of only five universities across the U.S. established by the principles of the Wesleyan Church, SWU occupies 350 acres in Central, South Carolina. Students can choose from Christian programs in over 40 areas of study, including online associate and bachelor's degrees. The university boasts low tuition rates for private, nonprofit higher education, ranking SWU among the most affordable online colleges in South Carolina.

Students can choose from online bachelor's degrees in business administration, early childhood and family studies, human services, and nursing (RN-BSN bridge). Business administration majors may select one of seven concentrations in subjects like accounting and supply chain management. Distance learners studying human services can specialize in administration, counseling, criminal justice, or marriage and family services.

SWU maintains a generous credit-transfer policy for applicants to online bachelor's degrees. Prospective students may submit completed college coursework for admission consideration, provided they plan to complete at least 25% of required coursework at SWU. Enrollees can begin an online program at their choice of multiple start dates offered throughout the year.

Online learners can complete courses through the Canvas learning platform. Distance programs follow SWU's traditional 15-week terms, with each term comprising seven-week courses, or sub-terms. Students can enroll in courses during the fall, spring, and summer terms. Most full-time distance learners take one course per sub-term. Courses may require a combination of asynchronous and synchronous participation. Students pay the same per-credit tuition rate for online undergraduate coursework, regardless of the student's state of residence.

7

Coastal Carolina University 

Conway, SC

About this school

Located near the resort town of Myrtle Beach, CCU enrolls more than 10,600 students on a 620-acre campus and through Coastal Online. Students can choose from undergraduate and graduate degrees and certificates in more than 74 fields of study, including several bachelor's degrees available in a fully online format. U.S. News & World Report ranks CCU among the best online bachelor's programs; CCU also ranked among SR Education Group's top military-friendly online colleges in 2018.

The Coastal Office of Online Learning (COOL) offers a BS in health administration, a BSBA in hospitality, and a BSBA in marketing online. Additionally, students can earn certificates in geospatial technologies through COOL at CCU. Online learners can take courses during the spring, "Maymester," summer I, summer II, and fall terms. The BSBA in marketing online qualifies as a degree completion program and thus requires applicants to meet prerequisites, including previous college credits.

CCU charges different tuition rates based on whether a student enrolls full or part time and whether the student resides in state or out of state. While out-of-state students generally pay a higher rate, online students pay a low per-credit rate for part-time coursework and summer classes. The university ranks among the most affordable online colleges in South Carolina for its numerous scholarships, merit awards, and summer-specific financial aid options.

Online students complete coursework through the Moodle learning management system. Learners may also access their accounts, communicate with instructors, and discuss coursework with peers on social media using the Moodle mobile app. Coastal Online offers comprehensive support resources such as tech assistance, career services, counseling, and veterans and disability services.

8

Columbia International University 

Columbia, SC

About this school

Founded in 1923 in Columbia, CIU ranks among the best and most affordable online colleges in South Carolina. Students can choose from more than 30 undergraduate and graduate degrees and certificates offered online. The university enrolls more than 1,000 students seeking Christ-centered service and learning programs.

CIU offers online bachelor of science degrees in business and human services. Each bachelor of science degree encompasses 120 credit hours and takes approximately four years to complete. Both programs require each student to complete a biblical studies core course sequence, along with general education and major course requirements. Each applicant should submit official transcripts from high school or previous college coursework and hold a minimum 2.0 GPA.

In addition to online bachelor's degrees, CIU offers associate degrees, an undergraduate certificate, master's degrees, doctoral degrees, and graduate certificates online. Students pay a set, per-credit tuition rate for online programs depending on their major, regardless of the student's state of residence. CIU offers a tuition payment plan for students, with interest-free monthly installments and a one-time enrollment fee.

Distance students can complete courses in the Canvas learning management system. Instructors create their own syllabus and deadlines for each course, potentially requiring both synchronous and asynchronous course participation. Enrollees can complete online courses as members of a cohort group. Online courses follow a nontraditional academic schedule and offer multiple start dates throughout the year.

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End of list, bravo!

The Most Affordable Online Associate Degree Programs in South Carolina

Most Affordable Associate Degrees in South Carolina
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Many college–bound students flock to South Carolina for its exciting higher learning opportunities. While there are a variety of affordable online colleges in South Carolina, the cheapest online college may not always be the best option. Students should weigh several factors, including the quality of instruction and reputation of the school. Ultimately, students should not simply choose the cheapest online degree but explore the best values in career–preparation programs.

The Most Affordable Online Associate Programs in South Carolina

1
Spartanburg Community College
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4

Horry-Georgetown Technical College 

Conway, SC

About this school

Founded in 1966, HGTC focuses on providing the latest career training in technical fields. The college offers more than 10 online and hybrid programs, with additional individual courses delivered online. Students can take classes in person in Georgetown, Conway, or Myrtle Beach, or online through the Distance Learning Institute.

HGTC enables students to seamlessly transfer credits earned through online programs to bachelor's, master's, and professional degrees at local schools. Partnering transfer institutions in South Carolina include Clemson, Charleston Southern, Frances Marion, and Coastal Carolina. A student may work with an advisor to develop a customized major area of study through an online associate of arts or associate of science degree.

Distance learners can also enroll in one of three fully online associate in applied science (AAS) degrees in accounting, administrative office technology, or business administration, or a certificate in medical administrative assistant or medical coding and billing. HGTC offers hybrid AAS degrees in criminal justice technology, crime scene investigation, and sports tourism and recreation management, in addition to a hybrid certificate in massage therapy.

Students can complete online coursework through a combination of synchronous and asynchronous learning in the D2L platform. HGTC provides learning support through resources such as online orientation, counseling, and advising services. Students can also access tech support and training through live chat services during normal business hours. The college offers tuition payment plans and scholarships based on merit and for military and veteran students.

5

Midlands Technical College 

West Columbia, SC

About this school

Among the largest two-year schools in the South Carolina technical college system, MTC enrolls more than 18,000 students across six campuses statewide. The college prides itself on promoting innovative career programs with a focus on transferring to a four-year degree. MTC offers more than 100 degrees and certificates, each with roughly 70% of the curriculum in a technical career field.

MTC students can choose from associate in arts (AA), associate in science (AS), and criminal justice degrees, in addition to a criminal justice certificate online. Distance learners can transfer completed AA and AS coursework to four-year programs in majors such as business, education, or social science. Additionally, MTC offers online courses in 12 academic categories, including accounting/finance language and arts, and technology.

MTC belongs to SCTechConnect, a statewide higher learning conglomerate focused on providing affordable, transfer-friendly online programs. The college also participates in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements, which enables students in member states outside of South Carolina to enroll in MTC courses online.

Distance learners at MTC can complete courses through the D2L Brightspace learning management system. Students can access virtual learning resources, including counseling and career services, online tutoring, and workshops through MTC's Life Skills Center. The college supports financial aid through veterans educational benefits and MTC Foundation Scholarships, in addition to honoring the tax credit for South Carolina students paying state tuition.

6

Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College 

Orangeburg, SC

About this school

Established in Orangeburg in 1968, OCtech ranks among the best and most affordable online colleges in South Carolina. Students can choose from dozens of programs over eight academic areas, including 10 online degrees and certificates. OCtech is committed to providing high-quality programs and small class sizes, both on campus and online.

OCtech offers online associate of science and associate of arts degrees in four major areas of study: administrative office technology, business administration in accounting, business administration in enterprise management, and criminal justice. Additionally, online students can complete certificates in general studies, logistics, or basic accounting, along with diplomas in administrative support.

The college also offers several individual six-week courses through Ed2Go in topics such as college readiness, technology, and language arts. OCtech charges tuition based on whether a student enrolls full or part time and whether they reside in Orangeburg or Calhoun counties, in another county in South Carolina, or out of state. The school awards scholarships through the OCtech Foundation and may provide lottery tuition assistance to qualifying students.

Online students can complete courses in the Desire2Learn platform. OCtech provides support specifically for first-year students learning online, such as a virtual orientation, workshops, and online learning tips. Additionally, students can access counseling services, tutoring opportunities, and career services. The college also offers free student support services through the TRiO Program.

7

Technical College of the Lowcountry 

Beaufort, SC

About this school

With a tuition rate of roughly half the cost of comparable public universities, TCL ranks among the most affordable online colleges in South Carolina. The college enrolls more than 2,200 students across a four-county service area and campuses in Beaufort, Hampton, New River, and online. Students can choose from nine online programs and dozens of individual courses available in the virtual classroom.

The Online College represents the newest campus in the TCL system. Distance learners can earn an associate degree completely online in administrative office technology, general business, computer technology, or criminal justice technology, or customize their major in an associate of arts degree. Students can also complete a diploma in administrative support online.

Additionally, its online program offers six certificates, including certifications for medical office assistant, advanced healthcare case management, office applications for business and industry, liberal arts core, criminal justice and law, and general education. Students can attend class online on their computer, smartphone, or tablet through TCL's distance learning portal. The Online College also provides continuing education career training opportunities through Ed2Go.

Students can complete courses through the Blackboard learning management system and access tech support, as well as a tutoring center, personal counseling, and disability services for online learners. TCL participates in the lottery tuition assistance program and honors veterans benefits and tuition payment plans. The college also offers LIFE, SC Promise, and Building a Better Beaufort scholarships.

8

Piedmont Technical College 

Greenwood, SC

About this school

Founded in 1966, PTC maintains campuses in each of its seven service counties. The college boasts an open admission policy and diverse career programs in a variety of trades, including agriculture, engineering, healthcare, and business information technology. Students can choose from dozens of technical programs on campus, in addition to six associate degrees and two certificates available entirely online.

Distance learners at PTC can complete AS, AA, or AAS degrees, along with certificates in funeral service education or office service technician. The AS and AA degrees encompass general education curriculum to prepare students to transfer to four-year programs in majors of their choice. Learners who choose the AS program may prepare for baccalaureate study in fields such as pre-med or engineering, while AA students tend to major in the humanities or social science disciplines.

PTC also offers an online AAS degree in administrative office technology, with further accounting, legal, or medical concentrations. Students can search the PTC database for additional hybrid courses in their major or subject of choice. Courses may last for eight or 16 weeks, with some "late start" courses spanning a special 10-week term. PTC enrolls learners in the fall, spring, and summer semesters.

Students can complete courses online in the D2L learning management system. Support resources for distance learners include tutoring, proctoring services, and tech assistance for D2L and the student portal. PTC participates in the lottery tuition assistance program and offers a variety of scholarships, primarily favoring a student who completes a minimum of 12 credit hours toward their major and maintains a minimum 2.5 GPA.

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End of list, bravo!

Additional Online Colleges in South Carolina Featured on TBS

Bob Jones University

Clemson University

Francis Marion University

Furman University

Medical University of South Carolina

Technical College of the Lowcountry

Trident Technical College

Wofford College

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