Best Value Colleges in South Carolina

South Carolina is known for its southern charm, beaches, rich history and its world-famous barbeque, but there’s a lot more that makes the Palmetto State great, especially when it comes to affordable educations that pay off. South Carolina is home to over 61 colleges and universities, both the public and private variety. With so many colleges to choose from, it’s important to know which ones give you the biggest bang for your buck. Use PayScale’s College ROI as a guide to find out which colleges have the highest 20-year net ROI, which is the amount of money a person will make upon graduation from that particular school in 20 years.

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Rank
School Name
Annual ROI
20 Year ROI annualized to represent the % of expected ROI received each year after graduation.
Annual ROI
20 Year ROI annualized to represent the % of expected ROI received each year after graduation.
Annual ROI
20 Year ROI annualized to represent the % of expected ROI received each year after graduation.
Annual ROI
20 Year ROI annualized to represent the % of expected ROI received each year after graduation.
20 Year Net ROI
 
Difference between 20 Year Median Pay for a bachelor’s grad and 24 Year Median Pay for a high school grad minus Total 4 Year Cost.
20 Year Net ROI
Difference between 20 Year Median Pay for a bachelor’s grad and 24 Year Median Pay for a high school grad minus Total 4 Year Cost.
20 Year Net ROI
Difference between 20 Year Median Pay for a bachelor’s grad and 24 Year Median Pay for a high school grad minus Total 4 Year Cost.
20 Year Net ROI
Difference between 20 Year Median Pay for a bachelor’s grad and 24 Year Median Pay for a high school grad minus Total 4 Year Cost.
Total 4 Year Cost
Full cost, including tuition & fees, room & board, and books & supplies. Actual net cost may vary based on a student’s academic success and family income. Source: IPEDS
Total 4 Year Cost
Full cost, including tuition & fees, room & board, and books & supplies. Actual net cost may vary based on a student’s academic success and family income. Source: IPEDS
Graduation Rate
% of full-time, first-time degree seeking undergrad students who began their studies at the given school and graduate within 6 years. Source: IPEDS
Typical Years to Graduate
# of years it takes for at least 65 percent of graduates from a given school to receive their diplomas. Source: IPEDS
Average Loan Amount
Received by full-time, first-time degree seeking undergrad students, multiplied to represent amount over four years. Includes all Title IV loans and all institutionally- and privately-sponsored student loans. Source: IPEDS
% Grant Money Received
% of full-time, first-time undergrads who received local, state, federal, or institutional grant aid in the 2012-2013 academic year. Source: IPEDS
18.4%8.5%10.9%11.1%$461,000$463,000$503,000$505,000$114,000$113,00081%4$33,30016%
1Clemson University(In-State)
Annual ROI8.4%
Annual ROI8.5%
Annual ROI10.9%
Annual ROI11.1%
20 Year Net ROI$461,000
20 Year Net ROI$463,000
20 Year Net ROI$503,000
20 Year Net ROI$505,000
Total 4 Year Cost$114,000
Total 4 Year Cost$113,000
Grad Rate81%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$33,300
Grant Money Received16%
28.6%N/A11.8%N/A$449,000N/A$495,000N/A$107,000N/A69%4$31,60021%
2Citadel Military College of South Carolina(In-State)
Annual ROI8.6%
Annual ROIN/A
Annual ROI11.8%
Annual ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$449,000
20 Year Net ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$495,000
20 Year Net ROIN/A
Total 4 Year Cost$107,000
Total 4 Year CostN/A
Grad Rate69%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$31,600
Grant Money Received21%
35.7%5.8%7.1%7.1%$387,000$388,000$429,000$430,000$188,000$187,00081%4$33,30016%
3Clemson University(Out-of-State)
Annual ROI5.7%
Annual ROI5.8%
Annual ROI7.1%
Annual ROI7.1%
20 Year Net ROI$387,000
20 Year Net ROI$388,000
20 Year Net ROI$429,000
20 Year Net ROI$430,000
Total 4 Year Cost$188,000
Total 4 Year Cost$187,000
Grad Rate81%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$33,300
Grant Money Received16%
45.6%N/A7.1%N/A$369,000N/A$415,000N/A$187,000N/A69%4$31,60021%
4Citadel Military College of South Carolina(Out-of-State)
Annual ROI5.6%
Annual ROIN/A
Annual ROI7.1%
Annual ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$369,000
20 Year Net ROIN/A
20 Year Net ROI$415,000
20 Year Net ROIN/A
Total 4 Year Cost$187,000
Total 4 Year CostN/A
Grad Rate69%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$31,600
Grant Money Received21%
53.8%3.8%7.4%7.4%$267,000$267,000$385,000$385,000$240,000$240,00084%4$30,90013%
5Furman University(Private)
Annual ROI3.8%
Annual ROI3.8%
Annual ROI7.4%
Annual ROI7.4%
20 Year Net ROI$267,000
20 Year Net ROI$267,000
20 Year Net ROI$385,000
20 Year Net ROI$385,000
Total 4 Year Cost$240,000
Total 4 Year Cost$240,000
Grad Rate84%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$30,900
Grant Money Received13%
66.1%6.0%7.6%7.3%$237,000$233,000$261,000$258,000$103,000$107,00073%4$32,20017%
6University of South Carolina-Columbia(In-State)
Annual ROI6.1%
Annual ROI6.0%
Annual ROI7.6%
Annual ROI7.3%
20 Year Net ROI$237,000
20 Year Net ROI$233,000
20 Year Net ROI$261,000
20 Year Net ROI$258,000
Total 4 Year Cost$103,000
Total 4 Year Cost$107,000
Grad Rate73%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$32,200
Grant Money Received17%
73.6%3.9%7.5%8.3%$213,000$227,000$324,000$338,000$210,000$196,00080%4$28,60017%
7Wofford College(Private)
Annual ROI3.6%
Annual ROI3.9%
Annual ROI7.5%
Annual ROI8.3%
20 Year Net ROI$213,000
20 Year Net ROI$227,000
20 Year Net ROI$324,000
20 Year Net ROI$338,000
Total 4 Year Cost$210,000
Total 4 Year Cost$196,000
Grad Rate80%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$28,600
Grant Money Received17%
85.7%5.0%7.8%6.7%$189,000$176,000$219,000$206,000$93,800$107,00042%5$25,60056%
8University of South Carolina-Upstate(In-State)
Annual ROI5.7%
Annual ROI5.0%
Annual ROI7.8%
Annual ROI6.7%
20 Year Net ROI$189,000
20 Year Net ROI$176,000
20 Year Net ROI$219,000
20 Year Net ROI$206,000
Total 4 Year Cost$93,800
Total 4 Year Cost$107,000
Grad Rate42%
Time to Graduate5
Loan Amt$25,600
Grant Money Received56%
93.7%4.0%6.4%6.8%$164,000$171,000$225,000$232,000$153,000$146,00033%5$46,00053%
9Limestone College(Private)
Annual ROI3.7%
Annual ROI4.0%
Annual ROI6.4%
Annual ROI6.8%
20 Year Net ROI$164,000
20 Year Net ROI$171,000
20 Year Net ROI$225,000
20 Year Net ROI$232,000
Total 4 Year Cost$153,000
Total 4 Year Cost$146,000
Grad Rate33%
Time to Graduate5
Loan Amt$46,000
Grant Money Received53%
103.3%3.2%4.1%4.0%$163,000$159,000$187,000$184,000$177,000$181,00073%4$32,20017%
10University of South Carolina-Columbia(Out-of-State)
Annual ROI3.3%
Annual ROI3.2%
Annual ROI4.1%
Annual ROI4.0%
20 Year Net ROI$163,000
20 Year Net ROI$159,000
20 Year Net ROI$187,000
20 Year Net ROI$184,000
Total 4 Year Cost$177,000
Total 4 Year Cost$181,000
Grad Rate73%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$32,200
Grant Money Received17%
113.7%3.3%5.1%4.4%$147,000$134,000$177,000$164,000$136,000$149,00042%5$25,60056%
11University of South Carolina-Upstate(Out-of-State)
Annual ROI3.7%
Annual ROI3.3%
Annual ROI5.1%
Annual ROI4.4%
20 Year Net ROI$147,000
20 Year Net ROI$134,000
20 Year Net ROI$177,000
20 Year Net ROI$164,000
Total 4 Year Cost$136,000
Total 4 Year Cost$149,000
Grad Rate42%
Time to Graduate5
Loan Amt$25,600
Grant Money Received56%
124.6%4.6%6.8%6.7%$141,000$141,000$173,000$173,000$95,700$96,00042%5$36,10035%
12Coastal Carolina University(In-State)
Annual ROI4.6%
Annual ROI4.6%
Annual ROI6.8%
Annual ROI6.7%
20 Year Net ROI$141,000
20 Year Net ROI$141,000
20 Year Net ROI$173,000
20 Year Net ROI$173,000
Total 4 Year Cost$95,700
Total 4 Year Cost$96,000
Grad Rate42%
Time to Graduate5
Loan Amt$36,100
Grant Money Received35%
134.8%4.5%6.5%6.1%$138,000$133,000$163,000$158,000$88,900$94,20024%5$25,80048%
13University of South Carolina-Beaufort(In-State)
Annual ROI4.8%
Annual ROI4.5%
Annual ROI6.5%
Annual ROI6.1%
20 Year Net ROI$138,000
20 Year Net ROI$133,000
20 Year Net ROI$163,000
20 Year Net ROI$158,000
Total 4 Year Cost$88,900
Total 4 Year Cost$94,200
Grad Rate24%
Time to Graduate5
Loan Amt$25,800
Grant Money Received48%
144.1%4.4%6.5%6.8%$133,000$137,000$172,000$176,000$106,000$102,00058%4$28,10044%
14Winthrop University(In-State)
Annual ROI4.1%
Annual ROI4.4%
Annual ROI6.5%
Annual ROI6.8%
20 Year Net ROI$133,000
20 Year Net ROI$137,000
20 Year Net ROI$172,000
20 Year Net ROI$176,000
Total 4 Year Cost$106,000
Total 4 Year Cost$102,000
Grad Rate58%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$28,100
Grant Money Received44%
153.3%3.8%7.2%8.2%$130,000$142,000$203,000$215,000$141,000$129,00060%4$27,30051%
15Southern Wesleyan University(Private)
Annual ROI3.3%
Annual ROI3.8%
Annual ROI7.2%
Annual ROI8.2%
20 Year Net ROI$130,000
20 Year Net ROI$142,000
20 Year Net ROI$203,000
20 Year Net ROI$215,000
Total 4 Year Cost$141,000
Total 4 Year Cost$129,000
Grad Rate60%
Time to Graduate4
Loan Amt$27,300
Grant Money Received51%

* N/A indicates school does not have an on campus living option.

Although military college isn’t the most traditional path for students, it’s hard to pass up The Citadel Military College of South Carolina due to it’s perrenially high ROI. Students who enroll at The Citadel can choose from 19 majors and 36 minors. When pursuing your degree at The Citadel, you will be expected to participate in cadet training in addition to your academic classes, which focuses on leadership, weapons, drill and discipline. There are even non-cadet level undergraduate programs available here if you have the specific qualifications.

If a military-style school isn’t your cup of tea, perhaps you should consider a more traditional college like Clemson University. Football buffs will love attending the home of the Tigers, Clemson’s long-winning football team. At Clemson, the majority of students choose to study in the fields of engineering and science. For those who decide to make Clemson their home, there is a large number of student activities. Clemson students enjoy a variety of intramural sports and an active Greek life system. Around 23 percent of students are involved in Greek life at Clemson. Another perk of attending a big school like Clemson is the massive number of celebrations that happen throughout the year; from homecoming to Tiger Prowl, there is something for everyone at Clemson.

Drive two hours down interstate 26 and you will hit the University of South Carolina. This research university was founded in 1801, and the most popular area of study for USC students is in the arts and sciences program, with the school of business as a runner-up. Much like many other prominent southern colleges, USC has a large and active Greek system with traditional off-campus housing.


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