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.

Find out exactly what you should be paid
RankSchool Name20 Year Net ROI
Total 4 Year Cost
Graduation Rate
Typical Years to Graduate
Average Loan Amount
Rank:1School Name:20 Year Net ROI:$491,000Total 4 Year Cost:$107,000Graduation Rate:69%Typical Years to Graduate:4Average Loan Amount:$31,600
Rank:2School Name:20 Year Net ROI:$483,000Total 4 Year Cost:$114,000Graduation Rate:81%Typical Years to Graduate:4Average Loan Amount:$33,300
Rank:3School Name:20 Year Net ROI:$411,000Total 4 Year Cost:$187,000Graduation Rate:69%Typical Years to Graduate:4Average Loan Amount:$31,600
Rank:4School Name:
Clemson University (Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI:$408,000Total 4 Year Cost:$188,000Graduation Rate:81%Typical Years to Graduate:4Average Loan Amount:$33,300
Rank:5School Name:20 Year Net ROI:$266,000Total 4 Year Cost:$240,000Graduation Rate:84%Typical Years to Graduate:4Average Loan Amount:$30,900
Rank:6School Name:20 Year Net ROI:$252,000Total 4 Year Cost:$103,000Graduation Rate:73%Typical Years to Graduate:4Average Loan Amount:$32,200
Rank:7School Name:20 Year Net ROI:$202,000Total 4 Year Cost:$93,800Graduation Rate:42%Typical Years to Graduate:5Average Loan Amount:$25,600
Rank:8School Name:
Wofford College (Private)
20 Year Net ROI:$199,000Total 4 Year Cost:$210,000Graduation Rate:80%Typical Years to Graduate:4Average Loan Amount:$28,600
Rank:9School Name:20 Year Net ROI:$187,000Total 4 Year Cost:$153,000Graduation Rate:33%Typical Years to Graduate:5Average Loan Amount:$46,000
Rank:10School Name:20 Year Net ROI:$177,000Total 4 Year Cost:$177,000Graduation Rate:73%Typical Years to Graduate:4Average Loan Amount:$32,200

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.