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.  Read More

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1Clemson University(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$492,000
Total 4 Year Cost$112,000
Grad Rate82%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$30,500
2Clemson University(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$423,000
Total 4 Year Cost$181,000
Grad Rate82%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$30,500
3University of South Carolina - Main Campus(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$277,000
Total 4 Year Cost$97,300
Grad Rate73%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$28,200
4University of South Carolina - Upstate Campus(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$245,000
Total 4 Year Cost$89,300
Grad Rate38%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$24,400
5University of South Carolina - Main Campus(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$207,000
Total 4 Year Cost$167,000
Grad Rate73%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$28,200
6University of South Carolina - Upstate Campus(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$206,000
Total 4 Year Cost$129,000
Grad Rate38%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$24,400
7Limestone College(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$166,000
Total 4 Year Cost$143,000
Grad Rate28%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$38,300
8College of Charleston(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$165,000
Total 4 Year Cost$103,000
Grad Rate67%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$27,100
9Bob Jones University(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$145,000
Total 4 Year Cost$98,700
Grad Rate71%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$21,900
10Francis Marion University(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$110,000
Total 4 Year Cost$89,700
Grad Rate41%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$27,800
11Winthrop University(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$108,000
Total 4 Year Cost$100,000
Grad Rate51%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$30,300
12College of Charleston(Out-of-State)
20 Year Net ROI$102,000
Total 4 Year Cost$167,000
Grad Rate67%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$27,100
13Charleston Southern University (CSU)(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$99,500
Total 4 Year Cost$140,000
Grad Rate34%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$32,800
14Southern Wesleyan University (SWU)(Private)
20 Year Net ROI$99,400
Total 4 Year Cost$134,000
Grad Rate49%
Time to Graduate4 Years
Loan Amt$28,200
15Coastal Carolina University(In-State)
20 Year Net ROI$83,200
Total 4 Year Cost$90,800
Grad Rate45%
Time to Graduate5 Years
Loan Amt$35,100

*NOTE: Unranked schools on this list don’t have on-campus living options, so on-campus costs are not available.

South Carolina is home to over 61 colleges and universities, both of 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.

First on the list is The Citadel Military College of South Carolina, The Citadel also ranks highly nationally at 113 for ROI. The cost to attend The Citadel is $101,000 for in-state students. Alumni from this school report a median 20 year-net ROI of $523,000 which is the largest ROI in South Carolina. Although military college isn't the most traditional path for students, it's hard to pass up with this kind of value. 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, which ranks second in South Carolina for best ROI. In-state students will pay $112,000 to attend Clemson, but alumni report a median 20-year net ROI of $423,000. 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% 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 third best value school in the Palmetto State, the University of South Carolina. USC has one of the lowest in-state tuition rates in the state, at $97,300 for in-state students. 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. Alumni from USC report a median 20-year net ROI of $277,000.