Where Did Tim Scott Go to College?

The South Carolina senator and 2024 presidential candidate went to Presbyterian College for a year before attending Charleston Southern University to study political science.
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Published on June 1, 2023
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  • South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott announced May 22 that he is running for president in 2024.
  • Scott went to Presbyterian College in South Carolina for a year before attending Charleston Southern University to get a bachelor's degree in political science.
  • Scott has introduced several bills to increase opportunities for students attending HBCUs.

Republican South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott chose a familiar spot to announce his candidacy for president: His alma mater Charleston Southern University.

Education has been a top issue for Scott throughout his political career, and he has been critical of President Joe Biden's education policies. He called Biden's plan to forgive student loan debt a "politically-motivated giveaway." And last March, he joined Republican lawmakers to introduce legislation to overturn Biden's debt forgiveness plan and end the pause on student loan payments, which is set to expire this summer.

"President Biden continues to push inflationary and regressive policies at the expense of hardworking Americans," Scott said at the time. "The truth of the matter is this proposal shifts the responsibility from white-collar borrowers to blue-collar taxpayers — this isn't right."

South Carolina Roots

Scott often refers to his mother's experience as to why he does not support student loan forgiveness, saying that those who did not attend college should not be responsible for paying the debt of those who chose to do so.

"Hardworking Americans like my mom and millions of others should not be responsible for this politically-motivated giveaway," he said in a statement reacting to Biden's proposed plan. "It does nothing to solve the cost of higher education and will only pour more fuel on an overheated economy."

Scott started his college career in 1983 at Presbyterian College in Clinton, South Carolina, where he attended on a partial football scholarship. He attended Charleston Southern University, a private, Christian institution the next year and graduated in 1988 with a bachelor's degree in political science.

In his memoir, Scott says he was called racial slurs both on and off campus at Presbyterian College and would not have stayed as long as he did without the help of his teammates.

"[Presbyterian College] was a newly integrated college, and the first African-American student had enrolled just a little more than a decade before me. The racial divisions in the town were obvious," he wrote.

"... Now that I was dropped into a rural town of eight thousand with only a few dozen or so African-Americans in the student body of about twelve hundred, I had to navigate those new minefields while I was learning how to live on my own."

Scott, during his time at Presbyterian College, joined the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. And his faith remains an important part of his political career. He often quotes Scripture at his campaign events. And prior to announcing his candidacy for president, he traveled the country for his "Faith in America" listening tour.

Scott Supports HBCUs

Scott has sponsored several pieces of legislation specifically aimed at supporting students attending historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

He introduced a bipartisan amendment to the Fostering Undergraduate Talent by Unlocking Resources for Education (FUTURE) Act, which, among other additions, would give HBCUs and other minority-serving institutions $255 million in annual mandatory funding.

He also introduced bipartisan bills that would require federal agencies and the Small Business Administration to strengthen their relationships with HBCUs, as well as increase military opportunities for students at HBCUs, specifically focusing on encouraging ROTC participation and supplementing flight training costs.

Scott Holds Two Honorary Degrees

Scott received an honorary doctor of public service degree from Coastal Carolina University during the May 2013 commencement ceremony, where he served as commencement speaker.

He also holds an honorary doctor of laws degree from Bob Jones University.