Why Choose a Private College or University in South Carolina?
Each year, over 35,000 students enroll in private colleges and universities in South Carolina — about one-third of the state's four-year college student population. Students can choose from 25 nonprofit four-year private institutions in the state compared to the 14 public four-year colleges in South Carolina.
Many students find private colleges and universities in South Carolina offer rigorous academic programs and a more personal college experience. Private colleges and universities in South Carolina reported student enrollments of 400-4,000 students in 2021, ensuring students enjoy small class sizes and lots of faculty interaction. Furman University in Greenville reports an 81% graduation rate.
While private institutions often have a higher sticker price than their public university counterparts, these institutions also offer generous financial aid packages. They also do not charge out-of-state tuition.
Are you considering attending a private college or university in South Carolina? Be sure to consider academic offerings, cost, and campus activities to select the best private schools in South Carolina.
Pros and Cons of Attending a Private College or University in South Carolina
Private universities and colleges provide a close-knit community for students.Private institutions offer smaller classes and more opportunities to interact with faculty and peers.Private colleges and universities may offer robust financial aid packages, making them more affordable.Students can choose private colleges or universities that align with their values or religious affiliations.
Student extracurricular activities may be limited due to the smaller number of students and resources available compared to larger public universities/Private institutions do not receive state funds and rely on tuition payments and donations.Private colleges and universities may offer limited academic programs or degree opportunities.Private colleges and universities may require students to adhere to a code of conduct not required of students at public universities.
Nonprofit vs. For-Profit Universities in South Carolina
Nonprofit private colleges in South Carolina operate without tax-funded revenue. They rely on student tuition payments and donor contributions for operating expenses and campus improvements. Most public universities receive government funding, but they also are nonprofit institutions.
Nonprofit universities reinvest excess revenue into their academic and student financial support programs. They often answer to a board of trustees to ensure the school's financial health.
For-profit universities also do not receive money from the state. However, these schools are operated by businesses or investors who receive a share of any profits. The schools may focus on specific career tracks or specialize in distance education for nontraditional students. The U.S. Department of Education's College Scorecard helps identify for-profit universities.
Before choosing any college, you should research their academic offerings, cost, graduation rate, and accreditation status. Attending a school that does not hold accreditation from a recognized organization could make it difficult to transfer credits, enroll in graduate school, or qualify for professional licensing.
How Much Does It Cost to Attend a Private College or University in South Carolina?
Students attending private institutions in South Carolina paid an average of $26,270 in tuition and fees in 2019-2020. That's lower than the national average for 4-year private universities, $32,769.
Among the most expensive private colleges and universities in South Carolina is Furman University, which charged $53,372 in the 2021-22 academic year. After considering financial aid, the average student cost was $30,861. The least expensive private institution in South Carolina, Converse College, charged an average annual cost of $12,685 per year. Many private institutions in South Carolina offer robust student aid programs.
While tuition often accounts for the most considerable education expense, students should consider other college costs. These include room and board — your housing and food costs — as well as travel, transportation, textbooks, and school supplies. Private school students paid an average of $9,965 in room and board at private colleges and universities in South Carolina in 2020. Books and supplies add another $1,061, on average, for private school students.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Private Colleges and Universities in South Carolina
How many private universities are there in South Carolina?
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 25 nonprofit, private four-year universities operate in South Carolina. These private four-year colleges range from small liberal arts schools serving a few hundred students to medium colleges with just under 4,000 students.
Several of the private universities in South Carolina hold religious affiliations, such as Bob Jones University, Presbyterian College, and Southern Wesleyan University. Over two dozen private schools focus on career-specific training, such as schools of cosmetology, allied healthcare, transportation, or skilled trades.
What is the most expensive private college or university in South Carolina?
The most expensive private institution in South Carolina, Furman University, charges $67,070 in tuition, fees, room, and board. The U.S. Department of Education reports that students pay an average of $30,861.
Founded in 1826, Furman offers a rigorous academic program with more than 70 areas of study. The 2,600 students enjoy a 9-to-1 student-faculty ratio. The school's alumni include 52 Fulbright scholars and six Rhodes Scholars, and 94% of graduates report they find employment or enter graduate school within six months of leaving the school.
What is the least expensive private college or university in South Carolina?
Converse College in Spartanburg ranks as the least expensive private institution in South Carolina. The women-only college charges $31,798 in tuition, fees, room, and board each year but offers generous financial aid to reduce out-of-pocket costs. The school reports that 93% of students receive need-based or merit-based financial aid, bringing the average student cost to $12,685.
The liberal arts school offers more than 40 majors with programs in the arts, education, business, science, and the humanities. The school guarantees undergraduate students complete their degrees in four years and will find employment within six months.
Is a private college or university right for me?
Many students enjoy the opportunities available at private colleges and universities. The smaller class sizes and smaller student-faculty ratios allow students to build relationships with their academic mentors.
Many schools offer internships or service-learning experiences. In many cases, the institutional financial support offered makes private institutions in South Carolina just as affordable as public institutions.
Choosing a college requires a lot of thought and consideration. While private colleges and universities in South Carolina offer many academic paths, some students may find that public universities offer more diverse programs that align with their interests and goals.
Other students may prefer a larger campus environment or a more urban locale. Consider your options to choose the best college for your future.
Can I get more scholarship money at a private university?
Scholarships and grants can reduce your out-of-pocket educational costs, helping you pay for tuition, room and board, or other college costs. Many nonprofit universities offer institutional grants to help offset their higher tuition costs. Nationally, 83% of students attending private nonprofit four-year institutions receive institutional grants.
All students should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This form determines your eligibility for federal financial aid programs, like the Pell Grant. Many schools use this information to determine eligibility for need-based institutional grants.
You can also seek out other scholarship opportunities through local or national foundations, clubs, or organizations.