State Flag for Universities in South Carolina South Carolina Residency Rules

Yellow Square Means In-State Tuition is Medium Difficult Difficulty

How to get in-state at Universities in South Carolina:

South Carolina offers over 30 public universities emphasizing everything from liberal arts to STEM education. The state is not the most difficult to obtain in-state residency in, but the SC requirements can often appear draconian to those who are not prepared for the process.

In addition, many colleges and universities in South Carolina require students to live in the dormitories but neglect to mention that this living arrangement prohibits students from seeking residency and the lower in-state tuition rates available.

Because each university has its own residency requirements like employment in addition to the guidelines established by South Carolina Code and the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education, prospective students would be well-advised to understand not only the state requirements, but the prerequisites of each university one might wish to study at.

To assist potential students in determining which universities will best meet their needs, Instate Angels has produced the following list of popular universities that strike a balance between affordability, academic quality and training for the world beyond the classroom.

These universities are not the only ones available, but offer but all have reasonable instate requirements.

In terms of broad strokes for earning residency at South Carolina schools, you are a good candidate if you:

• Have the intentions for SC residency above and beyond school
• Are able to commit yourself to SC via domiciliary requirements
• Can financially support yourself for at least over half of all your expenses
• Do not reside in the dorms
• Have some sort of employment in the state

Again, each school is different, so make sure you fully know and understand rules and regulations at your specific school of interest.


South Carolina Reciprocity Agreements:

South Carolina is a member state of the Academic Common Market which is a limited regional reciprocity agreement among select Southern States. Favorable college tuition rates in nearby states are sometimes possible through reciprocity although many restrictions apply.

See Tuition Reciprocity Agreements Explained

See Tuition Reciprocity Agreements Overpromise & Under-Deliver


University-Specific Overviews Below:

Below please find links to in-state overviews for select universities in South Carolina. If your college is not highlighted, then please consider buying a University-Specific Nutshell Report or see all available university-specific in-state overviews.


Top Universities in South Carolina:

Clemson University-Clemson

Historically a degree from Clemson has a high return on investment and is well regarded. With over 80 undergraduate majors there are plenty of career path to choose from. An additional benefit of Clemson is the majority of classes have fewer than 20 students. This ensures you will receive a quality education while still having the feel of a large University.


University of South Carolina-Columbia

The University of South Carolina in Columbia is known for a wide range of degrees from hospitality to Criminal justice. Its 250–acre campus is absolutely beautiful with a number of buildings registered with the National register of Historic Places. It should also be noted that the USC-Columbia’s business program is on of the top programs in the country.


Popular Universities in South Carolina:

Citadel Military College of SC-Charleston

The Citadel has a proud tradition as a military academy producing outstanding military leaders for all branches of service since 1842. With a rigorous academic course of study, an emphasis on military discipline and courtesy and a strictly enforced Honor Code, The Citadel’s reputation for excellence secured this university the top spot in the South on US News and World Report’s Best Colleges report for the fourth year in a row.


College of Charleston-Charleston

The “CofC,” as it’s known to its students, was founded in 1770. In the two and a half centuries since, it has amassed a reputation for cutting-edge liberal arts and science studies. With a small-college atmosphere and the resources of a major university, the CofC appears perennially on “best-value” lists for instate tuition, student life and quality of education. The university hosts a student body of over 10,000 undergrads and 1,200 postgraduate students in 130 different major degree programs, emphasizing scientific knowledge and the arts.


Lander University-Greenwood

Founded in 1872 as a female-only college, today Lander University’s 3,000-strong student body is roughly 70% female and 30% male. Lander’s curriculum is heavy on science and mathematics, including medical and criminal justice specializations. For athletes, Lander competes in the NCAA Division II in multiple sports. The instate tuition per credit hour is a little high at $434 per credit, but the out-of-state tuition nearly doubles the tab. However, a bucolic setting in Greenwood, SC and its heavy emphasis on STEM studies make Lander a good place to consider for those seeking education or science credentials.


Medical University of South Carolina-Charleston

Charleston’s MUSC focuses on hands-on medicine, research and medicine-related training to the exclusion of all else, and its curricula carry a heavy emphasis on post-graduate degrees. Prospective dentists, nurses, pharmacists physicians and hospital administrators can all obtain degrees here. Many programs do not allow part-time students, so students who elect to attend MUSC need to both be exceptionally dedicated and meet the university’s stringent residency requirements for instate tuition.


South Carolina State University-Orangeburg

South Carolina State University was founded in 1896 as a historically black college and university, and boasts a proud tradition of affordability in tuition coupled with academic excellence. Instate tuition is exceptionally reasonable, but out-of-state tuition increases by 2 1/3 times the instate rate. SCSUO is predominantly a liberal-arts university, but has a strong and nationally-renowned science and engineering college as well. SCSUO is ranked as an “overperforming” college by US News and World Report.


University of South Carolina-Aiken

USCA was ranked #1 among best regional colleges in the South by US News and World Report in 10 of the 17 years since the survey began. This year, the survey also named USCA a “best college for veterans.” The curricula at USCA emphasize “hard” sciences and premed studies, but do feature a few arts programs for those students who wish to pursue writing or graphic arts careers. USCA’s average annual instate tuition costs $11,300, much less expensive than most other comparable institutions in South Carolina.


Other Notable South Carolina Universities

  • Francis Marion
  • University-Florence
  • Conway
  • Beaufort
  • Lancaster
  • Salkehatchie Allendale
  • Sumter Union
  • Upstate Spartanburg
  • USC School of Medicine-Columbia
  • USC School of Medicine-Greenville
  • Winthrop University-Rock Hill

Every College in South Carolina Is Unique

Just as every state has its own in-state regulations, each college in the state has its own interpretations. Learn everything important about how to actually earn in-state tuition at the university in South Carolina you’re most interested in.

Get University-Specific Report

University-Specific Nutshell Report

Everything important you need to know about actually earning in-state at your university.