Online Christian Colleges in South Carolina

According to the Pew Research Center, 78% of South Carolinians identify as Christians: of those, 35% are evangelicals, 16% are mainline Protestant, 15% are historically black Protestant, and 10% are Roman Catholic.

78% of South Carolinians identify as Christians: of those, 35% are evangelicals, 16% are mainline Protestant, 15% are historically black Protestant, and 10% are Roman Catholic. Pew Research Center

South Carolina is home to several Christian colleges with support from Southern Baptist entities, the Wesleyan Church, and the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. Some Christian colleges in South Carolina are historically black institutions, and others are entirely self-governing and self-supported. South Carolina Christian universities offer degrees at all levels, from associate to doctoral degrees. These institutions maintain online learning communities and vibrant on-campus programming. A Christian college in South Carolina is an ideal choice for both students seeking careers in Christian service and those who want to study an outside discipline from a Christian perspective.

Online Christian colleges are ideal for students who have responsibilities associated with families, jobs, and ministry activities. A flexible, affordable online program allows busy students to complete degree requirements at their own pace and from any location. Attending a Christian online college allows students who hold ministry positions to manage their staff responsibilities at church while completing their degree. Also, online students often save money on housing, transportation, and childcare.

At Christian colleges in South Carolina, students enroll in Bible classes, study theological topics, and explore liberal arts subjects from a Christian perspective.

Professors at online Christian colleges follow the same faith-based approach they use when teaching on campus. At Christian colleges in South Carolina, students enroll in Bible classes, study theological topics, and explore liberal arts subjects from a Christian perspective. Online learners have many of the same opportunities as on-campus students, and many South Carolina Christian colleges foster communication among distance learners through online groups and forums. Online Christian colleges often stream events and chapel services live and offer online spiritual formation and Christian counseling.

Prospective students should consider several factors when researching South Carolina Christian colleges, such as available programs, affiliated denomination, and cost. Students should also consider student population size, aspects of campus life, and service-learning opportunities.

Many Christian online colleges offer digital learning opportunities, which allow students to integrate faith and learning.

Small colleges often provide a sense of community, with individual faculty attention and close student relationships. On the other hand, large Christian universities in South Carolina typically offer more programs, study abroad opportunities, and career placement assistance. Many Christian colleges in South Carolina require service; prospective students should ask about opportunities to perform ministry and should research the surrounding area's potential as a service location. Campus life is another important factor for religious students. Each Christian college in South Carolina has different policies about alcohol, co-ed housing, and chapel attendance. Review the school's handbook to learn how the institution addresses these issues.

Many Christian online colleges offer digital learning opportunities, which allow students to integrate faith and learning. However, online programs rarely offer as many community service or spiritual formation components as on-campus programs. Of course, students should ensure any prospective institution offers academic programming in line with their scholastic and professional aspirations.

Seminary Schools vs. Bible Schools

Students pursuing careers in Christian service can attend one of three types of educational institutions: Bible colleges, seminaries, or Christian liberal arts colleges. The largest and most-recognized Bible colleges in South Carolina hold accreditation from the Association for Biblical Higher Education. These schools typically require students to major in Bible and in a second, ministry-focused major, such as Christian education or pastoral ministry.

While attending a seminary, South Carolina students with a bachelor's degree can earn a graduate degree in applied theology. Most seminaries hold accreditation from the Association of Theological Schools. Those enrolled in Christian liberal arts colleges choose from a variety academic and vocational majors, which often include Christian ministry options such as youth ministry, biblical studies, and Christian counseling. Students planning to seek ordination as clergy should research their denomination's requirements before choosing a degree. While some denominations accept a bachelor's degree from a Bible college, South Carolina churches often require ordinands to hold South Carolina seminary degrees.

Accreditation for Christian Colleges

Accreditation is a crucial factor when choosing a Christian college in South Carolina. Accreditation is a voluntary process by which institutions demonstrate credibility. Federal financial aid is only available to students who attend accredited institutions. The two main types of accreditation are regional and national, with regional being the most common and the most highly regarded. Most regionally accredited schools only accept transfer credits from other regionally accredited institutions. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on colleges regionally accredits both secular and Christian colleges in South Carolina.

Students should look for Christian universities with both regional and field-specific accreditation.

The U.S. Department of Education recognizes two Christian accrediting agencies: the Transnational Association of Colleges and Schools, which accredits Christian colleges in South Carolina and across the country, and the Association for Biblical Higher Education, which accredits Bible colleges. Students should look for Christian universities with both regional and field-specific accreditation. Students planning to pursue a career that requires a state-issued license, such as positions in medicine, education, or accounting, should carefully review the field's professional standards regarding accreditation.

South Carolina's growing economy attracts students to its colleges and universities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, South Carolina has only a 4.4% unemployment rate. Economists cite a labor shortage as South Carolina's greatest economic challenge, meaning that there are plenty of jobs available for qualified candidates. The agribusiness, life sciences, automotive, and aerospace industries drive South Carolina's economic growth, and the state is home to several large companies, including BMW, Michelin, and 9Round.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the annual median wage for all occupations in South Carolina is $42,240 per year.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the annual median wage for all occupations in South Carolina is $42,240 per year. The median annual salary for clergy in the state is $55,710, and the median wage for directors of religious education and activities is $60,700 per year. Additionally, South Carolina has a low cost of living. The cost of living in Charleston County, the state's most expensive place to live, is only 4% above the national average, according to PayScale. Counselors and other human service professionals find positions in South Carolina's robust nonprofit community, and the state's large and well-funded Christian community development sector includes churches, schools, and religious nonprofit organizations.

Community and Social Service Occupations in South Carolina
Occupation Employment Average Hourly Wage Average Annual Wage
Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors 830 $17.29 $35,970
Marriage and Family Therapists 90 $19.95 $41,500
Mental Health Counselors 770 $21.18 $44,050
Rehabilitation Counselors 640 $14.95 $31,090
Child, Family, and School Social Workers 3,440 $17.12 $35,610
Healthcare Social Workers 2,010 $25.84 53,750
Social and Human Service Assistants 4,730 $14.41 $29,960
Clergy 500 $22.09 $45,940
Directors, Religious Activities and Education 90 $29.46 $61,270
Source: BLS, May 2017

Scholarships are an ideal source of funding because they do not need to be repaid. Students can use scholarships to offset tuition and living costs without accruing debt. Most scholarships are competitive and require applications. Some scholarships are reserved for South Carolina residents, Christian students, or students at a Christian college in South Carolina.

Christian Scholarships

Champions for Christ Scholarship Varies

Who Can Apply: Located in Greenville, South Carolina, Champions for Christ supports college students who plan to pursue full-time careers in Christian service. The scholarship application is available on the organization's website. View Scholarship

Church Related Vocational Scholarship Varies

Who Can Apply: The South Carolina Baptist Convention offers this scholarship to cover undergraduate students' tuition and costs. Applicants must have an official recommendation from their church. View Scholarship

Barry B. Edwards Trustee Scholarships Varies

Who Can Apply: These scholarships from the Baptist Foundation of South Carolina support students at three South Carolina Christian colleges: North Greenville University, Anderson University, and Charleston Southern University. Applicants must intend to serve full time in Christian ministry after graduation. View Scholarship

Scholarships for Success $1,000

Who Can Apply: Applicants must be members of the Christian Community Credit Union who plan to attend college, graduate school, or seminary. Recipients must enroll in at least 12 credits and can renew the scholarship annually for up to four years. The selection committee considers each applicant's GPA, student involvement, essay, and references. View Scholarship

Episcopal Church Education Scholarships $1,000-10,000

Who Can Apply: The Episcopal Church offers 43 renewable scholarships for students at various educational levels. Episcopalians who wish to apply complete only one form to be considered for all scholarships. View Scholarship

Scholarships for South Carolina Residents

Palmetto Boys State Scholarship and Palmetto Girls State Scholarship $500–10,000

Who Can Apply: Eighteen South Carolina colleges, including numerous Christian institutions, offer scholarships to participants in Palmetto Boys State or Palmetto Girls State ScholarshipPalmetto Girls State. Requirements and amounts vary by institution. View Scholarship

Watson-Brown Foundation Scholarship $3,000–5,000

Who Can Apply: This scholarship supports current high school seniors from 18 counties in Georgia and South Carolina. Applicants must demonstrate potential for scholastic achievement and must plan to attend a regionally accredited four-year institution. View Scholarship

Sirrine Scholarship $2,000

Who Can Apply: Applicants must be recent graduates of a Greenville County public high school or Greenville County charter high school. This scholarship is renewable and supports students attending any South Carolina Christian college or secular institution. View Scholarship

James F. Byrnes Foundation Scholarship $3,250

Who Can Apply: This annually renewable scholarship supports South Carolina high school seniors who have lost one or both parents. Students must demonstrate financial need and academic progress and must be enrolled in an accredited bachelor's degree program. View Scholarship

Mary G. Webster Scholarship $1,000

Who Can Apply: The Palmetto Land Title Association awards this scholarship to a rising junior or senior business major at a four-year college or university in South Carolina. View Scholarship

Find a Church in Your Community

For many Christian students, spiritual growth, new friendships, missional service, and discipleship happen in the context of a caring church community near them. Students can use Church Finder to locate a house of worship in their city. Another church listing service, USAChurches.org maintains a South Carolina web page through which students can search for churches by size, worship style, city, or keyword.

Get Connected

Professional networking organizations can help students make vital personal connections, learn about job openings, and improve their vocational skills and knowledge. Besides broad-based organizations such as the local Chamber of Commerce, people of faith also join in uniquely Christian networking groups to advance both professional development and mission.

  • The Christian Business Network The CBN connects a global community of Christian professionals who can help each other to prosper, connect, and serve the world to the glory of God.
  • South Carolina Christian Chamber of Commerce Located in Spartanburg, SC-C3 connects businesses, churches, and alliances to serve Christ and the community by improving the lives of people throughout South Carolina.
  • C12 Group Upstate This group is the South Carolina Upstate chapter of C12, a network of Christian leaders dedicated to helping business owners and CEOs spread the gospel in the marketplace.

Find Christian Ministries

Students who do not attend a Christian school can participate in religious groups at secular universities. Students can become involved in campus ministry to pursue personal spiritual growth or undertake Christian mission work in the community.

Interdenominational
  • Campus Crusade for Christ Among the world's largest and best-known campus ministries, Cru provides student missions opportunities and educational materials about faith and collegiate life for professors and parents. The organization offers safe spaces for students to discuss personal challenges and global questions.
  • Chi Alpha The official campus ministry of the Assemblies of God, Chi Alpha provides opportunities to fellowship, worship, pray, and serve others. Chi Alpha hosts a training conference each summer.
  • International Fellowship of Evangelical Students Founded as a nondenominational Christian ministry in 1947, IFES works to positively impact local communities and the world. The organization's programs include leadership development, personal evangelism, and international missions.
  • Fellowship of Christian Athletes The FCA is comprised of Christians athletes. The organization's ministries include sports camps, international missions trips, a ministry for coaches, and Bible studies at local chapters.
Catholic
  • Catholic Campus Ministry Association The CCMA engages campus ministers to lead students to Christ. The association's ministry equips campus chaplains and leaders with resources and a network to build vibrant collegiate ministries.
Lutheran
  • Lutheran Student Movement USA LSM-USA unites young Christian leaders from across the United States. LSM-USA organizes spring break service trips, a national conference, and a variety of on-campus ministries.
Presbyterian
  • Reformed University Fellowship The RUF is the official campus ministry of the Presbyterian Church in America. The RUF hosts Christian programming for international students, provides traditional campus ministries, and sponsors a church initiative for university communities.
  • UKirk The Presbyterian Church sponsors ministries on individual campuses, which network as UKirk. UKirk provides students with opportunities to grow through worship, learning, sharing, and service.
Baptist
  • Baptist Collegiate Ministry Life BCMLife is a national coalition of Baptist collegiate ministries, including campus-based outreach, church planting in college communities, an international student ministry, and missions and outreach organizations.

Public Universities in South Carolina with Christian Ministries

  • Coastal Carolina University: CCU has a vibrant student community and maintains faith groups including Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, Cru, Coastal Carolina Catholics, and Young Life. The university's chaplain council provides interfaith support.
  • University of South Carolina: USC maintains more than 400 student organizations, including the Chinese Student's Christian Fellowship, the Orthodox Christian Fellowship, and UKirk SC.
  • Clemson University: Clemson maintains a large, vibrant chapter of Cru and a sizeable FCA community. The local First Baptist Church sponsors CFS, a missions service dedicated to local and global outreach.
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