The Case for the State

Serving South Carolina's Students

The University of South Carolina provides opportunity to those who see a college education as a means to a prosperous future. For this state, that means that, through our eight unique campuses, we are able to provide an educational opportunity to every academically qualified South Carolina student. To understand how we fulfill our mission to serve the residents of the state, look at our enrollment — the number of lives affected tell our story: 45,774 students in the system, nearly 34,000 of them call South Carolina their home. The University is the largest provider of higher education to South Carolinians among all the public and private universities in the state. Here's how we have grown that mission over the past 11 years — a 25 percent enrollment increase in state residents.

Click charts for large view

A Committment to Diversity

The University of South Carolina supports students of all backgrounds. Diversity remains a core goal of the University's strategic plan. While USC continues to educate more African Americans than any other university in the state, it is our goal to reflect the diversity of our state in the composition of the student body. This year, 26 percent of our system enrollment is comprised of students of color.

Research for the enhancement of our state

USC is the only Carnegie-ranked “Very High Research Activity” university and attracts $227 million from federal grants and contracts for research and scholarly activity, providing more access to undergraduate research opportunities than any other South Carolina college or university.

Providing South Carolina's Workforce

169,399 of South Carolina residents hold a degree from a USC Campus — our proud Gamecock Nation.

Attracting the Best and Brightest

The University of South Carolina Columbia educates the state's largest number of Education Lottery Scholarship-supported scholars.

1,430 Palmetto Fellows Scholarships — a 59 percent increase from 2005-2011 and demonstrating the interest South Carolina's best and brightest students have in our academic programs. 6,374 LIFE Scholarships — an increase of 4 percent since 2005.

USC's flagship campus is proud that it has the highest first-to-second year retention rate among public universities for LIFE and Palmetto Fellow awardees — 64.5 percent and 90.4 percent, respectively.

Education for All

The University of South Carolina system educates more Pell Grant recipients than any other South Carolina college or university: 12,624.

The USC Gamecock Guarantee is a need-based financial- and academic-support program that helps make attendance at the University more affordable — and a Carolina degree attainable for academically qualified residents of our state. The Gamecock Guarantee promises that each eligible student's undergraduate tuition and technology fee will be covered for up to four years if the student meets the program's academic, financial and participation criteria. At a minimum, it provides each participant an award of $2,500 per year. This year, 435 students from South Carolina received this benefit and are proud members of our USC family.

Our Graduates are Responsible

We are proud that graduates of USC's flagship campus hold loan default rates that are much lower than the national average (1.7 percent as opposed to 8.8 percent nationally). USC graduates are employed; they are responsible for paying down their debt; and have a reputation as responsible citizens.

Tori Graves

Simpsonville, SC - Early Childhood Education

Tori Graves

"I selected USC because of the wide array of pre-professional, student and work options available here. The university offers undergraduate research, student organizations and hands-on opportunities in just about all disciplines. As an education major I'm taking advantage of all these experiences."


Dr. Harris Pastides, President

Office of the President
Dr. Harris Pastides, President
University of South Carolina
Osborne Administration Building, Suite 206
Columbia, SC 29208
803-777-2001 |

Columbia, SC 29208 | 803.777.7000

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