South Carolina first began its debates about how it can handle distance education and online degree programs back in 1998. At the time, the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education elected to approve an initiative that would help higher education reach the digital age along with other stages. Since then, South Carolina has dedicated itself to improving digital learning starting in seventh grade. Additionally, many of the colleges and universities in South Carolina began to offer online education opportunities. For example, the University of South Carolina offers education, public health and engineering undergraduate and graduate online degree programs.
In recent years, the cost of tuition in South Carolina colleges have increased significantly. Two year public schools saw an increase of 31 percent for tuition starting in 2004. At four year public schools, the increase was bigger, rounding out at 37.6 percent. The inflation of these numbers is partly due to the massive decrease in higher education budget; between the years of 2008 and 2014, South Carolina decreased its higher education budget by 41.6 percent, nearly cutting it in half and marking the third highest cut in the country.
In spite of the cost of tuition rising all around South Carolina, enrollment at such colleges and universities has been booming. There was a 28 percent increase from 2002 to 2012 in both two and four year colleges, passing by the nationwide average of 19 percent. South Carolina has high graduation rates at 61.5 percent as well, retaining 78 percent of first-year students.