South Carolina Colleges with ROTC Programs

Oct 20, 2021

Many South Carolina colleges offer Army, Navy, Marine, or Air Force ROTC programs, and some even host all of them. Whether you wish to attend a small, religious college, a larger public university or a military institution, you can find a school that allows you to participate in ROTC alongside the major of your choice. This article describes several such schools around the state.

School Comparison

School Name Institution Type Location 2019-2020 Tuition (in-state)* Programs Offered Tuition Assistance
Benedict College 4-year, Private not-for-profit Columbia, SC $16,600 Army, Air Force Scholarships and/or monthly stipends
Charleston Southern University 4-year, Private not-for-profit Charleston, SC $26,00 Army, Air Force Full and partial scholarships and/or monthly stipends
University of South Carolina-Columbia 4-year, Public Columbia, SC $12,688 Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines Full and partial scholarships and/or monthly stipends
Citadel Military College of South Carolina 4-year, Public Charleston, SC $12,620 Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines Tuition scholarships
Clemson University 4-year, Public Clemson, SC $15,558 Army, Air Force Scholarships and/or monthly stipends

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)

Overview of Colleges in South Carolina with ROTC programs

Many schools in South Carolina with ROTC programs are concentrated in the cities of Charleston or Columbia, though not all. There are Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force ROTC battalions across the state. For any school without its own ROTC facilities, students may still participate in ROTC through a crosstown partnership with another college.

Benedict College

Benedict College is a Baptist, Historically Black College, and 91% of its student body in 2019 was African American, according to NCES. It offers Army and Air Force ROTC programs for interested students through crosstown agreements with the University of South Carolina. Students are enrolled full time in their major program at Benedict and take most coursework on campus, but travel to the USC campus for ROTC activities. These activities include weekly physical fitness training, military science or aerospace classes and leadership laboratories.

Charleston Southern University

Students who join the ROTC at this Baptist university of 3,477 students, according to NCES in 2019, are eligible to compete for partial and full scholarships that include book allowances and a living stipend. The Air Force ROTC at Charleston Southern University has been recognized as the best small attachment battalion in the region multiple times in the last decade. Graduates of the full four-year program will be commissioned into the U.S. Air Force. The AFROTC at Charleston Southern University is structured as a normal academic course with a special emphasis on leadership, and it is taught by Air Force officers who hold faculty positions at the university. ROTC students can also take advantage of other activities and events at the university, including Division I athletics, intramural sports and a choice of more than 50 undergraduate majors.

The University of South Carolina-Columbia

The University of South Carolina describes itself as the state's flagship university, with multiple campuses and a Columbia campus student body of 35,364 in 2019, says NCES. The school hosts every branch of ROTC, including the Air Force ROTC, which was voted the best small detachment in the country in 2015. Air Force ROTC is normally a four-year program at USC, but it can be compressed into three years for some students. The Navy ROTC battalion fosters comradery through its various student clubs and organizations. It also offers participating students benefits like free tutoring and access to an exclusive gym.

Citadel Military College of South Carolina

The Citadel is a school of 3,767 students in 2019, according to NCES. It is well-known for its Corps of Cadets, which attracts students from across the country to study in a traditional military system that emphasizes leadership and character development. Approximately 30% of all Citadel graduates earn a military commission, states the school website in 2018. The Citadel offers ROTC programs in every branch of the military, through its departments of Aerospace Studies (Air Force), Military Science (Army) and Naval Science (Navy and Marines). The Army battalion is one of the largest in the country. All students are required to take one class in one of the ROTC departments each semester, but students can also elect to participate in a full ROTC program in exchange for access to scholarship opportunities and a commission on graduation.

Clemson University

Clemson University was started as a military school in the 1800's, and carries on many military traditions to this day. Students can participate in Army or Air Force ROTC either as electives in their first two years of study, or for the full program to earn an officer commission. Students who participate in the Basic Course leadership laboratory will learn things like land navigation, marksmanship and rappelling, while Advanced Course students go on to learn tactical training, combat water survival, and more. In addition to ROTC physical training, leadership laboratories and coursework, there are a number of military organizations and activities to get involved with. These include rifle clubs, the Ranger Club, the Student Veterans Association, and the drill platoon, all organized by the Clemson Military Council to foster collaboration between different branches and student groups.

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