Each of the 33 public institutions of higher education in South Carolina can be categorized into one of four sectors: research institutions, doctorate professional universities, four-year comprehensive teaching institutions, and technical colleges.The South Carolina Commission on Higher Education coordinates and conducts oversight of these sectors to advance South Carolina’s economic development and general welfare, in support of the mission for the state’s postsecondary education system set by the General Assembly. A fifth sector, independent institutions, is comprised by the state’s 20 private, nonprofit colleges and universities.
The CHE’s primary functions related to the operations of institutions of higher learning include:
- Review and approval of proposed academic programs at public four-year and research institutions
- Licensure of non-public postsecondary institutions’ in-state operations and solicitation
- Assistance with transfer and articulation agreements
- Overseeing interstate reciprocity agreements, among others.
- Academic Programs and Program Approval Information
Inventory of Academic Programs (As of February 17, 2023)
Program Approval Process for Public Institutions
- Policies and Procedures for New Academic Program Approval and Program Termination (PDF)
- Cycle of Program Proposals/Due Dates (PDF)
- Instructions for New Program Proposal and Program Modification Forms (Word Document)
- New Program Proposal Form (Word Document)
- Program Modification Form (Word Document)
- Notification of Change-New Certificate Form (Word Document)
- Notification of Change Form (Word Document)
- Notification of Program Termination Form (PDF)
- New Center Proposal Form (Word Document)
Additional Materials for Teacher Education Programs
- South Carolina Department of Education Areas of Certification (PDF)
- South Carolina Department of Education New or Modified Program Proposal Guidelines for Educator Preparation Programs for Public and Private Institutions of Higher Education (PDF)
Academic Program Inventory
- Academic Policies and Guidelines
- Policy for the Award of Credit for AP, IB, and CI (PDF)
- Approval of Specialized Accreditation Agencies by CHE (PDF)
- Developmental/Remedial Education (PDF)
- Dual Enrollment (PDF)
- Program Productivity (PDF)
- Mission Statement (PDF)
- Professional Doctorate University Status (PDF)
Guidelines & Principles
- College Preparatory Course Prerequisite Requirements for Entering College Freshmen (PDF)
- Guidelines for Graduate Courses Offered for Professional Development of School Personnel (Word)
- CHE Guiding Principles for Distance Education in South Carolina (PDF)
- Priority Statements Relating to Offsite Doctoral Programs (PDF)
- International Sister State Agreement Memorandum (PDF)
- REACH Act Guidelines and Course List
- Institutional Data Reporting (CHEMIS and IPEDS)
The CHE reviews and makes recommendations related to facility project plans proposed by public institutions of higher education.
The facilities staff considers all aspects of institutional permanent improvement projects including the acquisition of land and buildings, regardless of cost; work on existing facilities including their renovation, repair, maintenance, alteration, or demolition in which the total cost is $1,000,000 or more; architectural and engineering and other types of planning and design work, regardless of cost, which is intended to result in a permanent improvement; capital lease purchase of a facility acquisition or construction in which the total cost is $1,000,000 or more; equipment that either becomes a permanent fixture of a facility or does not become permanent but is included as a part of a project in which the total cost is $1,000,000 or more; and new construction of a facility that exceeds a total cost of $500,000. Also included are leases and lease renewals above the exemption level of $100,000 per year.
Facilities staff responsibilities include:
- Prepare and present proposals and respective recommendations on behalf of the institutions for renovation, repair, and maintenance projects costing more than $1,000,000, new construction projects costing more than $500,000, and leases which commit $1,000,000 or more in a five year period to the Committee on Finance and Facilities on a monthly basis. The Committee on Finance and Facilities, in turn, presents its recommendations to the full Commission at its monthly meetings.
- Meet with the Facilities Advisory Committee, consisting of institutional representatives, on an as-needed basis in order to consider new policy, policy revisions, or other pressing facilities-related issues.
- Work with the CHE Management Information System staff (CHEMIS) to audit and ensure the accuracy of institutional reporting of facilities building inventories and room use data. This data is a component in the calculation of annual funding calculation, specifically for the maintenance and operation of physical plant. This data is also applied to classroom and laboratory utilization and other quantitative reports for consideration in the approval process of permanent improvement requests.
Commission approvals are subject to adoption by the statutory approval process of the Joint Bond Review Committee (JBRC) and the Budget and Control Board (BCB). Commission approvals are also required for Master Land Acquisition Plans (MLAP) and the Comprehensive Permanent Improvement Plans (CPIP).
- Licensing of Non-Public Postsecondary Institutions
The CHE authorizes licenses for non-public postsecondary institutions operating and soliciting in South Carolina. Licensure is required for both sites and programs. Also, the CHE licenses degree- and non-degree-granting institutions.
- Partnership Among South Carolina Academic Libraries (PASCAL)
The CHE serves as the fiscal agent for the Partnership Among South Carolina Academic Libraries (PASCAL). This consortium of South Carolina’s academic libraries and state agency partners, fosters cooperation for shared licensing of electronic resources, universal borrowing, ILS hosting, and affordable learning.
- Education Improvement Act South Carolina Centers of Excellence for Teacher Education
Research has shown that the single greatest factor influencing student achievement is teacher quality.
The South Carolina Centers of Excellence program is a competitive grant program that enables eligible institutions, or groupings of such institutions, to serve as state-of-the-art resource centers for the state in a specific area related to the improvement of teacher education with a concentration on assisting rural, underperforming schools and districts. These resource centers develop and model state-of-the-art teaching practices, conduct research, disseminate information, and provide training for P-12 and higher education personnel in a center's specific area of expertise.
FY 2023-24 COE Grant Proposals Accepted through February 2, 2024
The South Carolina Commission on Higher Education reopens Request for Proposals for the Centers of Excellence Grant Programs for FY2023-24.
Intent to Submit Due: December 15, 2023
Technical Assistance Workshop: December 18, 2024
Proposal Deadline: February 2, 2024
Program Contact: Dr. Lishu Yin (firstname.lastname@example.org or 803-856-0512)
- CHE Education Stabilization Fund for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Grants
The CHE administers grants using Education Stabilization Fund for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Funding and the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding provided through the South Carolina Department of Education. CHE awards funding to South Carolina public universities who create collaborative summer projects or summer programs between with partner school districts to address student learning loss resulting from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. A request-for-proposals to the CHE is required for institutions to apply for the ESSER funding.
- Veteran’s Education / GI Bill® Program Administration Information for Schools and Employers
The CHE is South Carolina’s State Approving Agency (SAA) and must approve programs at in-state postsecondary institutions and career training centers that offer education and training to veterans and their eligible dependents under the Veterans Education Assistance Program.
Veteran’s Education and Training at CHE is designated as the SAA responsible for approving and supervising Veteran’s Education programs in South Carolina. The SAA is a part of the National Association of State Approving Agencies (NASAA) which is comprised of state agencies that have responsibility for the approval and training available through the GI Bill®. The SAA acts on behalf of the federal government to evaluate educational/vocational institutions and training establishments. The SAA approves programs where veterans and those eligible for VA education benefits (under Title 38, US Code, Chapters 30, 32, 33, 35, 36, and Title 10 US Code, Chapter 1606 and 1607) can achieve quality training in either an educational, professional, or vocational objective. The focus of the SAA is the review, evaluation, and approval of quality programs under both the state and federal criteria.
Coordinators are assigned to various areas throughout the state and are responsible for a variety of duties. The area coordinators visit institutions and training establishments seeking initial approval to evaluate the appropriateness of the programs being offered and to ensure that these programs meet the standards of state and federal guidelines. Area coordinators also evaluate curricula, training outlines, student training records, physical facilities, and equipment used in training programs. The coordinators, in evaluating institutions and programs, meet with faculty/trainers, administrators, and agency directors seeking a willingness to establish training approval for GI Bill® recipients. Approval may be granted for the following:
- On-Job-Training (OJT) establishments (6 to 24 months training programs)
- Apprenticeship (APP) establishments (more than 24 months and annual related training)
- Flight Training Schools (for pilot licenses and aviation employment)
Upon approval, the SAA provides continuous oversight by conducting annual on-site supervisory visits. Technical assistance visits are conducted when deemed necessary by the SAA or at the request of the certifying official. The SAA also conducts outreach activities to foster usage of the GI Bill.
Veteran's Education Resources for Institutions
- Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance Program (DEA)
- VA Apprenticeship and On-the-Job Training: On-The-Job Training And Apprenticeships | Veterans Affairs (va.gov)
- VA Licensing and Certification: Get Paid Back For Test Fees | Veterans Affairs (va.gov)
- WEAMS: WEAMS Public (va.gov)
- SCO Handbook link: https://www.knowva.ebenefits.va.gov/system/templates/selfservice/va_ssnew/help/customer/locale/en-US/portal/554400000001018/content/554400000149088/School-Certifying-Official-Handbook-On-line
- SCO Training link: https://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill/resources/education_resources/school_certifying_officials/online_sco_training.asp
- SCO Webinars link: https://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill/resources/education_resources/school_certifying_officials/presentations.asp
- VA Once user guide link: https://benefits.va.gov/gibill/resources/education_resources/school_certifying_officials/va_once_faq.asp Public Law 116-315 link: https://www.congress.gov/116/plaws/publ315/PLAW-116publ315.pdf
GI Bill® Approval Forms
Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL)
Non-College Degree (NCD) Institutions
Licensing and Certification
- SC Higher Education Nursing Initiative
Visit our Higher Education Nursing Initiative page to learn more about faculty salary supplements and tuition reimbursement programs for nursing educators.
Advising, Counseling and Financial Aid
- Articulation Agreements and Academic Transfer
The CHE sets procedures for course transferability at the undergraduate level between two- and four-year public institutions. By enhancing credit transfer, articulation agreements allow students to seamlessly transition from one institution to another.
SC TRAC was created as a one-stop shop for transfer students, administrators and advisors/faculty. It is designed to facilitate student transitions between and among South Carolina’s institutions of higher education.
A central resource for all involved in the statewide efforts to improve the transfer and articulation student experience. This page includes the 2023 South Carolina Transfer and Articulation Action Plan, as well information about ongoing initiatives and events to improve transfer in our state.
This task force reviews transfer and articulation agreements to help servicemembers use transferable credit toward degree completion and explores ways to increase the use of military credits that will transfer to academic credits.
The CHE and the U.S. Army Cyber Center of Excellence at Fort Gordon, Ga., maintain a continuing education degree program articulation agreement and academic partnership allowing soldiers to receive course credit from CHE-recognized cyber and computer science-related programs at participating South Carolina institutions.
- Transfer Policy for Public Two-Year and Four-Year Institutions as of May 2022 (PDF)
- List of 86 Universally Transferable Courses (Course Equivalents at 4-yr Public Institutions for the List of 86) (PDF)
- Participation of Private Institutions (PDF)
- Transfer Guide for Dual Enrollment Students (PDF)
Transfer Block / Transfer Guide Information (Revised March 2009)
- State Scholarship (LIFE, HOPE, Palmetto Fellows) Regulations, Administration and Trainings
- Palmetto Fellows Scholarship Regulations (PDF)
- LIFE Scholarship Regulations (PDF)
- SC HOPE Scholarship Regulations (PDF)
- SC Need-based Grant Regulations (PDF)
- Lottery Tuition Assistance Program Regulations (PDF)
- Free Tuition for Residents Over 60 (PDF)
- Palmetto Fellows Scholarship Eligibility at Two-Year Institutions and Technical Colleges for Fall 2021 Term (PDF)
- Policies and Instructions for Applications for Academic Program and Course Eligibility for Scholarship Enhancement (PDF)
- Policy for the Addition and Removal of Programs to the List of Programs Eligible for Scholarship Enhancements (PDF)
- LIFE and Palmetto Fellows Math and Science Scholarship Enhancements
- Palmetto Fellows Application Timeline (PDF)
- Notification to Institutions (Regarding Provisos 117.159 and 117.183)
- Final Ranking Reports 2023
- Video: New Financial Aid Workshop (Need- based Grant)
- Video: New Financial Aid Workshop (Palmetto Fellows)
- Video: New Financial Aid Workshop (SC National Guard CAP)
- Video: New Financial Aid Training Counselor Workshop - HOPE and LIFE Scholarships (Sept. 26, 2023)
- Video: New Financial Aid Training Counselor - Lottery Tuition Assistance Program (Sept. 26, 2023)
- Video: Palmetto Fellows Early Award Workshop 23-24
- ACT Test Scores for State Scholarship (PDF)
- SC Residency Summer Workshop 2023 (PDF)
- Regional Scholarship Workshop 2023 (PDF)
- South Carolina Residency Guidelines
Visit our SC Residency Information Page
- High School Counselor Resource Center
- Interstate Reciprocity Agreements for In-State Tuition
SARA sets comparable standards for interstate offerings of postsecondary distance courses and programs. Member states recognize each other’s participating institutions as eligible to enroll students in distance education programs. The CHE administers South Carolina’s participation in SARA. Visit our SARA page for more information and instructions.
The CHE manages South Carolina’s participation in two SREB programs that permit South Carolina residents to enroll in select programs at participating states’ public institutions and pay in-state tuition, so long as the program isn’t offered in South Carolina.
- Academic Common Market
- Regional Contract Program for Optometry and Veterinary Medicine
- Academic Common Market (ACM) Program Nomination Form (PDF)
- SREB Academic Common Market Program Search
- Relationship Violence and Sexual Assault Prevention Resources for Educators and Institutions
In 2020, the South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (SCCADVASA) created a comprehensive prevention website for teens and college students, parents, educators and community partners to promote healthy relationships and provide strategies to help prevent sexual violence.
Visit www.LevelUpForChange.org to access resources and find more information.
SCCADVASA’s College Consortium serves institutions of higher education and off-campus service providers working with on-campus populations to discuss issues related to sexual and intimate partner violence, Title IX, and sexual and intimate partner violence prevention work on campuses. The consortium meets quarterly on a hybrid or virtual bases. More information about the consortium can be found here:
SCCADVASA’s Legal Assistance Program can provide technical assistance and support for colleges and universities that have legal questions related to interpersonal violence, sexual assault, human trafficking, stalking/harassment, and Title IX. Additionally, legal services (including consultations) are available to survivors at no cost throughout the state. More information about the Legal Program can be found here:
One Page - Legal Services for Survivors (003).docx (External .doc link)
SCCADVASA and its 22 member organizations across the state can offer technical support, programming, and direct services to campuses, student organizations, and any person who is experience interpersonal and/or sexual violence or any person supporting someone who is experience violence.
Click here to access an interactive map to locate the local service provider in your area.
Confidential Help is Available:
24/7 help is available through SCCADVASA's 22 independently operated 501(c)(3) non-profit member organizations. These organizations provide confidential, direct services to survivors of domestic violence, relationship violence, and/or sexual assault.
It is critical that students have access to on-campus support, resources, and prevention education. We encourage institutions to make it easy for students to access their services and to proactively provide opportunities for prevention education and training. SCCADVASA can help with technical assistance and capacity building.
Confidential support is also always available from the national hotlines below.
- Rape Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN): 800-656-HOPE (4673) or contact their live chat through their website
- Love is Respect: Text LOVEIS to 22522 or 1-866-331-9474 or contact their live chat through their website
- National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), TTY: 1-800-787-3224 or contact their live chat through their website