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Overview of College of Charleston (CofC)

The College of Charleston (CofC) sits in the beautiful city of Charleston, South Carolina. Students here live in a midsize city that sits right on the ocean and, if they live on campus, they will be only a few minutes from a number of public beaches.

The college was founded in 1770, before the U.S. became a nation, and is the 13th oldest higher learning institution in the country. The school offers <1-year certificates, post baccalaureate certificates, and post-master’s certificates for those who do not need to earn a whole degree. Students looking to earn degrees can earn bachelor’s degrees or master’s degrees, depending on their needs. Dual-credit and advanced placement credits may be offered to students who have taken the correct classes and passed their exams.

Looking at a map of the campus, students see that it sits on a peninsula, with the Ashley River on one side and the Cooper River on the other. The campus itself is urban, surrounded by other parts of the city and located between government offices, a hotel, and a day spa. Students may choose to visit the supermarket nearby to buy food for those days when they don’t want to eat in the campus dining facility.

General Information

School Type Public
Campus Setting City: Midsize
Campus Housing Yes
Student Faculty Ratio 14:1
Graduation Rate 66%
Year Founded 1770

Student Enrollment

Total Students10,545


Undergraduate Student

Male 3,456
Female 6,144

Graduate Student

Male 340
Female 605

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CofC Acceptance Rate and Admissions


Male 4,848
Female 10,366


Male 3,345
Female 7,982

Acceptance Rate74%

Male 69%
Female 77%

Enrollment 2,027

Male 596
Female 1,431
Application Fee $50
High School GPA Required
High School Rank Required
High School Transcripts Required
College Prep Courses Required
Recommendations Recommended
SAT/ACT Considered but not Required
TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) Required
Application Deadline February 15
Common Application Accepted Yes

CofC Tuition Cost & Financial Aid

When students want to know what school will cost them altogether, this is the sticker price, which in the case of the College of Charleston sits at around $31,000 for in-state students and $51,000 for out-of-state students, who pay higher costs than students from within the state. This number includes tuition, books, supplies, room and board, and other various fees and charges. In-state tuition was $12,978 for the 2020-2021 academic year, while out-of-state tuition was $33,308. Books and supplies cost around $1,262, room and board was around $12,959, and other fees cost students $3,954. This makes the total cost $31,153 for in-state students.

However, students who qualify for financial aid may pay significantly less for their educations. Students may be relieved to know that the average net price sat at $20,351 in the most recent year. And, depending on how much your family made the previous year, you may be eligible for more government financial aid. In fact, families that earned $30,000 or less paid around $14,750, while families that earned over $100,000 paid closer to $23,400 for a year of education.

Additionally, beginning students qualifying for financial aid totaled 85% of the freshman class in a recent year. Slightly less (83%) received an average of $10,268 in grants or scholarships and 42% received an average of $9,245 in student loan aid.

Average net price 2019-2020
Net Price $19,764
Average Total Aid $20,351
Students Receiving Financial Aid 85%
Room & Board $12,123

Sticker Price

  • Tuition In-State - $12,939
  • Tuition Out-of-State - $33,269
  • Books and Supplies - $1,236
  • Room & Board - $12,123
  • Other - $3,923


Students interested in the academics of the college they choose to attend may do well to look for specific statistical information. These can inform students and their families as to the standing of particular colleges and universities. The retention rate at the College of Charleston is 81% measures the percentage of first-year students who return to this campus for their second year of classes.

The graduation rates (both four-year and six-year) show the percentage of students who graduate within a specific time frame. While a four-year time frame has long been understood as a “normal” completion time for a bachelor’s, students are taking longer to complete their programs these days, with many completing them within 150% of normal time, or six years. The four-year graduation rate for the College of Charleston is 57%, a bit below the average, but their six-year graduation rate is 66%, right at the national average.

Students who plan to work during their time in college may need to consider taking some of their classes in a different format. Evening classes are, unfortunately, not an option, but students may make use of distance learning courses, which are available for some programs. Students who began working before they started going to college may have to work to help support their families. In these situations, taking online classes may be the best path toward graduation.

College of Charleston awarded 2,228 degrees to graduating students. Many of these students majored in one of the five most popular degree programs offered by the school. These include Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services; Biological and Biomedical Sciences; Social Sciences; Visual and Performing Arts; and Communication, Journalism, and Related Programs.

Student Population Total

Student Population 10,545

Evening Classes : No
Online Learning : Yes

Most Popular Programs & Majors

(# of Diplomas Awarded by Subject)

All Business Majors 539 Total Graduates / 24%
Business Administration and Management, General 175 Graduates
Marketing/Marketing Management, General 83 Graduates
Finance, General 78 Graduates
Accounting 63 Graduates
All Biological & Biomedical Majors 288 Total Graduates / 13%
Biology/Biological Sciences, General 162 Graduates
Exercise Physiology and Kinesiology 97 Graduates
Marine Biology and Biological Oceanography 29 Graduates
All Social Sciences Majors 220 Total Graduates / 10%
Political Science and Government, General 116 Graduates
Sociology, General 50 Graduates
Anthropology, General 26 Graduates
Economics, General 20 Graduates
Visual and Performing Arts 166 Total Graduates / 7%
Fine and Studio Arts Management 76 Graduates
Drama and Dramatics/Theatre Arts, General 32 Graduates
Fine/Studio Arts, General 32 Graduates
Art History, Criticism and Conservation 12 Graduates
Communication, Journalism, and Related Programs 160 Total Graduates / 7%
Speech Communication and Rhetoric 160 Graduates
All Other Diplomas 38%

Outcome & Salary

Students graduating from the College of Charleston are well on their way to finding solid jobs in their field. Their early-career salaries average out to around $50,400 and their mid-career salaries increase to around $90,100.

With some math, we can see that, after 10 years, the graduate’s 10-year salary earnings potential is around $702,500 and their 20-year salary earnings potential may sit somewhat closer to $1,603,500 with promotions and experience gained along the way. And, based on the average net cost, we can estimate that their four-year cost of education was around $81,400.

This makes their 10-year projected return on investment (ROI) $622,100 and their 20-year projected ROI close to $1,523,100. While no one can promise that a graduate will find a job in their field, or even that they will find a good paying job, earning a college degree certainly increases your chances of finding a good paying and fulfilling career.

On the other hand, some high school graduates choose not to go to college because the cost makes it seem out of reach. On average, their salaries are often stunted and sit at around $43,654. This makes their 10-year projected income $436,540 and their 20-year projected income sits at $873,080. While those with only a high school education can go on to do great things, invent something or start their own successful business, they often spend long periods of time stuck in lower paying careers that don’t offer the promotions and pay increases they want.

Graduates Salary
College Grads Early Career Salary $50,400
College Grads Average Salary $60,468
College Grads Mid Career Salary $90,100
Return on Investment (ROI)
10 Year Salary Earnings Potential $604,680
20 Year Salary Earnings Potential $1,505,680
Cost of Education (Net Price) 4 Year $79,056
10 Year Projected ROI $525,624
20 Year Projected ROI $1,426,624
No College Education Salary Comparison
National Average Salary $38,792
10 Year Projected Income $387,920
20 Year Projected Income $775,840

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