The University of South Carolina-Columbia is the state's flagship public institution. Originally founded in 1801, the university now enrolls more than 21,000 individuals. Despite the high number of students, the school manages to keep class sizes small, as it boasts a student to teacher ratio of 19 to 1, which is relatively low for such a large institution. The campus' location in the heart of downtown Columbia, which offers many student apartments, and its status as prominent NCAA Division I school produce an exciting environment. Furthermore, the university's academic offerings have been recognized for their quality.
Incoming students can choose from more than 320 degree programs, which reflect the variety of standard liberal arts colleges. Because of the high quality of its programs and students, USC attracts large amounts of funding. Students have earned $13.9 million in merit scholarships and fellowships since 1994, while faculty members generated $218.8 million in funding for research and training in fiscal year 2012.
Given the preponderance of off campus apartments in Columbia, about 64 percent of students choose to forego university housing in order to find their own apartment. The campus is located in the heart of the city's downtown district, making it accessible to students living in just about all corners of the metropolitan area.
The school's athletic teams compete in the NCAA's Southeastern Conference, which is perennially one of the most prominent leagues in the nation. The Gamecocks are typically competitive in most featured sports, including Basketball and Football.
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