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FREE College Course

The Charleston Clemente Course HSS 101, Introduction to Humanities, which covers literature, philosophy and writing, will be offered free of charge to underserved adults this spring.  

Classes begin Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2024. 
Open to all low-income/disadvantaged adults. 

Classes are held every Tuesday and Thursday from 6-7:30 p.m., on the Trident Technical College Palmer Campus in downtown Charleston during the Fall and Spring semesters. A GED or high school diploma is not required. Tuition, books, materials and bus passes are provided free of charge. Free meals are served during each class. Each student who passes the class with a grade C or better will receive a brand-new Dell laptop at graduation. 

The course provides free computer literacy tutorials and free health awareness classes once a week held by MUSC medical students. Free trips to the Dock Street Theatre and the Gibbs Arts Gallery are occasionally offered during the course. 

Applications will be accepted through Friday, Jan. 6, 2024. 

To apply, complete the TTC online application as a non-degree seeking, part-time student. Applicants must take a verbal placement test at the Palmer Testing Center. For more information, call Dr. Mary Ann Kohli at 843-720-5713 or email  

Charleston Clemente Course at Trident Technical College

 In January of 2005, Trident Technical College launched its groundbreaking Charleston Clemente Course Project, offering courses during the fall and spring at Palmer Campus. Students receive free tuition, meals, books, bus passes, mentoring and refurbished computers. In HSS 101, students embark on a study of art and American history. Students passing this course can then take HSS 102, which combines the study of literature, philosophy and writing. In this class, students are exposed to the Western paradigm through the works of Sophocles, Plato, Shakespeare, Kant and Mill and to the Eastern paradigm through excerpts pertaining to Buddhism, Taoism and Hinduism. In addition to the classroom, Clemente students participate in other activities, including a play.

Many of Clemente graduates go on to complete their associate and bachelor’s degrees. Some obtain stable jobs and careers, move out of the shelters and into their own apartments. Some overcome addictive behavior patterns that have continually sabotaged them.

Although there are now more than 65 Clemente Courses spread throughout the world, the Charleston Clemente Course is currently the only one in South Carolina. Trident Technical College serves as the Southeast Center for Clemente. Courses are held at the Palmer Campus in Room 146.

To learn more about enrolling, contact Dr. Mary Ann Kohli at 843-720-5713 or

What Clemente Students Say about the Program

“The person I used to be was someone who drank a lot, used drugs frequently and went to prison. After getting clean and sober, I joined the Clemente Course. Clemente gave me an awareness of the need for education. It taught me how to understand politics, the economy and the news on television. It made me a part of society."

"Clemente gave me the courage to go to college. It made me realize that I CAN do college and that college really IS for me."

“I now define success as the ability to help others. Success is going to bed knowing that I got outside myself enough to help someone else. For the first time I now think that I have something to contribute to society. I now organize fundraisers for the Clemente Course to give back.”

How You Can Help

Clemente provides each student with a mentor who maintains once-a-week contact with the student throughout the semester. Clemente is also looking for computer literacy tutors and mentors to aid students with computer usage. To become a mentor or computer literacy tutor, contact Clemente Director Dr. Mary Ann Kohli at 843-720-5713 or before the beginning of the semester. 

To ensure the continuation of Clemente Courses, donations can be made to the Trident Technical College Foundation and designated for the Clemente Project. 

Trident Technical College Foundation 
P.O. Box 61227 
Charleston, SC 29419-1227 


  • The Charleston Clemente Course at Trident Technical College received a Service Learning Award by the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education in 2008. The Service Learning Award recognizes programs that extend the reach of the university into the wider community. Criteria included community impact, number of students who participate and integration into academics. Trident Technical College was selected for the Two-Year Colleges category.
  • Dr. Mary Ann Kohli, English instructor and director of the Charleston Clemente Course, received a 2008 Faculty Member Award from the Association of Community College Trustees. This award recognizes faculty members who have demonstrated excellence in teaching as well as innovation and leadership in the college and community.
  • Dr. Kohli received the 2013 Governor’s Award in the Humanities from the South Carolina Humanities Council.