Be a USC graduate right here in Sumter

Palmetto College program allows area students to complete bachelor’s degree from USC Sumter

BY BRUCE MILLS
bruce@theitem.com
Posted 1/25/19

“You can start here and finish here.” That’s the slo­gan the University of South Carolina Sumter uses more and more now as it has expanded its online, four-year …

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Be a USC graduate right here in Sumter

Palmetto College program allows area students to complete bachelor’s degree from USC Sumter

Posted

“You can start here and finish here.” That’s the slo­gan the University of South Carolina Sumter uses more and more now as it has expanded its online, four-year bachelor’s degree options.

Traditionally a two-year college with a few cooperative de­gree programs with four-year schools on its campus, now since the 2016-17 year USC Sumter offers 13 online bachelor’s pro­grams covering a wide array of career interests – from business to nursing to education with many in between.

Those programs are under an umbrella of the USC system called Palmetto College. These days, USC Sumter is officially referred to as a Palmetto College campus instead of a regional campus in the state system, according to Chris Knezevich, Pal­metto College coordinator at the school. Three other tradition­al two-year colleges in the system – USC Lancaster, USC Union and USC Salkehatchie – are also considered Palmetto College campuses.

The system also has four four-year degree campuses in USC Columbia, USC Aiken, USC Upstate and USC Beaufort. They are considered “host campuses” for Palmetto College stu­dents, and the students are officially enrolled in one of those four universities even though they don’t step foot onto the campuses.

The flexibility that online coursework and degree programs offers cannot be matched, Knezevich said.

Online degree programs can be done from home any time of day, making it ideal for people who work full-time or are raising a family or who don’t want to commute or move.

“You can log in any time of day and even pull it up on your phone at work on your lunch break and do your class participa­tion that way,” Knezevich said.

The most popular online degree programs locally are Organizational Leadership and Lib­eral Studies (via USC Columbia), Nursing (via USC Upstate) and Business Administration – Management concentration (via USC Aiken).

Organizational Leadership and Liberal Stud­ies are so popular, according to Knezevich, be­cause USC Sumter also has classes available on campus with hands-on professors who are available to teach the bachelor’s-level course­work. So, they are a mix of classes and online work, he said.

The online bachelor’s in Nursing (BSN) is pop­ular with CCTC graduates as feeder students. The BSN credential is a growing requirement of health care employers, and Central Carolina registered nurse graduates can go from RN to BSN in one calendar year, starting in the sum­mer and concluding the following May, Knezev­ich said.

A little more than 1,000 students are current­ly enrolled in one of the state’s four Palmetto College campuses, and, since the launch of the program in 2013, there have been 1,234 grad­uates from the four host campuses.

“You can become a USC graduate with a four-year degree right here,” Knezevich said.

USC Sumter also offers all Palmetto College students internship opportunities locally for three credit hours toward their degree.

Online coursework via Palmetto College is competitive in price with other online schools, he said, and significantly cheaper than “on-the-ground” courses at different colleges.

According to Knezevich, one of Palmetto College’s target audiences is people who have the majority of their general education college pre-requisite courses done. Even if potential students lack a chemistry course or something else, they can typically do that online now to fill in any gaps.

The program will certainly continue to grow in the years ahead, Knezevich said, and online graduates can have a degree with the USC brand name.

A 2006 USC Sumter graduate and 2008 USC Columbia graduate with a Bachelor’s in Crimi­nal Justice, Knezevich said he could have real­ly used the program when he was commuting daily from Sumter to Columbia for classes.

“I had my first child when I was commuting,” Knezevich said “So, I can attest to a lot of stu­dents what it’s like trying to manage being a student in Sumter and commuting back and forth.”

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Online bachelor’s programs........................ Host campus

Business Administration – Management........... USC Aiken

Business Administration – Accounting.............. USC Aiken

Criminal Justice.............................................. USC Upstate

Elementary Education..................................USC Columbia

Health Informatics......................................... USC Upstate

Health Promotion..........................................USC Beaufort

Hospitality Management...............................USC Beaufort

Human Services.............................................USC Beaufort

Information Management and Systems......... USC Upstate

Liberal Studies..............................................USC Columbia

Nursing (RN-BSN) .......................................... USC Upstate

Organizational Leadership...........................USC Columbia

Special Education.............................................. USC Aiken