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Palmetto College

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Making University of South Carolina degrees affordable, accessible, and flexible to all South Carolinians since 2013.

Since 2013, Palmetto College has made a statewide impact helping South Carolinians attain degrees where they live and work.

The regional Palmetto College campuses - USC Lancaster, USC Salkehatchie, USC Sumter, and USC Union - serve rural and underserved areas across the state. These campuses offer a point of entry toward a baccalaureate education to students within their local communities, reaching thousands of students who otherwise might not be able to access opportunities for higher education. Palmetto College Columbia is the academic unit for Palmetto College on the UofSC Columbia campus, and features Fort Jackson degree programs, two Palmetto College bachelor's degree programs, and Palmetto Pathway; a residential freshman bridge program.

Adding to the impact and flexible education opportunities of its statewide network of two-year colleges, seven online degree completion programs were launched through Palmetto College Online in 2013 to offer a way to earn a baccalaureate degree without leaving home or losing income by taking time out of a career. The number of original programs has more than tripled to 24 since inception. Students from anywhere who have completed their first two years at an appropriately accredited institution can complete one of a variety of in-demand bachelor's degrees online without having to sacrifice commitments to family or work. These students can take advantage of all the resources of the entire University of South Carolina System, and their degrees are awarded by our four-year institutions located around the state.

Through high quality higher education opportunities offered both on-campus and online, Palmetto College has been able to provide an accessible, affordable and flexible education to South Carolinians for nearly a decade. Palmetto College has made a tremendous difference in the state by addressing the high need for degrees for the state's workforce, creating a positive impact on economic development, and improved quality of life for South Carolinians.


10 Areas of Growth in the Past 10 Years

Palmetto College has four regional institutions with campus sites throughout South Carolina that offer associate degrees only. These include: USC Lancaster (Lancaster and Indian Land locations), USC Salkehatchie (Allendale and Walterboro locations), USC Sumter, and USC Union (Union and Laurens locations). Associate degrees are also awarded to our service men and women through Fort Jackson and Shaw AFB.

Online associate and bachelor's degree programs are offered through partnerships with the system's four-year institutions - USC Aiken, USC Beaufort, UofSC Columbia, and USC Upstate.

pc system map

When USC Palmetto College first launched in 2013, seven new online bachelor's degree completion programs were offered by USC Aiken, USC Beaufort, USC Columbia, and USC Upstate. Over the past decade, seventeen new online degree completions programs have been added to our offering, including an online Associate degree in 2021.

The seven degrees offered at Palmetto College's launch in 2013 included: Business Administration - Management, Criminal Justice, Elementary Education, Human Services, Liberal Studies, RN-BSN Nursing, and Organizational Leadership.

New degree programs - including Hospitality Management, Information Management and Systems, Public Health (B.S.), Business Administration - Accounting, Health Informatics, and Special Education - were added in 2016 and 2017.

Then, in the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020/2021, Palmetto College pushed to offer more online degrees to serve South Carolinians and added seven new online degree programs. These included: Applied Computer Science (Cybersecurity), Communication, Psychology (B.A.), Psychology (B.S.), Sociology, Criminal Justice (Crime Analysis), and the online Associate degree.

Palmetto College's commitment to provide affordable, accessible, and flexible UofSC degrees continues today, as four new degrees - Communication (Public Relations), Emerging Media, English, and Public Health (B.A.) - will be offered in Fall 2022.

Since its launch, overall student headcount across Palmetto College has increased by 34.6%. The jump in student headcount includes: an increase of 22% in headcount enrollment at the Palmetto College Campuses (Lancaster, Salkehatchie, Sumter, and Union) and an increase of 160% in headcount in the Palmetto College Online bachelor’s degree completion programs, with over 1,300 students enrolled.

During the Fall 2021 semester, Palmetto College served over 5,100 students from local communities across the state, an increase of over 20 percent from a decade ago, through its regional Palmetto College campuses and Palmetto College Columbia. Thirty-eight percent of these Palmetto College campus students are underrepresented minorities, and 90 percent of those students remain in South Carolina after they graduate. Palmetto College campuses are raising the educational levels of South Carolina's student and communities of deepest need.

Since its inception, 5,943 students have enrolled in one of the now 20 online bachelor's degree completion programs, with more than 55,000 enrollments in the more than 4,000 courses offered to-date.


Since 2013, more than 6,000 students have graduated with degrees from our Palmetto College Campuses or Palmetto College Online programs (3,600+ from PC Campuses; 2,500+ from PC Online programs). We are proud of our graduates, who have seen the reward for their hard work and commitment to pursue their education despite the obstacles they may have been facing.

Read here about our successful graduates, who received a high-quality UofSC education on their time, wherever they were.

Each year, we honor our outstanding student leaders for their achievements in leadership and Academic Excellence. Palmetto College also offers a variety of scholarships. The Palmetto College Scholarship Committee is responsible for selecting recipients. In addition, each campus as well as USC Fort Jackson and Shaw AFB have scholarships available to students.

Since Palmetto College's inception in 2013, $14.5M has been raised in philanthropy; this has supported initiatives on every campus, covering programmatic needs, student scholarships, capital investments, campus beautification, and faculty research.

Support Palmetto College Online students by giving today!

Our Palmetto College faculty and staff make a point to connect with local elementary and middle school students to inspire college attendance. K-12 programs are a priority on each Palmetto College campus, which provide opportunities such as a Summer STEM camp, partnerships through Promise Neighborhood and Call me MiSTER, Leadership Institutes, community venues, libraries and gardens, and educational galleries (Native American Studies Center, Public Archeology at the Topper Site, and the SC Center for Oral Narrative.)

In March 2021, Governor McMaster awarded $6 million of the Governor's Emergency Education Relief (GGER) funds to the University of South Carolina, who, in partnership with Benedict College, will establish eight Apple computer labs statewide. Four of which will be located on our four Palmetto College regional campuses. Each site will provide Apple products and educational programming to faculty, staff, students, and the community at no cost to the user. UofSC Palmetto College campuses are all located within 15 miles or less of a broadband desert, according to the South Carolina Broadband Map, providing reliable technology and internet access to these communities.

Lastly, as of 2022, 53 high schools across the state are able to provide courses for dual credit and early college through partnerships with Palmetto College regional campuses. The purpose of the course is to provide an avenue through which highly talented high school student can earn college credit while simultaneously meeting high school graduation requirements, by taking courses in the high school setting taught by an approved USC professor.

Palmetto College Online offers the Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education, Bachelor of Arts in Special Education, and Bachelor of Science in Nursing, RN to BSN through partnerships with UofSC Columbia, USC Aiken, and USC Upstate. In addition, each of our regional Palmetto College campuses partners with he comprehensive USC institutions to provide both on-site Nursing and Education bachelor's degree programs. 

Dedicated to training high-quality nurses, each regional Palmetto College campus has prioritized the establishment of on-site nursing simulation labs, providing access to the proved experiential methods of the clinical education while allowing students to fulfill their requirements close to home. The labs eliminate students and faculty travel to other parts of the state for education and simulation activities, which places hardship on impoverished students attempting to complete a health care degree. The nursing programs meet an increased demand among local hospitals and health care networks for BSN-trained and RN-certified nurses, keeping more nurses at home in the communities that face health care access concerns. Over 1,000 student have earned their bachelor's degrees in nursing through Palmetto College. The resulting BSN graduates address a nursing shortage across the state, especially in rural, underserved areas.

Established in October 2013, the Board of Visitors of the University of South Carolina Palmetto College is an active group of volunteers from all over the state and southeast who assist the Chancellor and campus deans in a range of activities that help advance the mission and vision of USC Palmetto College.

Board members' activities support and advise relations, government relations and fund raising. Most importantly, board members serve as ambassadors, informing members of their respective communities about happenings at and for the four Palmetto Colleges (USC Lancaster, USC Salkehatchie, USC Sumter), affiliated sites (Fort Jackson, Indian Land, Laurens, Shaw Air Force Base) and bachelor's degree completion programs representing the three universities (USC Aiken, USC Beaufort, USC Upstate) and the Flagship institution (USC Columbia). In turn, board members also keep the USC system administration informed about what they are hearing about USC Palmetto College and the Palmetto College Campuses in their communities.

Palmetto College is committed to attracting, supporting, and promoting outstanding faculty who demonstrate excellence in teaching, research, service, and outreach. Palmetto College continues to award distinguished faculty through the John J. Duffy Excellence in Teaching Award, Chris P. Plyer Excellence in Service Award, and Denise R. Shaw Excellence in Scholarship Award.

For more information regarding Faculty Excellence by campus, see below:


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