On Tuesday, Feb. 13, alumni and advocates of the University of South Carolina will come together for Carolina Day. The annual event is a chance for Gamecocks near and far to show their love for the university as well as the importance of USC in improving the lives of every S.C. resident.
It’s also a chance to thank legislators who have helped the university fulfill its mission to provide an affordable, accessible education to all who seek it, and to encourage them to continue to support the university. This year, advocates will highlight topics such as USC’s efforts in the areas of access and affordability, technology and innovation, and workforce development.
Access and affordability
For years, the university has increased its emphasis on providing top-notch higher education options for all, working tirelessly to expand access and affordability. With support from the General Assembly, this academic year marks the sixth straight year that the university has held tuition steady.
While enrollment of S.C. residents at USC has already been trending upward, the university is constantly looking for new ways to bring education to those who seek it while keeping the cost of a degree down. Two bold new initiatives have made that option more reachable than ever before.
Last August, USC announced that all S.C. high school students who graduate in the top 10 percent of their class will be admitted regardless of test scores, provided they complete the required college preparatory high school course curriculum and are otherwise eligible for admission.
Additionally, if those students also come from a household with a family income below $80,000, they will receive no-cost tuition and pay no academic fees at any USC system campus. The USC Commitment initiative begins with the fall 2024 freshman class.
These are just the two latest steps the university has made in its effort to provide a quality education to South Carolinians.
South Carolina is a Tech Hub. But don’t take our word for it. In October, the Nexus for Advanced Resilient Energy, or SC Nexus, was designated as one of just 31 Regional Technology and Innovation Hubs by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration — out of nearly 400 applicants.
SC Nexus is a broad consortium of higher education institutions, technical colleges, state agencies, the Savannah River Laboratory, economic development alliances, community organizations, nonprofits and private companies in the Midlands and the Upstate, and USC is one of its leading institutions.
SC Nexus will expand concerted efforts focusing on Advanced Energy Resiliency, the consortium’s selected focus. The main focus will be on innovation that will enhance energy generation, distribution and storage. These efforts will enhance battery efficiency, close infrastructure gaps in rural and distressed communities, accelerate high-quality job growth across the state and help the state play a key role in advancing the country’s competitiveness in electric-power technologies.
The area covered by the SC Nexus consortium covers 60 percent of the state’s distressed counties, and SC Nexus has a goal of ensuring that 40 percent of the jobs created will be sourced from underserved and rural communities within that footprint. But SC Nexus is just one way USC is developing tomorrow’s workforce.
Systemwide, the university awards nearly 12,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees each year, helping to meet the state’s need for thousands of additional college graduates by 2030.
The university is leaning into its strengths to help provide that workforce — strengths like an array of outstanding health care-related programs. USC has more than 178,000 students enrolled in health science programs. Already, the university graduates 900 nursing students annually systemwide, and both of USC’s medical schools (in Columbia and Greenville) rank in the Top 10 nationally for the number of graduates who go on to serve in medically underserved areas.
University President Michael Amiridis has an ambitious vision of ensuring that all students, regardless of major or class standing, have the chance to graduate with the skills to succeed in their chosen careers. Four new certificate programs are doing just that.
In fall 2023, a new digital studies program was established. And in spring 2024, programs in data analytics and visualization, project leadership and management, and strategic thinking and communication were launched. These certificates will supplement students’ major studies and prepare them for career success right out of the gate.
These are just a few of the ways the University of South Carolina is building a stronger, healthier and more successful state.
Share our message
Faculty and staff members, students and anyone with an affinity for the university are invited to join in Carolina Day by sharing their own stories of how the university has impacted their life. Follow along on Twitter and share your own stories using the hashtag #USCImpact.