Higher Education in Sumter, SC

By Kevin Litwin on February 9, 2013 at 12:00 pm EST

PHOTO CREDIT: Todd Bennett

The University of South Carolina Sumter has always been a two-year campus, but that is about to change, giving students here even more options when it comes to higher education goals.

USC’s main campus in Columbia has announced the creation of a USC Palmetto College that will allow students to earn full four-year bachelor’s degrees at four of its satellite campuses. Those sites are USC Sumter, USC Lancaster, USC Salkehatchie and USC Union.

Students can, for example, earn their associate's degree at USC Sumter and then their bachelor’s degree from Palmetto College, all at the same Sumter campus. This will provide a four-year path without hiring new faculty or constructing new buildings. Palmetto College is scheduled to start in the fall of 2013.

“The college will also allow students with two-year degrees to earn their bachelor’s degrees online, which is especially convenient for non-traditional students who work full time and can’t enroll in regular daytime classes,” says Lynwood Watts, interim regional campus dean for USC Sumter. “Besides Sumter County residents, Palmetto College will be a viable option for students in our surrounding counties of Clarenden, Kershaw, Lee and Williamsburg.”

University of South Carolina officials say the tuition rates for Palmetto College are expected to be about 10 percent lower than at USC's main campus in Columbia. Bachelor's degrees in liberal studies, organizational leadership, criminal justice and health sciences will all be offered by the fall of 2013.

“Other plans include eventually adding business administration and elementary education," Watts says. "It will be a nice convenience for area students to earn four-year degrees from the University of South Carolina system without ever leaving Sumter.”

Morris College and Shaw AFB

Residents in Sumter County also have a number of other higher education options. There is Morris College, a historically black, coeducational liberal arts college operated by the Baptist Educational and Missionary Convention of South Carolina. Morris has bachelor's degrees in majors such as business administration, Christian education, criminal justice, elementary education, health science, mass communication and organizational management.

Shaw Air Force Base provides courses and degree programs at the base from the University of South Carolina, Central Carolina Technical College, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, Saint Leo University, Troy State University and Webster University. The programs are available to Air Force personnel, family members, Department of Defense civilian employees, and community civilians on a space-available basis.

Central Carolina Technical College

At Central Carolina Technical College, the two-year institution recently opened a Health Sciences Center in downtown Sumter. The new building features simulation labs, coliseum-style lecture halls, meeting and study rooms, and viewing areas in addition to classrooms and faculty offices.

“We asked for the moon, and they tried to give it to us,” says Miriam Laney, dean of health sciences at Central Carolina Technical College.

The CCTC Health Sciences Center has diploma programs that range from nursing to surgical technology, and certificate programs from phlebotomy to massage therapy.

Learn more about education opportunities in Sumter, SC.

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