Online Schools in South Carolina
The South Carolina Technical College System is part of a national initiative called Achieving the Dream: Community Colleges Count, aimed at helping low-income and minority students attain a postsecondary education. Currently, five colleges in South Carolina are participating in the effort, joining over 100 institutions nationwide committed to increasing the number of students that graduate with a certificate or degree. Once performance standards have reached approved levels, statewide expansion will take place, and all technical and community colleges will join the initiative.
This is an important step because, according to a report by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, 349,000 job openings in South Carolina created between 2008 and 2018 will require postsecondary credentials. The report also states that, by 2018, 56 percent of all jobs in the state will call for some form of training beyond a high school diploma. Expanding access to higher education, including offering students online degree programs, may play a role in helping create the qualified workforce South Carolina needs for the future.
Online Education Resources for Students in South Carolina
The South Carolina Technical College System features a page on its website where students can search for online classes offered by community and career colleges in the state. According to the site, distance learning is important because it "can be delivered in a format convenient to the student, so that citizens of South Carolina will have one less barrier to address in the pursuit of their educational goals." This means working adults can typically maintain their busy schedule and take online classes at the same time. Even more, thanks to online education, students living far from local campuses now have the opportunity to attend classes from the comfort of their own home.
In addition to community and technical colleges, many four-year universities in South Carolina now offer online courses and degree programs. Prominent institutions such as the University of South Carolina, Charleston Southern, and Davenport University feature fully online degree programs, and others, like South Carolina State and Clemson University, offer courses students can take for credit. There are also a number of schools with a national presence, such as DeVry University and Walden University, where students can earn an online degree. These colleges often boast a wider range of online options than state schools, which are relatively new to e-learning.
Importance of Accreditation for Online Colleges in South Carolina
Accreditation demonstrates that an institution has met certain benchmarks proving it provides a quality education. Employers may not hire someone who graduates from a college or university that is not accredited, as its degrees are not backed by a reputable organization. Accreditation is often handled by private, regional agencies maintained by the Secretary of Education and the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity. Most colleges and universities in South Carolina are overseen by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
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