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Charleston Business

USC System Enrollment Grows To New Heights

Aug 22, 2018 04:49PM ● By Kathleen Maris

As the University of South Carolina welcomes students returning to campuses, it’s also greeting a new group of of freshmen and transfer students that’s among the the largest and most diverse in the university’s history.

“This is an extraordinary group of students and we’re excited to welcome them to campus as part of the Carolina family,” said USC President Harris Pastides. “This is just the beginning of an academic journey that will equip them with the knowledge and experiences to make a lasting impact on the world.”

Pastides cites a growing national reputation for academic excellence, a superior student experience offered at USC, and strategic enrollment management as keys to attracting this year’s new students. Although the freshman and new student transfer enrollment numbers are still preliminary, highlights from the Columbia campus include:

  • Approximately 7,700 new freshmen and transfer students are expected to enroll at USC Columbia, including more than 4,350 South Carolinians—more students from the Palmetto State than ever before.
  • Entering freshman at the Columbia campus have the highest SAT, ACT, and high school grade point in USC’s history (1275 SAT, 27.7 ACT, 4.1 WCGPA).
  • About 568 freshmen are enrolled in the South Carolina Honors College (1491 SAT, 32.9 ACT, 4.7 WCGPA), and an estimated 1,300 freshmen are participating in the Capstone Scholars program (1372 SAT, 30.3 ACT, 4.38 WCGPA).
  • Applications to Columbia this year increased by 19 percent compared with last year.
  • Sixty incoming Columbia campus students were valedictorians at their high school.
  • African-American freshman enrollment at the Columbia campus is expected to rise at least 15 percent over last year, and has increased 43 percent since 2015.
  • Underrepresented minorities make up 19 percent of Columbia’s freshman class, and 30 percent of all new students from South Carolina are minorities.
  • Fifty-four percent of the Columbia freshman class are women.
  • Students from 44 states, the District of Columbia and 35 countries are represented in the Columbia freshman class, including Estonia, Kyrgzstan, the Philippines, and Sengal.
  • Including graduate students, overall enrollment at the Columbia campus is expected to reach nearly 35,000.

“We’ve had tremendous success in attracting talented students from all over the U.S. and beyond, but we’re particularly proud that we’re also retaining more outstanding students from right here in South Carolina,” said Scott Verzyl, associate vice president for enrollment management and dean of undergraduate admissions. “As our enrollment numbers demonstrate, USC’s reputation as a high-impact global university that offers and unparalleled student experience continues to grow every year.”

System Enrollment

  • Preliminary data also shows overall enrollment is up at USC’s comprehensive universities and two-year campuses, and system enrollment is expected to approach a record 52,000.
  • At USC Aiken, USC Beaufort, and USC Upstate, enrollment is expected to increase by more than 4 percent over last year, for an expected total of nearly 12,000 students.
  • USC’s Palmetto College campuses (USC Lancaster, USC Salkahatchie, USC Sumter, USC Union) also saw an enrollment increase, about 2 percent overall. USC Sumter and USC Union experienced the largest increases this year (7.5 percent and 4.6 percent respectively). Enrollment on these campuses will approach 5,000 students, with another 1,000 students enrolled in Palmetto College online.

“We’re pleased that the USC system is serving more South Carolina residents than ever before. Whether they choose to attend college in the Upstate, the Lowcountry, the Midlands, or online, our new students will build upon a rich legacy of which we can all be proud,” Pastides said.