If post-high school education opens doors of opportunity and advancement, shouldn’t we make sure it’s accessible to everyone? This belief is the driving force behind the USC Upstate Greenville Campus, located at the University Center of Greenville.

    And if we are going to make education accessible, we have to meet students where they are. Twenty percent of adults in the Upstate have some college experience but no degree. For whatever reason—work, finances, family, health, COVID—they halted their education.

    A team of USC Upstate faculty and staff was formed with the purpose of understanding the reasons so many students “stopped out.” They identified the major barriers to higher education for adults and created programs at the Greenville Campus to address them.

    1. Adults have work and family obligations. Greenville programs are hybrid or fully online so you can keep working while you study. Students who come in with an associates degree can enter USC Upstate Greenville as a junior, but any student with any level of credits can benefit from degree completion programs.
    2. Career advancement is a hurdle if you don’t have a credential. At the end of the day, the employee with a degree or certificate is going to win out over the one who doesn’t. Because you also need to keep working to keep your career on track, Greenville’s bachelor’s and master’s degrees are hybrid and online. USC Upstate faculty are also building certificate and training programs to fit the demands of local industry.
    3. It can be challenging/intimidating/confusing (insert whatever word you’re feeling here) to go back to school as an adult. With that in mind, the Greenville campus includes all the one-on-one advising and academic support you’ll need, with a team experienced in working with adults. You won’t feel out of place.
    4. Education is expensive. Financial aid and scholarships aren’t just for teens coming out of high school, and USC Upstate tuition rates are extremely competitive. Online programs also include condensed semesters, so you earn your degree quicker. Less time toward a degree equals less cost.

    While one of the driving forces of the Greenville Campus is reengaging students who have stopped out of school, adults who have earned an associates degrees and want to grow their careers can also benefit by entering into a bachelor’s degree program as a junior.

    And Greenville staff want to partner with Upstate businesses. Partnerships could include easy pathways for employees to use tuition credits, on-site college advising for employees, the creation of certificates and trainings to fit organizational needs, and even academic cohorts if there are enough employees who want to have an in-person class together.

    Education should be accessible to everyone. USC Upstate is listening to what community members need and finding solutions. Economic mobility and workforce readiness are hot topics for everyone right now. We can—and will—address both issues with more equitable access to education.