New admissions policy should benefit USCB

info@islandpacket.comOctober 23, 2013 

University of South Carolina Beaufort stands to gain from a new USC policy that calls for admitting some students denied admission to the Columbia campus.

The new policy, which could go into effect as early as spring 2015, means some students, turned away by the main campus, will receive an acceptance letter to one of the system's seven smaller campuses.

The change will broaden USCB's reach, alerting prospective students to the college's existence.

USCB would benefit from the exposure. It's the newest baccalaureate school in the USC system, becoming a four-year college in 2002. Some potential students might not know about the change.

It's also a good policy for a school intent on increasing student enrollment.

In just the past decade, USCB's square footage has increased sevenfold, the number of degrees offered has tripled, and it has relaunched its athletic program.

Enrollment has jumped to more than 1,800 students today, compared with about 1,100 in 2001.

The new policy should help attract even more students. And after they graduate, they might choose to stay in the area, growing our population of young, college-educated professionals. We could all benefit from these new, permanent residents.

While some might question whether USCB wants to pursue applicants rejected by the main campus, that shouldn't be a problem. Only those who meet USCB's academic standards will be accepted, according to USC leaders. Other criteria also will be taken into account, including where students live and their desired area of study.

But USCB leaders should be careful about one potential problem: Attracting too many new students.

The school offers limited on-campus housing at its Gateway and Beaufort campuses, accommodating about 570 students. A new student housing building that opened in August was full the day it opened, Lynn McGee, vice chancellor for advancement, wrote in an email.

But USCB leaders say they're on top of a potential housing crunch.

Next month, they expect to formally announce plans to open an eighth building in the Palmetto Village on-campus apartment complex, which will house 96 more students. The building's completion date is August 2014.

A master plan addresses growth beyond 2014, McGee added.

The new policy, paired with adequate housing, should benefit USCB and the main campus, as well as help ensure students stay in the USC family and in South Carolina.

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