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Students at the University of South Carolina Beaufort no longer have to rely on other colleges in the state system to get a four-year accredited degree.'
USCB on Friday received accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. College Commission on Colleges. USCB officials announced the news Monday.'
"It's wonderful to finally have the 'Good Housekeeping' seal of approval, and that's what the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accreditation means," said USCB Chancellor Jane Upshaw at a news conference at the Palmetto Electric Cooperative office across U.S. 278 from the college's New River campus, now under construction.'
The association requires schools to meet certain standards of learning. USCB began the accreditation process in 2001. Upshaw said the process included completing plans for each division of the college, determining how to measure the effectiveness of each program, and putting together the staff and infrastructure needed to support four-year degree programs.'
USCB got state permission to expand from a two-year to a four-year school in June 2002. The school will offer bachelor's degrees in business administration, early childhood education, English, hospitality management, human services and liberal arts.'
USCB becomes the fourth school in the University of South Carolina system to become a four-year accredited college. The other baccalaureate-degree granting campuses are in Aiken, Columbia and Spartanburg, said USC president Andrew Sorensen, who had come to Beaufort County on Monday to tour the New River campus.'
Sorensen said he expected four-year colleges to become involved in research programs, which includes getting grants.'
"All baccalaureate degree-granting institutions will not just teach, but the faculty will be active in scholarship," he said.'
Until now, students who wanted to earn a four-year degree in Beaufort County through USCB had to take classes through either the Columbia or Aiken campuses. That involved classes on tape, video conferencing and occasionally driving to the other campuses for class. The student's degree officially came from the other campuses, not USCB. '
In the 2003-04 school year, about 45 students went to school through USCB but received their bachelor's degrees through the Columbia or Aiken campus.'
"People in the Lowcountry who could not pick up and move to Columbia or Aiken ... now can stay here, continue their jobs and meet their family functions and earn a baccalaureate degree," Sourness said.