Politics & Government

USC’s growing Palmetto College unveils new round of TV ads

A new round of TV advertisements for the University of South Carolina’s 3-year-old online degree program will hit S.C. airwaves next spring.

The steadily growing Palmetto College unveiled the new video spots – aimed at further increasing enrollment – at Tuesday’s meeting of USC’s trustees.

The three ads profile three different types of students who explain why the online Palmetto College, which allows students with 45 credit hours to finish their bachelor’s degrees online, suits their needs better than the traditional brick-and-mortar school.

One is a college-aged mechanic who wants to keep working in her father’s shop while pursuing a degree. Another is a middle-aged mother who cannot leave her family for school. The third is a gray-haired firefighter who needs a degree to get a promotion.

“We tried to look for three stories that are very similar to the students that we are serving and reaching out to around the state,” Palmetto College chancellor Susan Elkins.

Since its April 2013 launch, Palmetto College has grown faster than expected, Elkins said. Enrollment has grown steadily to more than 800, and more than 600 students have graduated, she said.

The new TV spots, which cost about $50,000 to make, will run in prime time for two years or so, USC spokesman Wes Hickman said.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, USC’s first Rhodes Scholar in 16 years was recognized with a standing ovation from trustees.

Jory Fleming, who has autism, told trustees how his college experience has helped him push his own social and professional boundaries. The 22-year-old from Columbia spoke glowingly about his service dog, Daisy; the on-campus programs he joined; and the professors who embraced him.

“They’re not just teachers to me,” Fleming said. “They’re mentors. That’s part of what has made my journey here very special.”

Fleming is headed to Oxford University in England next year.

Avery G. Wilks: 803-771-8362, @averygwilks

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