USC Upstate Announces Upstate Direct Connect Partnership With Tri-County Technical College

April 22, 2011 at 11:00 am

With the demand for higher education in Upstate South Carolina on the rise and the availability of  well-educated technicians, scientists, professionals and managers among the  most critical factors in the economic growth of the region, the University of South Carolina Upstate recognizes that partnerships with two-year colleges are an important key to producing more graduates with baccalaureate degrees.

USC Upstate is finding promising success with its Upstate Direct Connect© initiative, an exclusive opportunity for two-year colleges that guarantees admission to USC Upstate for any student who graduates with an Associate of Arts, Associate of Science or select Associate of Applied Science degree.

Introduced last fall, the Upstate Direct Connect© initiative quickly partnered USC Upstate with Greenville Technical College, Spartanburg Methodist College and Spartanburg Community College. Now, Tri-County Technical College has joined the effort.

A Press Conference was held on Friday, April 22at 10:30 a.m. in Board Room in the Ruby Hicks Library Administration Building at Tri-County Technical College with Dr. John Stockwell, chancellor of USC Upstate, and Dr. Ronnie Booth, president of Tri-County Technical College, signing a Joint Resolution solidifying their Upstate Direct Connect© partnership.

“There are too many people in Anderson, Oconee, and Pickens counties who do not have a college education,” said Dr. Ronnie Booth, president of Tri-County Technical College. “Upstate Direct Connect© is yet another way to encourage people to pursue higher education. They can see their pathway in manageable steps and they are less likely to become overwhelmed.”

Booth sees partnering with USC Upstate as a tremendous advantage for the residents of the Tri-County area and the students of Tri-County Technical College. “Our partnerships with senior colleges are changing the way we define success for many of our students. The Upstate Direct Connect© program will ensure transferability not only for graduates in our university transfer program, but also for some of our career programs. We never want our students to stop learning. Pathways that help them continue their educations are a win-win for everyone.”

“USC Upstate is extremely effective in graduating students with baccalaureate degrees and extremely efficient in partnering with two-year colleges,” said Dr. John Stockwell, USC Upstate chancellor. “Currently, about 40% of USC Upstate’s incoming students enter as transfers, by far the largest percentage among universities statewide.  As a consequence, the percentage of enrolled USC Upstate students who graduate each year with the baccalaureate degree is also the highest among the state’s public universities.”

Both Booth and Stockwell agree that the Upstate Direct Connect© partnership will advance considerably the percentage of Upstate residents with baccalaureate degrees, creating a growing pool of well-educated citizens, enhancing the competitive advantages of Upstate South Carolina.

“Our close partnership with USC Upstate will help to ensure the success of the Upstate Direct Connect© program,” said Dr. Philip G. Buckhiester, provost and vice president, academic affairs at Tri-County Technical College. “Currently, nearly 2,000 students are enrolled in our university transfer program. We want to be sure that each of them has the opportunity to make a successful transition to a four-year college or university.”

Upstate Direct Connect© will certainly allow students to be more deliberate in their transfer plans once entering a two-year college as they will receive enhanced academic on-site advising from both Tri-County Technical College and USC Upstate advisors. Additionally, Tri-County Technical College students will have accelerated admission to USC Upstate, providing smooth transition through the University’s processes including orientation, transcripts, advising, and financial aid. A concurrent admission process also means that students may select USC Upstate courses after completing 45 semester hours of credit at Tri-County Technical College.

Upstate Direct Connect© is providing students with a defined pathway from one college to the next while saving a significant amount of money on the total cost of earning a bachelor’s degree,” said Dr. Marsha Dowell, senior vice chancellor for academic affairs at USC Upstate. “Students who transfer to USC Upstate as part of Upstate Direct Connect© will have a stronger connection to the University from the very beginning, giving them a head start in succeeding in baccalaureate degree completion.”

Students enrolled in the Upstate Direct Connect© initiative will be given a USC Upstate student identification card, ensuring they will receive many benefits:

  • access to priority registration at USC Upstate, assuring their ability to register for classes before other new students
  • enhanced academic advising including comprehensive on-site advising from both Tri-County Technical College and USC Upstate advisors
  • Access to the USC Upstate Library, free admission to sporting events, student activities, events featuring guest speakers, and cultural productions

According to Donette Stewart, associate vice chancellor for enrollment services at USC Upstate, Upstate Direct Connect© provides students with three avenues for entry to the program for completion of their bachelor’s degree at USC Upstate. Students may enter at the time of admission to Tri-County Technical College, as a current student at Tri-County Technical College or as an applicant to USC Upstate who is not currently eligible for freshman admission.  Upstate Direct Connect© differs from the Bridge Program because it is designed for all potential transfer students, instead of just those students not eligible for freshman admission to USC Upstate.

“We are looking forward to working in close partnership with our colleagues at Tri-County Technical College to make Upstate Direct Connect© a great success for students,” said Stewart.  “We currently have more than 100 transfer students from Tri-County Technical College enrolled on our campus, and I hope we will be able to significantly increase that number in the years ahead through this partnership.”

“It can be very motivating to a student to know that admission to a four-year program is virtually guaranteed if they complete an associate degree in our university transfer area,” said Dan A. Holland, vice president, student affairs at Tri-County Technical College. “And, they have the same option in some of our associate in applied sciences programs.”

To learn more about Upstate Direct Connect© at USC Upstate, contact Donette Stewart, associate vice chancellor for enrollment services, at (864) 503-5280 or .  To learn more about Upstate Direct Connect© at Tri-County Technical College, contact Jenni Evans Creamer, director of Bridge and Educational Partnerships, at (864) 646-1615 or