• From Kenita Pitts-Howard of the SC Commission on Higher Education (khoward@che.sc.gov or 803-737-2224):

     The Academic Common Market is a tuition-savings program for college students who want to pursue degrees that are not offered by public institutions or are at least 50 percent different in curricular content than programs offered in South Carolina. Students can enroll in out-of-state institutions and pay the institution’s in-state tuition rates for more than 2,200 undergraduate and graduate programs. The ACM is not competitive, or merit based, but applicants must meet state residency and college admission requirements.  Participating states are Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia (Florida and Texas participate at the graduate level only).

    A student must be accepted into the institution and specific program desired on a full-time basis and must complete the application for Certification of South Carolina Residency. When the completed application is returned to this office, a copy of the letter showing acceptance into the specific program (the letter must state the degree level and the major) from the institution must be attached. If it is determined that the student is a State resident based on information submitted and that the chosen major is an eligible program, a letter of certification will be sent to the student and a copy will be forwarded to the appropriate official at the institution.

    The popular programs SC students matriculate in are: Audio Production (Middle Tennessee State), Aerospace-Professional Pilot (Middle Tennessee State), Graphic Design (University of Tennessee), Aerospace Engineering (University of Tennessee), Digital Media (East Tennessee), Aviation Management (Auburn), Neuroscience (University of Tennessee), Recording Industry, Music Business (Middle Tennessee), Interior Design (Georgia Southern University and University of Kentucky), Forensic Science (University of Southern Mississippi, University of Central Oklahoma, and Middle Tennessee State), and Interior Architecture (University of Tennessee). The most up to date listing for programs for South Carolina residents may be found on the SREB website at https://home.sreb.org/acm/ChooseState.aspx?state=43.

    When there’s a match, everyone wins. Students save the cost of out-of-state tuition, colleges fill unusual degree programs with motivated students, and states may avoid the cost of creating specialized programs.

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