USC to offer ability to earn degree online

      COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- The University of South Carolina is the state's first public college to offer residents a way to earn a bachelor's degree at home, if they have two years of credits in the classroom.

      The university expects to launch Palmetto College next fall with half a dozen degree programs.

      As the first step, USC launched Back to Carolina this semester, which offered a single, general degree. Only former USC students over 25 years old could apply. More than 30 are enrolled.

      USC received $5 million this year to jumpstart Palmetto College, broadening the course offerings and who can apply. Provost Michael Amiridis says the concept otherwise would have taken several years to become reality.

      Officials say it's a way to increase residents' access to higher education.