The University of South Carolina’s School of Medicine at the Greenville Hospital System has been given early approval to become a four-year program beginning next fall.
The school’s preliminary accreditation came from the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, the national accrediting body for medical schools. Preliminary is the first step of the process, which takes about four years. By receiving it, the school is now able to recruit faculty and students.
Officials say the announcement is a milestone for health care in the Palmetto State.
“There have been 11 new medical schools that have opened up in the last 30 years,” GHS CEO Mike Riordan said, “It just gives you a sense of how big a deal this is. I think this is going to really transform health care for the Upstate.”
Currently, students can only do clinicals in their third or fourth years at USC. There are 35 third-year students and 31 fourth-year students enrolled at GHS this year. Officials hope to eventually raise the number to about 100 students overall.
USC created controversy last year with its plans to expand the school, as many state legislators questioned the need for a third medical school in South Carolina. Much of the opposition was led by Lowcountry representatives who worried the new school would clash with the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. USC officials assured lawmakers that it would not cost the state any additional funding.