South Carolina State Seeking $14 Million State Stimulus

The Times and Democrat this week reports on leadership from South Carolina State University appealing to state legislators for a $14 million emergency stimulus to satisfy outstanding debts at the institution. Without the aid, SCSU leaders say institutional operations and services will be compromised.

(SCSU President Thomas) Elzey met with both the subcommittee and the State Budget and Control Board in his effort to find $13.6 million to pay the institution’s bills through June. He has reported that the university has some vendor bills past due for 90 days or more.

By April, services will be cut off in some areas and students will feel the pinch, he said.

Elzey told the Budget and Control Board, “Our situation is pretty difficult.

“If we do not receive some form of assistance in the next month or so, it will put us in a very difficult position.”

While some lawmakers questioned turnover in leadership and lack of accountability at the university, trends in state funding and cost increases show a broader picture of financial strain on the institution. Between 2008-13, South Carolina ranked in the top ten nationally of reduced state spending per student, cutting about 39 percent over the measured period for state institutions.

Over the same period, tuition at public institutions has increased by more than 16 percent, ranking the state among the nation’s lowest, but placing increased financial hardship on SCSU’s student population, of which more than 97 percent of students qualify for need-based financial aid.