Florence Senator Hugh Leatherman, one of South Carolina’s most powerful lawmakers, says institutions of higher education that raise tuition above a certain level may face consequences when it comes time for allocations from the state.
Leatherman is recommending a 7.3 percent cap on tuition hikes for the 2010-11 school year. He explains where he got the 7.3 percent figure, and says some schools are increasing tuition too much.
Schools that are so far above the suggested limit include the College of Charleston, which raised tuition 14.8 percent; The Citadel, with a 13 percent hike; and Clemson, planning a 7.5 percent increase.
The University of South Carolina plans a tuition increase of 6.9 percent. South Carolina State has slated a 5.7 percent jump and Coastal Carolina, 4.9 percent.
Leatherman says he will consider what tuition hikes were made when discussions resume around the finance committee table next year.
For those who don’t pay any attention to this and go their merry way, we’ve got to get some attention for the families who are struggling. I wrote a letter on tuition increases last year, and some paid attention to it and some did not. So this year I wanted to make it a little bit stronger, for those who do not rein in their tuition increases.
Leatherman says next legislative year he’ll be looking at capping college tuition and putting a more solid cap on the number of out-of-state students allowed at South Carolina colleges and universities.
Leatherman says state government has been downsizing to deal with the recession for a few years, and that says colleges can deal with it as well.
Leatherman says the state has continued to provide funds to students and schools through the Life Scholarship program. He says the program is open-ended against the state’s general fund, meaning that the state has to make up the difference if the scholarship fund is short.
At Clemson, assistant to the president Marvin Carmichael says the upstate school has a tuition increase of two-tenths of a percentage point, just above Leatherman’s recommendation, to allow it to provide financial assistance to low-income seniors struggling to finish their degree. He says the increase will generate around $200,000, which will be matched with private donations.
Tuition will increase 13 percent at the Citadel, but the school’s Vice President for External Affairs Jeff Perez says that what they call the “all-in” cost, the overall cost of attending the school for those boarding there, will only increase 6.3 percent. Perez says in a prepared statement what’s most important to families is the true sticker price of attending the school, including room and board. Perez says The Citadel respects Leatherman’s looking out for the best interest of South Carolina families.
We are working hard to control the cost to attend The Citadel. Last year our increase in tuition and fees was the lowest in 10 years. This year’s college budget is $2.3 million less than last year’s. We are proud of the national recognition we have received for our efforts. U.S. News & World Report identified The Citadel as a “best value,” one of only two public colleges in our category in the country to earn that distinction.