The higher education budget subcommittee caught school officials and even some legislators by surprise when it approved the language in a 3-1 vote Tuesday afternoon. The measure would be included in next year’s proposed budget, if approved. It must still must go to the House Ways and Means committee, then the full House and Senate, before it could head to the governor.
If approved, the school would shut down July 1, and remain closed for the 2015-2016 school year. All programs, both academic and athletic, would be affected. The proviso explicitly states
Students with at least a 2.5 GPA would have the option to transfer to another state school for no additional cost.
The university has been struggling with financial issues for years and currently owes more than $10 million in unpaid bills to vendors. SC State has already been approved for $18 million in loans from the state and lawmakers say there is still no plan from the school to repay that. College president Thomas Elzey told a House budget panel last month that the school still owes $17.5 million, a figure that includes those loans.
The school confirmed the committee’s actions on its Twitter account and said school supporters “are vowing to fight to kill the measure.”