South Carolina’s top financial panel agreed Tuesday to extend the deadline for financially-struggling South Carolina State University to repay a $6 million loan.
The state Budget and Control Board voted unanimously to delay the repayment until 2020 after an audit found the state’s only public historically-black college is unable to pay off the loan. The money was initially due by June 30.
SC State last week learned it would remain on probation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, but would keep its accreditation. The accrediting board had first placed the school on probation in 2014, citing problems with leadership and finances. Since that time, South Carolina’s legislature replaced the board of trustees last month and the school is operating under an interim president.
The school is projected to have a $23.5 million deficit by the end of the budget year in June. New board of trustees chairman Charles Way said 90 percent of that non-loan debt is owed to six vendors. Meanwhile, school leaders are struggling to restore their finances as enrollment declines. Only 2,100 students are projected to enroll this fall, according to SC State estimates. That is down almost a third from Fall 2014 and is roughly 550 fewer students than what school leaders used to calculate their budget.
SC State will soon receive $3 million more from a separate fund set up by legislators last year. The State newspaper reports the school would receive an additional $4 million next year under the currently proposed budget.