When the 5,800-member freshman class enters the University of South Carolina next week, about half of those students will be from out of state.
According to The State newspaper, USC officials told a state Senate panel Tuesday the school has to admit more out-of-state students to make up for nearly $100 million cut in state funding over the last decade. They also said the higher tuition from those students helps pay for the education of in-state students.
The newspaper reports university president Harris Pastides promised lawmakers on the panel that the percentage of incoming out-of-state students will not continue to rise.
Pastides also condemned the claim of “voodoo mathematics” by a college oversight board. The Commission on Higher Education has said the $95 million in tuition discounts given to out-of-state students last year ended up causing a net loss in USC’s overall budget. The school said the breaks encourage higher-quality students to attend USC, since they would receive the lower in-state tuition rate. Pastides said the commission used numbers out of context to reach its conclusion.
The hearing this week was part of an ongoing discussion over $586 million in tuition breaks the university has used to attract out-of-state students over the past decade. Senators expressed concern Tuesday that only 58 percent of USC’s current student body is from South Carolina, despite being the state’s flagship school.