The University of South Carolina’s Board of Trustees approved a system-wide budget for next school year which will increase tuition growth to 2.9 percent, although the university said that was the lowest raise since 1998.
In a release the university said that tuition for the 2018-2019 school year will increase 2.9 percent; food service will increase 3.5 percent and housing will increase around 4 percent, depending on the dorm.
In-state undergraduates will pay an additional $177 per semester on tuition, while out-of-state students will pay $468 more per semester. However, when combined with other fee increases, an in-state student living in a campus dorm and keeping a meal plan could over pay $780 more.
The tuition and fee increase affects all of USC’s branch campuses. The only group of students in the system whose tuition will stay the same is out-of-state students at USC’s Medical School in Columbia and Greenville.
The $1.6 billion plan supports a variety of academic enhancements, technology upgrades and initiatives to increase access across the state. The new budget does reduce the cost for students of USC’s online Palmetto College who have accumulated more than 75 hours toward a bachelors degree
Projects funded under USC’s new 2018-19 budget plan include:
A continuation of an initiative to bolster teaching and research in key disciplines at USC Columbia through targeted investment, particularly programs that are in high-demand, high-employability sectors in South Carolina.
Upgrades and security enhancements to the university’s IT network.
Targeted investments in law enforcement and safety initiatives.
Enhance and expand programs at Regional Palmetto Colleges throughout the state and online, providing pathways to more South Carolinians to earn bachelor’s degrees—including the initial phases of the Palmetto Pathway program in Columbia, an initiative to provide a low cost of entry to a bachelor’s degree at approximately $7,000 per year.
SC’s eight-campus system will receive an increase of more than $8.2 million in recurring funds under the state budget plan approved by the General Assembly last month. That would represent the largest increase in state support in recent years, beginning to reverse a 10-year trend of stagnant funding.
“While there is still work to be done, it’s very encouraging that the leadership in the General Assembly recognizes that additional state investment has a direct and immediate impact on lessening the financial burden on South Carolina families. We look forward to more conversations with lawmakers on ways to ensure college remains affordable and accessible,” said USC President Harris Pastides in a release this week.
One promising path forward is the Higher Education Opportunity Act, a comprehensive bipartisan proposal that both restores funds to state institutions and provides more opportunity for South Carolina students to earn a degree. A U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June paves the way for states to realize new revenue through Internet retail sales. A significant portion of the funds would be dedicated to higher education and would reward schools for holding down tuition and enrolling more South Carolinians.