The South Carolina Senate Joint Education and Finance Study Committee will meet again Tuesday to discuss a proposal which would prevent colleges from raising tuition next year in exchange for a permanent increase in state funding.
University of South Carolina Harris Pastides told senators at last week’s meeting that the legislature has got to be involved to control costs. “We can’t avoid raising tuition without greater state support.”
Pastides said that the state is funding its public colleges at the same level it did during last decade’s recession. “Where we are is that higher ed funding by South Carolina represents only seven percent of the total state budget,” he said. “Down from 12 percent in Fiscal Year (20)07. And that, in inflation-adjusted terms, is about $300 million.”
Committee co-chair State Sen. Vincent Sheheen, D-Kershaw, said South Carolina has the highest college tuition in the Southeast. USC and most of the state’s other public colleges have gradually increased tuition by 2-3 percent each year since the 2008 recession.