Prominent state legislators attacked South Carolina’s higher education commission Tuesday, saying it has no authority to put conditions on funding for new college construction projects.
Lawmakers on the Joint Bond Review Committee criticized guidelines the Commission on Higher Commission (CHE) has begun using on “ancillary” construction projects — those facilities such as sports facilities not considered core for academics. The commission last December voted to use tougher standards on such projects, including recommending that any at least 50 percent of the project be funded either up front or with private equity before they approve borrowing.
Last year, the JBRC overrode the commission after commissioners told Coastal Carolina University to raise more private funds for $31.8 million in football stadium renovations. The JBRC followed that up Tuesday by again disregarding the commission’s request that Clemson University reduce its $12.5 million borrowing request for a new tennis facility and instead use private funds to cover half the cost. [Read more…]