S.C. State University president addresses financial status

By Ashley Barker
abarker@scbiznews.com
Published May 5, 2014

S.C. State University is not closing, according to the institution’s president, Thomas J. Elzey.

Last week, the S.C. Budget and Control Board approved a $6 million loan for the university to pay down some debt. S.C. State had requested $13.6 million.

“At the Budget and Control Board meeting, the sentiment among the lawmakers present was that our illustrious university is too important to the past, present and future of this state and that it should not close,” Elzey said in a statement. “Lawmakers are clear that their first obligation is to provide the quality education promised to our students and to their parents who have entrusted their children to the institution.”

The $6 million will be used to pay vendors who “provide essential services to the university, mainly food services and facilities and maintenance,” according to Elzey.

In addition to paying “seriously past due bills,” S.C. State will be able to report the financial support to its accreditation agency, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Last June, the agency warned S.C. State because of compliance concerns related to governance and financial stability.

The proposed loan and subsequent funds from the state may prove to the agency “that the university is well on its way to long-term financial stability and that the state of South Carolina supports us,” Elzey said.

The agency will consider S.C. State’s accreditation status after a review next month.

The university, even with the $6 million loan, continues to carry debt that could “adversely affect future budgets,” according to Elzey. So officials will continue speaking to lawmakers about the remaining money that is needed.

“While much remains to be done to make certain we are on solid financial ground, I am confident about a successful outcome,” Elzey said. “The quality of our academic programs has not been compromised, our board of trustees and I are unified, and we are focused on a vision that will strengthen this university and elevate it to a place of renewed prominence in higher education.”

Reach staff writer Ashley Barker at 843-849-3144 or @AshleyNBarker on Twitter.

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