Some Relief for South Carolina State University, But a Tough Road Ahead

scsu copyLast month, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley signed legislation that fired all of the trustees of historically Black South Carolina State University. Governor Haley and legislative leaders in South Carolina appointed a new board that is charged with getting the university’s finances in order. The university’s debt has grown to about $23.5 million and student enrollments have dropped by 40 percent since 2007.

The board recently declared a state of “financial exigency” at the university. This gives the board broad powers to make cuts it deems necessary to solve the university’s financial problems. The board can now fire tenured faculty members and contracted staff.

Not all the news is bad at South Carolina State. The board was granted an extension of a $6 million loan from the South Carolina Budget and Control Board that was due to be paid by June 30. Now the debt will be rescheduled and the university has until 2020 to repay the loan.

Also, the Southern Commission on Colleges and Schools placed the university on probation a year ago. It could have chosen to revoke the university’s accreditation this month, but instead extended the university’s probation for another year to give the new board time to deal with the financial crisis.

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