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Tuition hike, furloughs approved in SC State's balanced budget - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

Tuition hike, furloughs approved in SC State's balanced budget

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

Tuition will go up, employees will have to take seven unpaid days off, and millions of dollars in cuts are all part of the budget approved by South Carolina State University's Board of Trustees on Friday afternoon.

The budgetary debate process brought plenty of tension as board members dueled it out on what has already been a difficult process for the university.

To start, trustees raised tuition by 3.2 percent for in-state students, 5 percent for out-of-state students, and 3 percent for part-time students.

Despite the tuition increase, the over $5 million worth of cuts were the highest points of contention for many of the trustees.

An earlier budget proposal would have suspended the Lady Bulldogs' golf team and completely cut the men's basketball team. However, Friday's budget spared the men's basketball team, but kept the women's golf team suspension.

Also avoiding the budgetary axe was the Felton Laboratory School, which was a point of particular concern for at least one trustee.

"If Felton closes, South Carolina State loses," said trustee William Small, Jr.

Fellow trustee and budget chairman Katon Dawson said, however, if Felton exceeds its budget for the year, then there would be "hell to pay."

But other parts of the university weren't as lucky. The school's education and general budget was slashed by over 10 percent. The annual fee for food serviced was increased by $115.

Two trustees didn't go down without a fight, however, and said the budget isn't serious enough because they don't believe it puts the university on the right financial path.

Trustee Anthony Grant was perhaps the harshest critic of the budget, calling it a "travesty" and questioned it repeatedly.

"We all want this institution to succeed, but we're not answering all the questions," said Grant.

Trustee Patricia Lott also joined in with Grant's dissension and even said the budget doesn't even address repaying the $6 million loan received by the university from the state Budget and Control Board.

Still, budget chairman Dawson defended the budget, saying it satisfies the state and gives the university the opportunity for additional funding from lawmakers.

"These problems didn't happen overnight," said Dawson. "It's been a process working to restore the university's financial stability on that. A balanced budget was the first step of many we're going to have to take as a university here."

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