By SEANNA ADCOX
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - The Commission on Higher Education could be forced to close next fiscal year under a budget amendment approved by the South Carolina House.
The House voted Monday to transfer the agency's $3 million administrative budget to the treasurer's office in 2015-16.
Rep. Jim Merrill acknowledges his proposal's chief purpose is to send a message and force progress on the idea of creating a regulatory agency to oversee the state's higher education system.
That could include transitioning the commission into a Board of Regents.
Merrill says South Carolina needs an agency that could prevent duplication and rein in growth at the state's 33 colleges and technical schools, rather than serve as advocates.
The idea of creating a college regents system has died repeatedly for more than a decade.