Scott West, South Carolina Green Party nominee for Senate District 20 (Harbison, Downtown Columbia, Shandon, Rosewood) spoke on Frank Knapp’s WOIC radio show “U Need 2 Know” on higher education, student debt and the challenges of bringing increasing tuition cost into line with what people can afford. Ashley Thomas, an attorney with the Appleseed Legal Justice Center was interviewed alongside Scott.
Tuition rates at the University of South Carolina have more than doubled in the last ten years. South Carolina politicians and university administrators have undermined the state-sponsored education for all qualifying students through a steady privatization. The shift to funding the university with student funding has not been met with an increase in student responsibility, but crowded facilities and crushing debt.
- The number of in-state undergraduate students increased 25,500 to 28,000 2006-2010 (enrollment was increased to add revenue).
- The number of in-state graduate students fell from 5,000 to 4,000 over the same period.
- The number of in-state doctoral-professional students fell from 1,275 to 1,125 over the same period.
- We are seeing the number of professional students fall as people who are committed to staying in state find they cannot afford the cost of tuition. This is occurring at the same time as professional development to match the changing economy is more critical than ever.
- The South Carolina Commission on Higher Education prepared a report in 2007 on the effect of increasing tuition to that time, but based largely on 2001-2002 data.
- Carolina Promise fundraising initiative plans to raise $1 Billion for USC. “Over half of the 110,991 donors who committed gifts to the university during the campaign’s “quiet phase” (July 1, 2007, through Oct. 31, 2011) were USC alumni (58,411). Add in parents, students, faculty and staff, and constituents with a direct connection to USC constituted roughly 68 percent of all donors over the same period.”
- Students will pay $320 more for a total of $10,488 when mandatory fees for technology and student activities are included [in 2013].
- The interview was non-partisan, so there is no mention of the Senate District 20 race. The interview indicates that students and alumni need representatives who will advocate for an alteration in USC’s funding formula and a restoration of state support as part of a larger moral budget.
Pick up the campaign fact sheet that Scott used on the show here (PDF).
Contact Scott at 347-581-0230 or firstname.lastname@example.org.