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SC Difference

Counter Point

Governor's Point
South Carolina's public colleges/universities are Number Two in the nation in importing students - taking in six out-of-state students for every one South Carolina student that goes out-of-state.

USC Counterpoint
In 2008 South Carolina was ninth in the country in net migration, importing more students to the state than exporting1.  South Carolina attracted 8,320 out-of-state students and in turn 2,640 South Carolinians chose to study outside of the state. South Carolina brought in 3.1 students for every student who left the state to attend college.   Of the 8,320 students who came to South Carolina in 2008 to attend college, 2,719 enrolled at private schools and 5,901 enrolled at public institutions.  Therefore, South Carolina's public college and universities took in 2.2 students for every student that left the state, not six for every one as the Governor claims.

Governor's Point
Out-of-state enrollment at USC between 1999 and 2008 increased 105 percent while in-state enrollment grew less than nine percent. Looking statewide, the out-of-state student population grew from 24.6 percent in 1999 to 28.2 percent in 2008, while states like Florida have cut their out-of-state populations almost in half over that same time frame.

USC Counterpoint
From 2000 to 2009 (the latest nine year period available) out-of-state enrollment at USC Columbia increased from 4,515 to 8,778, an increase of 94%. The increase of 9.4% of South Carolina residents enrolled at USC mirrors the increase in South Carolina high school graduates, which was nine percent over that same time frame2.

The Governor's claim that USC's out-of-state population has increased from 24% to 28% is correct.  This would be a concern if it we were denying SC residents in favor of nonresidents, but that is not the case.  USC has continued to attract more SC residents in direct proportion to the increase in high school graduates in the state.  USC has more South Carolina residents enrolled at USC than ever in the history of the University. 

Governor's Point
In 2008, Clemson and USC spent on average $31,000 on out-of-state student's education annually, but out-of-state tuition as these two schools only averaged close to $22,000. South Carolina taxpayers were forced to make up the difference.

At USC and Clemson in 2008, South Carolina taxpayers subsidized out-of-state students to the tune of around $9,000 per year, per student - meaning that South Carolina taxpayers are effectively handing out-of-state students a $40,000 check for their South Carolina education.

USC Counterpoint
The $31,000 figure is the sum of all institutional expenditures, including all expenditures from all funds. These include sponsored programs and research and auxiliary enterprises.  Sponsored programs, research and auxiliary activities are not supported by state dollars or student tuition. To state that these expenditures are part of the cost of the students' education and to claim that the state is picking up the difference is incorrect. USC Columbia non-resident students pay more than three times the out of pocket cost than our resident students.

Governor's Point
In 2008, USC and Clemson had a combined out-of-state enrollment of 10,778 students. Given the $9,000 annual subsidy for out-of-state students, that means South Carolina taxpayers shell out $97 million every year to help non-South Carolinians attend South Carolina schools.

USC Counterpoint
USC Columbia's total state appropriations were $188,308,819 in 2008.  Total fall 2007 headcount enrollment, was 27,272. Of that enrollment 19,288 were resident South Carolinians. This would indicate that for each resident student, USC received $9,763 in state funding.  If the state were in fact writing a check to USC for the non-resident enrollments, the appropriation would be an additional $71,856,000.

Governor's Point
South Carolina's in-state tuition at its largest public universities remains 145 percent higher than Florida, 80 percent higher than North Carolina and 60 percent higher than Georgia.

USC Counterpoint
USC's tuition is higher than tuition at flagship institutions in other states because USC's state appropriation per student is considerably lower than these same states.  Higher tuition directly correlates with substantially lower state support.

Governor's Point
This massive influx of out-of-state students does not, as some would argue, lower costs for South Carolina students to attend South Carolina colleges. Instead, it forces South Carolina taxpayers to actually subsidize out-of-state students' education, while in many cases making it that much harder for South Carolina families to send their children to South Carolina schools, even if their parents and grandparents are alumni. This is simply unfair, unfortunate and frankly unknown by many taxpayers across South Carolina."

USC Counterpoint
USC Columbia admitted all SC resident applicants for fall 2010 with a 3.0 GPA, 1000 SAT and required core courses. All applicants who were not accepted were provided another avenue through admission to a system campus or the technical college bridge program partnership. USC Columbia non-resident undergraduates pay more than 3 times the out-of-pocket tuition cost paid by residents.

Governor's Point
Compare this roughly $40,000 subsidy South Carolina taxpayers give to out-of-state students to the much-heralded HOPE scholarships - roughly $2,500 annually - meant to help South Carolina students get a college education in-state. HOPE scholarships provide around $10,000 in aid to in-state students over the average collegiate career - only one-fourth of the taxpayer subsidy lavished on out-of-state students.

USC Counterpoint
The HOPE Scholarship in South Carolina is only available to students in their first year of college attendance. It is not a renewable award, so a four-year comparison is irrelevant. (Please refer to http://www.che.sc.gov/StudentServices/HOPE/Q&A_HOPE.pdf.) HOPE Scholarship awards for 2009-2010 make up only 3 percent of the state scholarship and grant funds awarded to South Carolina students.

1According to a study of IPEDS data from 1986 - 2008 by Tom Mortensen of Postsecondary Education Opportunity, a Higher Education Policy Analyst and Senior Fellow at the Pell Institute

2According to WICHE (Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education) data

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Facts & Figures at a Glance

Funding per Student

In spite of decreased funding for higher education from state resources and support that has diminished at a rate greater than our neighboring states, USC serves with pride. South Carolina's state funding per full-time student is $5,700, compared with a U.S. average of $6,928. South Carolina falls 18 percent below the national average. Here is a look at how South Carolina and some of our neighboring states support higher education.

According to the State Higher Education Finance report for FY 2009, total educational revenue, meaning state funding plus tuition and fees, was $10,801 per full-time student in South Carolina, compared with the national average of $10,998.  However, state support per student is 20 percent less than the national average, resulting in higher tuition per student. Simply put, states with larger educational appropriations have lower tuition levels.

Unprecedented Cuts

In just over two years, USC has lost 47 percent, or $105 million, in its state appropriations budget for educating students.

Enrollment and access

USC's mission is to provide access to higher education. Across the USC System, headcount has increased 27 percent in 10 years.  For full-time students, the increase is 38.72 percent. USC educates students from every county in the state.

Quality of Life

USC awards nearly 40 percent of all bachelor's and graduate degrees conferred at public institutions in our state. USC's goal is to educate even more South Carolinians and increase the number of South Carolinians with a college degree, thus increasing income and quality of life.

The USC Columbia community contributed more than $7 million to the local economy in volunteer time and money last year.

Economic Impact

The USC system has an economic impact of $3.96 billion on the state and supports more than 46,000 jobs, or 2.5 percent of the state's job base.

More Facts & Figures