Fast Facts: ‘Prepared in Mind and Resources?’

Download a .pdf version of this fact sheet.

The Policy Council and the American Council of Trustees and Alumni recently took a look at the state’s higher education system. What we found was bad news for taxpayers . . .

  • South Carolina’s higher education system lacks a coordinated system of governance. Each institution is governed by its own board, and each board does more or less what it wants. The result is that institutions compete against each other for tax dollars rather than serving the interests of the state as a whole.
  • The lack of any governing body – as many states have in a Board of Regents – also means that our colleges typically don’t share resources. As a consequence, duplication of programs and majors has become rampant.
  • South Carolina’s colleges are constructing expensive new buildings – even though many of them underuse the buildings they have.
  • In just the last six years, in-state tuition and fees increased by 18 to 36 percent. South Carolina’s state colleges have raised tuition in good economic years and bad – whether the General Assembly cut their state budgets or not.
  • At most of the state’s public colleges and universities, less than a quarter of students graduate within four years – meaning that many students are paying exorbitant tuition costs for six years or even longer. (At one public college, the average student graduates with educational debt of $26,646.)
  • Our colleges are spending more money, but on what? In recent years, many have decreased the proportion of their budgets devoted to classroom instruction – while significantly increasing budgets for administration.
  • The core curricula offered by the state’s colleges are severely lacking – jeopardizing students’ long-term career prospects. Many campuses, for example, require no coursework in U.S. history or economics.

An electronic version of the ACTA/SCPC report may be found here.

Copyright © 2011 South Carolina Policy Council
This material should not be construed as an attempt to aid or hinder the passage of any legislation.

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