SC State could be $13 million short on cash to pay bills - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

SC State could be $13 million short on cash to pay bills

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This letter to the State Budget and Control Board outlines SC State's financial situation. This letter to the State Budget and Control Board outlines SC State's financial situation.
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

It was not even a year ago that Gov. Nikki Haley called an unprecedented meeting to try to light a fire under members of the South Carolina State University Board of Trustees.

Haley was concerned about squabbling between members, several federal indictments including one centered on the board's former chairman and a series of budget shortfalls.

"What I will tell you is you can't keep going the way you've been going. I can tell from all of you it's frustrating," said Haley. "You can't keep functioning this way."

The board is significantly different now and South Carolina State has a new president, Thomas Elzey. But the school's money problems continue to resurface.

In a letter to the director of the State Budget Division, Elzey cites a projected deficit of $4.4 million by the end of the fiscal year. He also says the school could come up $13 million short of cash to pay its bills. The primary cause: enrollment estimates that did not materialize.

Elzey says the university tried to adjust with a series of actions. Among them, reassessing recruitment efforts and hiring new staff to boost enrollment. Foundation and alumni groups pitched in with funding for poor students, tuition and fees went up, and other hiring was delayed. But he says it takes $7 million in spending just to service SC State's now $71 million of accumulated debt.

Through a spokeswoman, Elzey declined further comment prior to Wednesday's meeting with the school's board.

Senate Education Chair John Courson told us some of the university's action plan so far as Courson put it, "doesn't make sense."

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