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SC State students and alumni still optimistic despite possible program cuts

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ORANGEBURG, SC (WIS) -

South Carolina State University trustees still have their work cut out for them trying to balance a budget while dealing with a deficit.

But both students and alumni are still optimistic the university will come out on top.

For SC State senior Torian Nunn, the two schools are worth fighting for.

SC State and Felton Laboratory School on SCSU's campus.

"I've got a lot of experience over at Felton," Nunn said. "The staff over there and the faculty over there are great people. They all do their part. The kids learn a lot. They have high test scores. They're exceeding the expectations for a school."

The K-8 school serves as a training ground for future educators like Nunn.

But it's just one of the programs on the chopping block at SC State as the school tries to balance a budget and pay back a $13 million debt.

"The school definitely needs more money," Nunn said. "It needs more money. It definitely needs more support."

With the school on probation with its accrediting agency, trustees expect a hit in enrollment, which will slash revenue and that's making balancing a budget even tougher.

Felton, Women's Golf, Men's Basketball, museum funding, and ROTC scholarships could all be cut.

Tuition has already been raised and furlough days could be coming too.

"Cuts is a part of it, but it's not the answer," said SC State alumnus Hercules Busby. "You can't cut your way to where you need to be, as far as financials are concerned."

When it comes to athletics, Busby wants trustees to go back to the drawing board since cutting more than one sport would likely strip the school of its Division I status.

He said the answer is streamlining staff and faculty.

Additionally, he hopes alumni, businesses, and the community will make more donations more regularly.

He says right now that's not happening.

"We need to come together as alumni, we need to come together as the administration on the campus, the board of trustees, the State of South Carolina has to pitch in as well," Busby said.

Nunn agrees.

"You know, everybody has to do their part around here, and if everybody does their part, things will get a lot better," Nunn said.

Lawmakers have formed a blue ribbon committee that will likely fund SC State once a firm financial plan is in place for the school.

The trustees have yet to pass a balanced budget. They plan to come back to the table with a new budget plan in mid-July.

Men's basketball will probably be spared in that budget.

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