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SC State clears first legislative hurdle in effort to secure $12M loan

Published: Dec. 3, 2014 at 5:26 PM EST|Updated: May. 12, 2016 at 1:21 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - South Carolina State University cleared its first hurdle in its efforts to secure a $12 million loan from the state to help shore up the university's finances.

The House Joint Bond Review Committee voted in favor of helping the university during a meeting Wednesday afternoon.

A Blue Ribbon Review Panel recommended the state give SCSU a $12 million loan. This proposed loan follows a $6 million loan the historically black public university received in April.

"I suspect there will be conversations about the merits of doing that," said state Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter, a Democrat from Orangeburg. Cobb-Hunter sits on the committee as does Republican Rep. Chip Limehouse, who has brought up the idea of University of South Carolina absorbing SCSU.

"I've not heard anybody else who shares that view." Cobb-Hunter said. "I want to assure Bulldog Nation that that ain't going to happen."

South Carolina State University asked for financial assistance from the state after the university announced in April it had only enough money to function for a few months. SC State President Thomas Elzey says the loan is what the school needs to pay back its vendors.

He also says that amount of money will bring the state's only historically black public university back to a point where it can do business.

"Some people are getting accounts payable and money we owe mixed up with the deficit," Elzey said.

Which means even after SCSU uses the loan to pay its vendors, there is still a question of the school's $10.3 million deficit.

"The deficit is based on a budget where we have revenues and expenses," Elzey said. "The accounts payable are the bills we owe."

Legislators, like Senate Pro Tem Hugh Leatherman, are afraid if SC State's deficit keeps growing, they'll be right back.

"If South Carolina State does not follow in strict compliance as the letter said it would, the requirements of that budgetary plan, there'll be no more support from me, I promise you that," Leatherman said.

The proposal now heads to Monday's Budget and Control Board meeting, where if it is approved, the university will get $1.5 million to start and an additional $1.5 million each quarter if the school's budget is balanced in the first year.

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