McMaster budget proposes college tuition freeze for 2019-2020

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - – A section of Governor Henry McMaster’s 2019-2020 proposed Executive Budget attempts to put a stop to the rising cost of tuition for higher education in South Carolina.

McMaster announced his proposed budget on Monday, which includes an appropriation of $36 million in recurring funds for colleges and universities.

“I think that’s great,” College of Charleston Sophomore Bailey Gibson said. “I think that’s great to freeze tuition and not have kids pay more because a lot of kids can’t even afford it now.”

The proposal would increase funding for higher education institutions by six percent if the school does not increase in-state tuition and fees for the next academic year.

“This executive budget takes the first step toward reining in these rising costs by proposing a freeze on tuition and fees for in-state students at our state’s technical schools, colleges and universities for the 2019-2020 academic year,” McMaster said in a cover letter included with his proposed budget.

South Carolina has seen significant increases in tuition in recent years.

“Rising tuition rates is a concern for students and a concern for me just because I don’t want to have to worry about how I’m going to pay for more after I’ve already struggled to pay for what I have to pay for,” College of Charleston Freshman Anaya Waugh said.

The College of Charleston, for example, has increased tuition by nearly 43 percent since the 2008-2009 academic year, according to data from the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education.

“I’m kind of worried if it keeps going up, then I don’t know if I’ll be able to pay for it or not because it’s been a struggle already with the few scholarships I have,” College of Charleston Freshman Brad Kempson said.

During that same 10-year period, The Citadel has increased tuition costs by almost 50 percent, while the University of South Carolina has increased tuition by about 39 percent.

According to a spokesperson from the governor’s office, the tuition freeze would only apply to academic fees, meaning it would not include other costs like housing or food.

But most students at the College of Charleston said the proposal for a tuition freeze would help them immensely.

“Having that reassurance that your tuition cost isn’t going to go up and you don’t have to worry about paying more would be beneficial for students and it will give them a sense of security,” Waugh said.

Neither the College of Charleston nor The Citadel have a comment on the proposed tuition freeze program at this time.

McMaster’s budget proposal is the first step in a long process to finalize the state budget. Next, Ways and Means subcommittees will begin formal deliberations.

The budget deadline is July 1.

You can view the governor’s complete Executive Budget here.

Copyright 2019 WCSC. All rights reserved.

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