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Gov. Sanford Exposes Myth #2 about Higher Education in SC

September 23, 2010





Contact: Ben Fox   803-734-2100

Governor Exposes Myth #2 about Higher Education in SC

Columbia, S.C. – September 21, 2010 – Leading up to the statewide Higher Education Summit planned for next week Tuesday, the Governor has committed to helping clear away several misperceptions about higher education, student body composition, and college affordability. The second of these myths is as follows:

MYTH #2:  Importing large numbers of out-of-state students improves affordability for in-state SC students.


* South Carolina’s public colleges/universities are Number Two in the nation in importing students – taking in six out-of-state students for every one South Carolina student that goes out-of-state.

* Out-of-state enrollment at USC between 1999 and 2008 increased 105 percent while in-state enrollment grew less than nine percent. Looking statewide, the out-of-state student population grew from 24.6 percent in 1999 to 28.2 percent in 2008, while states like Florida have cut their out-of-state populations almost in half over that same time frame.

* In 2008, Clemson and USC spent on average $31,000 on out-of-state student’s education annually, but out-of-state tuition as these two schools only averaged close to $22,000. South Carolina taxpayers were forced to make up the difference.

* At USC and Clemson in 2008, South Carolina taxpayers subsidized out-of-state students to the tune of around $9,000 per year, per student – meaning that South Carolina taxpayers are effectively handing out-of-state students a $40,000 check for their South Carolina education.

* In 2008, USC and Clemson had a combined out-of-state enrollment of 10,778 students. Given the $9,000 annual subsidy for out-of-state students, that means South Carolina taxpayers shell out $97 million every year to help non-South Carolinians attend South Carolina schools.

* South Carolina’s in-state tuition at its largest public universities remains 145 percent higher than Florida, 80 percent higher than North Carolina and 60 percent higher than Georgia.

“This massive influx of out-of-state students does not, as some would argue, lower costs for South Carolina students to attend South Carolina colleges,” Gov. Mark Sanford. “Instead, it forces South Carolina taxpayers to actually subsidize out-of-state students’ education, while in many cases making it that much harder for South Carolina families to send their children to South Carolina schools, even if their parents and grandparents are alumni. This is simply unfair, unfortunate and frankly unknown by many taxpayers across South Carolina.”

“Compare this roughly $40,000 subsidy South Carolina taxpayers give to out-of-state students to the much-heralded HOPE scholarships – roughly $2,500 annually – meant to help South Carolina students get a college education in-state. HOPE scholarships provide around $10,000 in aid to in-state students over the average collegiate career – only one-fourth of the taxpayer subsidy lavished on out-of-state students.

“This raises the question: why would South Carolina taxpayers be subsidizing out-of-state students’ education to a greater degree than South Carolina’s own students? So while we certainly welcome out-of-state students who want a first-class South Carolina education, the reality is that our state’s current higher ed situation may in fact be favoring folks from the Jersey Shore over the Grand Strand, the Upstate, the Lowcountry and everywhere in between.”

Next week’s Higher Education Summit will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, September 28, in the Academic Center Auditorium (Room 116) at Midlands Technical College, Airport Campus (1260 Lexington Drive, West Columbia). All interested South Carolinians, college students, parents, community leaders, legislators, stakeholders, and members of the media are invited to attend. Given the number of RSVPs already received, please call or email Leigh LeMoine (803-734-0067; with any questions and to confirm your attendance.


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