Cuts, Furloughs Part of SC State Budget

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By Monique Williams

Orangeburg, S.C. (WOLO) -- A battle to balance the budget ensued at South Carolina State University.

Raising tuition, 3.2% for in-state students, 5% for out-of-state students; increasing meal fees by $115; extending furlough days from five to seven; and cutting millions wherever necessary are all huge bites the bulldogs of South Carolina State University will suffer.

This, after the board of trustees trudged through a tension-filled meeting this afternoon.

"Seven furloughs is painful but it's being shared by the whole community and it's what we had to do," said Katon Dawson, board member.

The university is on a tight leash by the state legislature to get its finances in order within a year and has to prove it's making that happen.

"It will show them we're serious and doing what's necessary to operate within our means," said Thomas Elzey, university president.

"I feel relieved we agreed to a budget that demands transparency, accountability and it keeps the mission of this university in tact," said Kathy Novinger, board member.

The board signed off on a nearly $76-million dollar spending plan for 2015. The only opposition came from the board chairman.

"When the conversation is about how we cut, how we shrink, how much pain we can endure, it becomes demoralizing and stifles the conversation we need to be having," said Dr. William Small, board chairman.

The vote is final, though, and the board is looking to a millions dollars in gap money from the university's foundation and an increased focus on recruitment and retention to get SC State in the black and keep it there.

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