The South Carolina Technical College System
For further info, contact Lawrence Ray: 896-5321
During his campaign two years ago, the governors major promise was that South Carolina would have an education lottery. During the November elections last year, the people of South Carolina approved a lottery referendum with the understanding that the proceeds would be used to support education.
A key of the governors lottery program is to provide free tuition to South Carolinas two-year technical colleges. After partisan wrangling about the lottery law, the legislature passed a law that does grant tuition-free access to the states two year colleges. They also made provision for enhancing the states Life Scholarship program that will benefit students attending a four-year institution.
Recent Update: South Carolinas governor vetoed budget reductions for higher education. By eliminating other programs, the governor eliminated budget reductions for higher education.
The State Board for Technical and Comprehensive Education sets tuition limits for each of the sixteen colleges in the SC Technical College System. Each technical college determines the amount of tuition fees charged to its students. During the past year, the State Board raised the limit for tuition by $100 dollars to $850 per term. All but two of the states technical colleges raised tuition fees to this level for the Fall 01 term. By next year, all of the colleges are expected to be at the $850 level. This represents an increase of between 12% and 40% across the System.
Because of the fact that the System has been traditionally funded well below other sectors of higher education in SC, there has been little political outcry over the tuition fee increase. Neither has there been a large student or public outcry against tuition increases. South Carolinas two-year technical colleges remain a value when compared to other higher education institutions in the state. In fact, the political, student and public outcry over tuition increases has been directed toward the states four-year institutions that announced significant increases in tuition.
South Carolinas Education Lottery will provide tuition free access to all students who attend a two-year college and take at least six credit hours per term for a total of eighteen hours per year. This program is projected to begin with the Fall 02 term. However, the legislature determined that students choosing to attend a two-year college would no longer be eligible for the states Life Scholarship.
Higher education governance did not change this year. However, the states Commission on Higher Education did review its performance funding procedures and move to restructure reporting requirements. Changes were made that reduced the number of factors that were reported each year.
At the end of this years legislative session, several lawmakers proposed a study of the states higher education system to determine where services were being duplicated unnecessarily. This proposal did not get funded, however it did create some moderate editorial coverage due to the fact that in a year of budget cuts, the state needs to use its resources as efficiently as possible.
Our review and monitoring action and diversity issues is continuous. At each state board meeting, a technical college president reports to the fiscal/ audit and personnel committee on his/her colleges affirmative action and diversity programs. This has been and ongoing process since 1990. In March 2000, the state board adopted a reaffirmation of the system's diversity/ equal employment opportunity statement.
Over the past several years, our colleges have consistently ranked among the top tier of state agencies in affirmative action performance.
Currently, two of the states technical colleges are searching for a new president. Horry-Georgetown Technical College and Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College.
There have been two changes to the State Board for Technical and Comprehensive Education. Mr. Dan Gray and Mr. Montez Martin were selected to fill Board vacancies.
Recent Update: OCTech has hired Dr. Ann Crook as its new president.
This year proved to be one of the most volatile legislative years in recent history. Major issues such as the states new lottery and its impact on higher education, budget reductions for all state agencies and inequity of funding across higher education sectors have made this a trying year for the South Carolina Technical College System.
The National Council of State Directors of Community Colleges is an affiliated council of the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC). The council provides a forum for the exchange of information about developments, trends, and problems in state systems of community colleges.
Through our affiliation with AACC, we also strive to affect national legislation that impacts our colleges and state agencies.
This is the only Council that represents the collective interest of state agencies and state boards of community colleges. This council is a valuable forum to help state directors deal with the changes in attitude and policies towards community colleges at the international, federal, state and local levels. We will share information and learn lessons from each other to better serve the interests of our institutions in the coming years.