Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Tuition at the University of South Carolina will be going up 3.2 percent this fall, an increase of $171 per semester for in-state students. The school says it's because of spending increases that the state is requiring but is not completely paying for.
USC student Shenay Turner says, "I don't like it. I'm a first-generation college student so it's already hard for me to be here. I have to have loans in addition to my scholarships and grants and every year since I've been here--I'm a senior now--but every year since I've been here the tuition has gone up."
The state is requiring a 2 percent employee pay raise and an increase in health and retirement benefits but did not provide the school with enough additional money to cover the increases. Putting the Affordable Care Act in place will also cost the school about $4.5 million.
USC president Harris Pastides says, "We are now at a critical tipping point. The current trajectory is no longer sustainable for our students, parents and taxpayers. We must ensure all South Carolinians have access to an affordable college education and the opportunity to earn workforce-ready baccalaureate degrees. Our state's future economic prosperity depends on it."
The College of Charleston is also raising its tuition by 3.2 percent for the same reasons.
Clemson says it's also facing those spending increases and the state didn't provide the money to cover them, but the school has not made a decision yet about tuition.
State support for USC has been dropping. In 2008, 23 percent of USC's budget was state funds. This year it will be 10.8 percent.
President Pastides had proposed a "tuition timeout", in which the school would not raise tuition at all next year if state lawmakers provided the school with enough state funds, but lawmakers did not go along with the plan.