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Orangeburg, SC (WLTX) - South Carolina State University approved a tuition increase as it continues to deal with deep financial problems at the school.

The university's board of trustees approved the hike by a 6-2 vote Wednesday afternoon.

The increase is 3.2 percent for in-state students, meaning they'll pay $10,089 each year. It's 5 percent for those from out-of-state, for a total cost to them of $19,856.

The board met in and out of closed session for about six hours with SC State President Thomas Elzey while they discussed the budget. During their meeting, they heard a proposal to make $7 million in cuts to the spending plan.

Elzey told the board that the school owes money to a long list of vendors, and has been getting calls from some of them asking for payment.

Among the proposed ideas to trim costs were to close the Felton Laboratory on campus and to make deep cuts to the athletics budget. The board took no action, and will take up the possibility of cuts again next month.

Last week, the school was placed on probation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools for financial and governance issues. Elzey said the school has hired a consulting firm to help them deal with the probation.

Earlier this year, Elzey announced the school had more than $13 million in debt. The Budget and Control Board gave the school a $6 million loan in April to help the university make some of its payroll commitments.

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