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SC colleges talk about the economic impact of COVID-19

As each of the campuses work to adjust to new safety protocols, the cost to some has been high

COLUMBIA, S.C. — On Tuesday, members of the Columbia Chamber of Commerce met with leaders at Benedict College, The University of South Carolina (USC) and Midlands Technical College (MTC) to discuss the economic impact the coronavirus is having on their campuses and the greater Columbia community.

"The things that you hear about all the time, the sanitizers, the signage and all those kinds of things, you know, they come with a price tag," MTC President Dr. Ronald Rhames said, "and so the cost in terms of the budget is definitely an increase."

RELATED: Technical colleges share plans for fall semester

As each of the campuses work to adjust to new safety protocols, the cost to some has been high. 

"The impact has been swift and it has been quite severe on Benedict College's bottom line," Benedict President Dr. Roslyn Artis said. 

The small, private institution has decreased student housing by 50% to help guard against the virus, according to Artis.

RELATED: Gov. McMaster gives SC HBCU's $2.4 million

RELATED: No Benedict football in the fall due to the coronavirus

"That represents about a 3.5 million dollar loss per semester starting with this fall on a 50 million dollar budget," Artis said.

Each of the campuses contribute millions of dollars each year to the local economy with USC, the largest of the bunch, contributing the greatest.

"Here in Columbia, we estimate that it's about 4.1 billion and that's based on years previous," USC Chief of Staff Mark Bieger said.

RELATED: Planning to move into on-campus housing at USC? You'll need a COVID-19 test first

RELATED: No USC-Clemson game this year due to COVID, SEC says

Each say flexibility will be key when returning in the fall and ask the public to help curb the spread of the virus by wearing masks and practicing social distancing to help decrease the burden.

Chamber Issues Forum

We're #LIVE with Dr. Roslyn Artis, Benedict College President; Mark Bieger, University of South Carolina Chief of Staff; and Dr. Ronald Rhames, Midlands Technical College President, as they share what the school year will look like for higher education and keep students safe.

Posted by Columbia Chamber on Tuesday, August 4, 2020