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USC announces tuition freeze, improvements during State of the University

During the State of the University address, President Bob Caslen announced the university's next steps in response to COVID-19, including a tuition freeze.
Credit: WLTX

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The University of South Carolina announced a tuition freeze for the next academic year to lessen the financial burden on students caused by the coronavirus. 

University President Bob Caslen outlined the plan during his State of the University address Wednesday, Sept. 30.  

During the address, Caslen spoke about the university response to COVID-19, as well as additional steps for USC as the state's flagship university. This includes "expanding access to underserved residents and boosting its research enterprise," according to the university. 

This was Caslen's first State of the University address as president of USC. He began the address by thanking UofSC researchers and staff. 

“The very fact that our campus is open and has remained open; the fact that we are delivering education to more than 35,000 students using flexible modalities; and the fact that we are navigating the COVID-19 pandemic and taking care of each other; it’s clear to me that the University of South Carolina is demonstrating what it means to be the state’s flagship institution of higher education,” Caslen said.

RELATED: USC positive COVID-19 test rate drops below 2%

Caslen also expanded on the university's strategic plan, For South Carolina: A Path to Excellence.

“Within the very name of our university rests its most solemn obligation: to serve the people of South Carolina. How we fulfill this obligation is what will make us preeminent, and our new strategic plan lays out the pathway to get there,” Caslen said.

Highlights of the strategic plan include:

  • Enhancing diversity among students, faculty and staff while continuing to make campus a welcoming environment for all;
  • working to make college more affordable and offering new innovative degree programs for non-traditional students. USC has not raised tuition on the Columbia campus since 2019 when it increased by 0.6 percent;
  • continuing to build of record-setting external funding ($279.5 million in SFY 2020) while building on existing corporate research partnerships;
  • improving the university’s physical and technology infrastructure to better serve the needs of future students.

“We simply must protect the value proposition of higher education – for our current and future students, faculty and staff. I’ve been talking about this value proposition since I arrived at South Carolina; it didn’t take COVID-19 to start this conversation, but the pandemic certainly has made it more urgent than ever,” Caslen said. 

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To view a recording of the speech or read the text, go to the State of the University webpage.

Credit: WLTX
USC President Bob Caslen speaks on September 30, 2020.

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