Students receiving Tuition Grants and other need-based scholarships will receive additional financial aid if the FY 2013-14 state budget passed by the Senate Finance Committee on Friday holds together. A projected $18 million in surplus lottery revenues enabled the committee to recommend that the Tuition Grants Commission receive an additional $400,000 and that the state’s need-based grant program increase by $1.5 million.
Since the Tuition Grants Commission receives a proportionate share of the state’s need-based grant program, it is estimated that the total additional amount from the lottery surplus would be around $650,000. These are non-recurring funds and would not increase the commission’s base budget.
Earlier in the day, the Senate Finance Committee approved an additional $1.6 million in recurring state appropriations for the Tuition Grants Commission and full funding for the Palmetto Fellows, LIFE, HOPE, and Tuition Assistance scholarship programs. PASCAL, the Partnership Among South Carolina's Academic Libraries, is first in line to receive $1.5 million if there is a sufficient excess of unclaimed lottery prize money at the end of the year. These recommendations are consistent with the House budget bill.
The budget still has a long way to go. The full Senate will debate the bill beginning on May 14, and differences between the House and Senate versions will be ironed out in a conference committee. Once the House and Senate agree on a bill, it will go to Gov. Haley who has the authority to veto separate line items. Vetoes will be addressed first by the House followed by the Senate. The General Assembly is scheduled to adjourn on June 6, but could extend the session if next year’s budget is not finalized.