COLUMBIA, S.C. — SCICU 2021 Legislative Champion Rep. Gary Simrill and more than 90 SCICU students celebrated the successful 2021 student letter-writing campaign during the April 13 Virtual Statehouse Day gathering.
“Gary Simrill has successfully tackled the major issues facing South Carolina by working with both sides of the aisle,” said SCICU President and CEO Perez. “We at SCICU are honored to have the opportunity of acknowledging Gary’s principled leadership and support for independent higher education by naming him our Legislative Champion for 2021.”
SCICU students teamed up and sent nearly 7,200 Tuition Grants thank-you letters to their members of the S.C. House and Senate. Campus legislative coordinators worked through myriad COVID-19 challenges and scheduled events to facilitate student letter-writing. SCICU and campuses also worked together in coordinating a Tuition Grants thank-you campaign with posts on Twitter and Facebook leading up to and during Independent Colleges and Universities Week, this year April 12-16.
“Independent colleges and universities are an important part of the fabric in South Carolina, and continued funding for Tuition Grants and increasing accessibility will remain a top priority,” said Simrill, who chairs the S.C. House Ways & Means Subcommittee on Higher Education. “Collaboration and consensus building are vital for supporting higher education. We don’t have the toxicity in South Carolina like what we see in D.C. The General Assembly and Governor McMaster understand the need for making college more affordable and accessible for all South Carolinians.”
Simrill explained to students that his focus on higher education funding goes all the way back to his experiences as a student at Winthrop in the early 1990s. “I was told that the reason tuition kept going up was because of the General Assembly,” said Simrill. “Higher education funding was an important driver in my initial decision to run for an S.C. House seat.”
“Keeping South Carolina competitive depends on higher education,” Simrill added. “We have to remove barriers for South Carolinians in accessing and affording a college education.”
Katie Harrison, executive director of the S.C. Higher Education Tuition Grants Commission, updated students with the latest funding news for Tuition Grants. “The governor and the House have proposed a $10 million increase for Tuition Grants next year, and if approved by the Senate, will boost the maximum Tuition Grant by $790, the largest single-year increase in the 51-year history of the Tuition Grants Commission. Your thousands of thank-you letters are very influential with S.C. Representatives and Senators in their decisions to support the Tuition Grants program.”