COLUMBIA, S.C. — Thanking members of the General Assembly and Gov. Henry McMaster for their continued strong support of need-based financial aid, including S.C. Tuition Grants, was the primary mission of more than 100 students and campus staffers at the State House during Higher Education Day on April 19.
“The S.C. Tuition Grants program helps more than 12,000 South Carolina resident students make the decision to stay in the state and attend the private college or university that best meets their educational needs,” said SCICU President and CEO Jeff Perez. “We are grateful for the continued commitment of the governor and General Assembly to need-based aid for in-state students. While other states have cut need-based aid for higher education, South Carolina’ s increasing investment in the Tuition Grants program supports development of the state’s future leaders and fuels economic growth.”
The April 19 Higher Education Day marked the second annual joint advocacy effort of South Carolina resident students attending SCICU member private colleges and universities, public two- and four-year institutions, and the technical college system. Their combined message was clear: “Thanks for need-based grants and scholarships supporting S.C. residents!”
Higher Education Day student participants hailed from the S.C. Upstate to the Lowcountry and all points in between. SCICU’s participating colleges ranged from North Greenville University in the mountains to Charleston Southern University on the coast. Students and staff from 16 of SCICU’s 21 member campuses traveled to Columbia to show support in the April 19 event. SCICU member institutions attending Higher Education Day included Allen University, Anderson University, Benedict College, Charleston Southern University, Claflin University, Columbia College, Columbia International University, Erskine College, Furman University, Limestone University, Morris College, North Greenville University, Presbyterian College, Spartanburg Methodist College, Voorhees University, and Wofford College.
Students started the day visiting their respective members of the General Assembly in their Blatt and Gressette offices prior to the start of the House and Senate sessions. Student advocates also enjoyed impromptu meetings with members of the General Assembly on the second floor lobby before the House and Senate went into session at 10 a.m.
During the House’s 10 a.m. session, student advocates gathered in the balcony for recognition by the floor and Rep. Tim McGinnis’ (R- Horry, chair of the House Higher Education subcommittee) reading of H. 4288, a concurrent resolution for recognizing April 19, 2023 as South Carolina Higher Education Day. Students received a rousing round of applause from House members.
Joint Higher Education Day culminated with presentations by three student speakers representing public institutions, private colleges and universities, and technical colleges. The speakers explained the personal value of state-based financial aid in affording the college of their choice and reducing student loan debt.
Lander University’s Alayna Harding presented on behalf of public two- and four-year colleges and universities. Kristen Reed, a student at Midlands Technical College, spoke on behalf of the technical college system.
The final student speaker, Benedict College’s Kylah Montgomery, a junior majoring in studio art, represented SCICU member colleges and universities. She explained why Tuition Grants have been an important part of her financial aid during her three years at Benedict.
Please read the transcript of Kylah Montgomery’s entire Higher Education Day presentation and remarks here.