With one day left in the 2014 session, the South Carolina House and Senate on Wednesday agreed on a spending plan for the fiscal year beginning July 1. The state budget for FY 2014-15 goes to Gov. Nikki Haley for her consideration.
For programs of interest to the independent higher education community, the final version of the budget adds $258,784 to the $8.0 million in lottery funds previously appropriated to the Higher Education Tuition Grants Commission. The additional funds will allow the agency to increase the maximum Tuition Grant from $2,900 to $3,000 for academic year beginning this fall.
The committee’s proposed budget fully funds the state’s merit scholarship programs and directs an additional $2.6 million in nonrecurring state appropriations to the need-based grants program at the Commission on Higher Education. The Tuition Grants Commission will receive a proportionate share—approximately $400,000—of the new money allocated to CHE’s need-based grants. The House budget also recommends that PASCAL be given #1 priority consideration for up to $1.5 million in excess unclaimed lottery prize money above the $8.0 million certified level.
The General Assembly returns to Columbia on June 17 to consider any budget vetoes issued by the Governor. We do not expect the vetoes to impact funding for scholarships.