Frequently Asked Questions

USC System Legislative request for FY ’14 budget:

Parity funding for USC Aiken, USC Beaufort, USC Upstate


A parity allocation to bring the three USC teaching institutions to $2,487 per South Carolina resident FTE.  This amount is the average annual funding per South Carolina student at all 10 South Carolina public comprehensive institutions.  Total cost $8.3 M.


The average funding provided by the state to support a South Carolina resident who attends one of the 10 SC public comprehensive universities is $2487.  The average funding provided by the state to a state resident attending a private university in South Carolina is $2351. In contrast, USCB receives $940 for each South Carolina resident it serves. USC Upstate receives $1701 and USC Aiken $2297. These three USC system institutions receive the lowest state support of all South Carolina "teaching sector" universities.
Answers to frequent questions: Parity funding for USC Aiken, USC Beaufort, USC Upstate
1.  What is the “Teaching Sector” in Higher Education?
  • Another name for these institutions is the “public comprehensive universities.”
  • The State of South Carolina supports three types of higher education institutions:
  • Research sector:  USC, Clemson, MUSC
  • Public Comprehensives or Teaching Sector:  The Citadel, Coastal Carolina, College of Charleston, Frances Marion, Lander, South Carolina State, Winthrop  as well as USC Aiken, USC Beaufort and USC. Upstate.
  • Technical Colleges and two year USC colleges:  Four USC regional and 16 technical college campuses.
  • Public comprehensives in South Carolina are each individually and independently accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges as baccalaureate universities. Many offer masters degrees as well.
1. Why is USC asking for funding for USC Aiken, USC Beaufort and USC Upstate this year?
  • USC is asking for a “level playing field” for USC Aiken, USC Beaufort and USC Upstate.  The USC System is requesting that these three state institutions obtain parity funding with the other 7 South Carolina public comprehensive institutions before the state moves toward accountability based funding.
  • The timing is critical—or these institutions will fall behind in developing academic programs needed by the state’s new industries. We want South Carolinians to win those jobs.
  2.  What will happen if USC  does not receive the funding?  
  • The three USC institutions are independently accredited to provide the services of a public comprehensive institution.
  • At current legislative funding levels, these services will be severely impacted, becoming an accreditation issue.
3. Why are 10,450 South Carolina students and their parents you serve not getting the benefit of education
 funding given to students served by the other SC public teaching sector institutions?  
  • On average, the teaching sector universities receive $1547 more per SC resident student than USCB. USCB students, parents and local citizens are shorted $2.2 million each year.  The numbers for Upstate and Aiken are $3.6M and $.5 M respectively.
  • Enrollments have grown rapidly over the past decade at the three USC comprehensive universities.  South Carolina parents and students are increasingly selecting USC Aiken, Beaufort and Upstate for local access to full service university education.
  4.  Who is affected by this funding inequity?
  • USC Aiken, Beaufort and Upstate each serve 90% or more South Carolina residents (at USCB, this includes military personnel residing in South Carolina and students eligible for reciprocity--as required by legislative mandate). 
  • USC Aiken, Beaufort and Upstate serve minority students, who make up 25% to 31% of their respective student populations.
 5. Don’t USC system universities get money from the general funding of USC Columbia?  
  • USCAiken, Beaufort and Upstate receive no direct funding from USC Columbia. These universities’ state funding comes only through direct line item appropriation by the SC legislature.
  • To increase their efficiency, USC system institutions share services and contracts.  USC Aiken, USC Beaufort and USC Upstate pay for USC system services through a “direct charge for services.” 
 6.  Why does this funding matter to South Carolina?  
These institutions are critical to building a highly skilled professional workforce for the future of the state:
  • USC Upstate hosts the largest baccalaureate nursing program in the state. 
  • USC Beaufort serves a four country region with no other access to public or private
baccalaureate education. 
  • USC Aiken is advancing it STEM programs.
 7.  How has this funding inequity developed?
Over the past decade three factors have caused this inequity:
  • Dramatic growth in enrollments in these three universities
  • Inability to build support for allocating funds using an equitable formula for the teaching sector
  • Parity for these institutions was first raised in 2011; legislators have not been given the facts.