ORANGEBURG — S.C. State University has run out of money to pay its employees and cover its debt payments, and will ask to draw at least $1.2 million from a $6 million emergency loan that the state offered last month, college president Thomas Elzey told The State on Wednesday.
South Carolina’s only historically black public college had hoped to have enough money to last through July 1, when the state’s new fiscal year starts, infusing the school with cash. Instead, after revising budget projections, S.C. State needs about $500,000 to pay salaries next week and another $700,000 for debt payments in June, Elzey said.
S.C. State has struggled financially for years with shrinking enrollment, state funding and federal student aid. The school has $13.6 million in unpaid bills, dating back to the beginning of the school year.
During a special board meeting Wednesday on its Orangeburg campus, some trustees said they are worried that government leaders would use the latest crisis to assume control of the college.
“A funnel cloud hangs low over (the school), waiting to touch down and destroy its history and outstanding accomplishments,” trustee Patricia Lott said. “The clouds I and others feel have all been manufactured as distractions by persons in higher places to have an excuse for a takeover.”
Another trustee, Carlotta Redish, said S.C. State already was in “unofficial receivership,” based on comments by Gov. Nikki Haley and other state political leaders about the poor condition of the school’s finances when it was granted the $6 million loan.