COLUMBIA, SC — The higher education community is watching anxiously as the State Appropriations bill for FY 2017-18 and the “Roads” bill head to separate conference committees with only two weeks left in the legislative session. What’s at stake?
- Fully funded merit scholarship program.
- Fully funded merit scholarship program,
- Added $1.3 million for Tuition Grants,
- Added $1.3 million for CHE State need-based grants,
- Added PASCAL (academic library consortium) as the #1 priority for up to $1.5 million in unclaimed excess lottery funds, and
- Added approximately $16 million for public 4-year and 2-year colleges.
- No tax credit enhancements for tuition paid to private non-profit or public higher education institutions.
- Provides enhanced benefits for a 1998 program (Section 12-6-3385) that allows refundable individual income tax credits for tuition paid to private non-profit or public higher education institutions by students who do not receive a Palmetto Fellowship or LIFE Scholarship,
- Increases tax credit from 25% to 50% up to $1,500,
- Adds an additional 25% for students who claim the earned income tax credit,
- Adds additional credits for students majoring in a STEM-related discipline, and
- Estimated that tax credits could increase from around $4.5 million annually to $9 or $10 million annually.
Conference committees are composed of 3 senators and 3 House members. Both the House and the Senate must ratify any agreements reached by the committee members. Ratified bills are sent to the Governor who has line-item veto authority.
SCICU and the state’s higher education allies will be working to convince the conference committees and the Governor to adopt the Senate’s version of both bills.