Mike LeFever, President and CEO of SCICU, welcomed the group. Katie Harrison, Executive Director of the SC Tuition Grants Commission, gave coordinators an update on the SC Tuition Grants Program. Craig Parks, Assistant Director for Tax Policy for the South Carolina Senate Finance Committee, presented outlook and perspective on the state budget. Representative Chandra Dillard, District 23-Greenville, followed Parks with a summary of legislative issues facing the General Assembly in 2018.
Following the Legislative Advocacy Kickoff Meeting, Campus Legislative Coordinators are tasked to return to campus and organize letter-writing campaigns in which SCICU member college/university students write and send letters to their respective SC House and Senate members. The letters are, first and foremost, thank-yous to the General Assembly members for their continued support and funding of the SC Tuition Grants program and the Commission on Higher Education’s scholarships and grants for South Carolina residents.
Eddie Shannon, SCICU Executive Vice President, presented awards to member colleges and universities for the 2017 Legislative Letter Writing campaign. A total of 8,264 letters were written during the campaign by students at SCICU member colleges and universities. Anderson University, with a total of 1,744 letters, won the award for the most letters written to legislators in the 2017 campaign.
Member colleges/universities with the highest percentage of tuition grant recipients writing letters were also recognized with awards. For the first time in the history of the SCICU student letter writing campaigns, two institutions, Allen University and Erskine College, tied for the award with 100% of their respective tuition grant recipients writing letters to their state legislators.
In addition to the institution-level awards, SCICU randomly selected seven (7) student letter writers and gave them each $100 bookstore credits at their respective colleges/universities.
In closing the legislative advocacy kickoff meeting, Mike LeFever reminded attendees of two important upcoming events related to the 2018 advocacy cycle: 1) SC Independent Higher Education Week – April 9-13, 2018, and 2) SC Independent College / University Day at the State House – April 11, 2018.
For more information regarding SCICU’s 2018 legislative advocacy goals, please refer to the Advocacy page on the SCICU website.