Governor Sanford, stop picking on our university!
In his $5.8 billion budget plan for 2009-2010 Sanford proposed closing the University of South Carolina’s two-year branches in Allendale, Lancaster and Union counties, saying students at those schools could attend two- or four-year college located within a 30-mile drive.
Sanford’s previous attempts to close USC branches have failed, as this one probably will.
State Rep. Mike Anthony said he and other members of Union County’s legislative will work together to gain support in the rest of the General Assembly to keep USC-Union open.
“That’s the good thing about having three senators as part of our delegation,” he said. “Even if enough support were to be gained in the House for closing USC-Union — and I don’t think that’s likely — having three of 46 senators on our side gives us a leg up in keeping USC-Union.”
Budget cuts have reduced USC-Union’s state allocation from $1.5 million to around $700,000. Compared to Sanford’s $5.8 billion budget proposal, $700,000 is a mere pittance.
USC-Union’s benefits to the community outweigh its costs. People who might otherwise not continue their education after high school can do so right in their own backyard, earning an associate’s degree or even work toward a four-year degree. With the LIFE Scholarship, high school graduates can attend USC-Union for free, if they maintain their grades.
The governor’s budget proposal contains some good intentions, such as restoring $137 million taken from Medicaid programs for the state’s poor, disabled and elderly used to balance this year’s budget.
Sanford’s proposal to close USC-Union shows his willingness to make tough choices in difficult times. But the long-term effects would do far more harm than good.