Beaufort News

Haley appointee to USC board joins others, votes to raise tuition

COLUMBIA -- New University of South Carolina board of trustees member Tommy Cofield voted with his colleagues Thursday to raise tuition this fall at South Carolina's flagship university by 3.9 percent.

Cofield, a Lexington attorney and campaign contributor to Gov. Nikki Haley, was appointed to USC's board by Haley earlier this year. He filled a spot that had been held by Darla Moore, the largest financial benefactor in USC's history.

Haley's decision to replace Moore surprised and angered many of USC's students and alumni.

The governor explained that she chose Cofield because he shared her vision for the university, including, in her words, efforts to "lower tuition on South Carolina families."

However, Cofield joined USC's other trustees in voting to increase tuition to $10,168 a year from $9,786.

The 3.9 percent hike is in line with increases at most other public S.C. colleges and universities.

The increase also is less than last year's 6.9 percent increase.

Tuition and required fees for in-state undergraduates on the Columbia campus will rise by $191 to $5,084 per semester, according to a school news release. Non-resident tuition and required fees will increase by $495 to $13,176 per semester.

Semester tuition for the four-year campuses will be: Aiken, $4,350; Beaufort, $4,029; Upstate, $4,713. Tuition at the regional campuses will be $3,046 for students with fewer than 75 hours and $4,426 for students with more than 75 hours.

USCB's tuition constitutes a 5.9-percent increase over its 2010-11 rate, according to calculations based upon the $3,802 in-state rate for the current academic year posted on the school's website. That rise is smaller than last year's 7.5-percent increase.

After increases last year, state Sen. Hugh Leatherman, R-Florence, threatened to cut off construction money to colleges that did not moderate their tuition increases.