South Carolina proposed budget focused on education, workforce

March 23, 2017

Proposed under previous South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, the state’s FY 2017-2018 budget request calls for approximately $3.5 billion to be spent on K-12 and higher education funding including:

  • $5 million for industry certifications and credentials;
  • $2 million in funding for modernization of the state’s careers centers through the Career and Technology Education (CATE) programs; and,
  • $500,000 in funding for highly qualified professionals to leave their occupations to enter a new career teaching at CATE centers – each participant would receive an annual $5,000 scholarship for up to 10 years.

The budget also proposed funding to support endowed chairs at institutions of higher education, the MEP center, the SBDCs, and the South Carolina Council on Competitiveness.

In the former governor’s proposed budget, the Commission on Higher Education would provide continued support for 51 SmartState Centers and endowed chairs at institutions of higher education.  Launched in 2002, the state legislature committed more than $30 million in lottery funds over six years to support the SmartState program. Through this investment, the Commission of Higher Education was able to unlock more than $180 million in private sector investment including $17.6 million in interest earnings. Until that $17.6 million is exhausted, the Commission on Higher Education is authorized to use $885,284 per year to support SmartState activities including SmartState centers and endowed chairs. Once those funds are exhausted, the program would cease unless other funding is provided through the legislative budget process.

The SmartState centers are grouped in six industry-focused Smart Clusters to make it easier for business, students, potential faculty, and the public to engage with the SmartState Program. Each SmartState Center includes one or more endowed chairs, research infrastructure, technical staff, and sustainable funding sources including a 1:1 match from a non-state-government source. Through the SmartState program, the state would support 85 SmartState Endowed Chairs to head up SmartState Centers in a variety of research areas including continued support for the existing chairs.

Several entities focused on economic development would receive funding including:

South Carolinastate budgets