South Carolina Schools Stand to Gain from $152M Lottery Surplus Error

In South Carolina, a House budget proposal reveals that $152 million in unused lottery profits will benefit K-12 schools, technical colleges, and hospitals with medical student employees.

Discovered in December and leading to the resignation of the higher education agency director, the funds initially designated for scholarships sat idle for six years.

Lawmakers are now tasked with determining the redirected use of the unspent funds.

The House-approved budget allocates $35 million for school buses and $40 million for classroom materials in K-12 education, with the remaining half focused on higher education.

Within higher education, the proposal includes funds for technical colleges, internship programs at Clemson University and the University of South Carolina, and increased Medicaid payments for hospitals employing medical school students.

While the neglected $152 million did not impact eligible students’ scholarship funding, the Commission on Higher Education confirms.

The shift in scholarship awards peaked in 2021, prompting adjustments in the prediction methods of award needs.

The latest House proposal suggests $336 million for state scholarships, as well as grants for low-income and technical college students pursuing high-demand careers.

The declining number of high school graduates enrolling in state colleges has influenced the decrease in scholarship awards.

Governor Henry McMaster’s recommendation for a study on public colleges aims to assess consolidation possibilities and program overlaps in the state’s educational institutions.

Noteworthy items in the budget proposal include funding for tuition freezes at public colleges and investments in major projects at research universities.

As the House forwards the budget to the Senate, decisions on utilizing the lottery money for state colleges and institutions remain pending.

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