I'm shocked. I knew the school was having financial problems, but I didn't even realize this was a possibility. http://www.thestate.com/2015/02/10/3980563_house-panel-votes-to-close-sc.html?rh=1 House panel votes to close SC State for two years Posted by ANDREW SHAIN on February 10, 2015 Updated 5 minutes ago COLUMBIA — A S.C. House budget panel voted Tuesday to close S.C. State University for two years to help the school ends it financial troubles. The state’s only historically black public college has a $10 million deficit from unpaid bills to food and maintenance vendors. S.C. State’s enrollment has dropped sharply in recent years and just 14 percent of students graduate within four years. The vote by the House panel that oversees funding for state colleges is the culmination of frustration over S.C. State’s finances, said Rep. Jim Merrill, a Berkeley Republican who heads the panel. The plan, which still needs approval from the full House and Senate, would close S.C. State for the 2015-16 and 2016-17 school years. Students could get scholarships to attend other state public colleges or other historically black schools if the keep a 2.5 grade-point average. The state would fire the school administration, board of trustees, faculty and staff under the proposal. Other employees at the Orangeburg school would have to reapply for their jobs when the school re-opens, said Rep. Phillip Lowe, a Florence Republican on the panel. The state would need to work out terms to repay $7.5 million in loans it has given to S.C. State as well as an estimated $100 million in bonds that the school holds. The state would assume responsibility for the S.C. State’s debt. The proposal also would suspend the Bulldogs’ athletics programs. The school would close on July 1. A panel of current and former state college presidents would develop a plan to re-open the school by Jan. 1, 2017, and S.C. State would hold classes again in fall 2017. Budget panel members said S.C. State President Thomas Elzey has not done enough to turn around the school’s financial fortunes since arriving in 2013. The problems pre-date Elzey when school leaders borrowed money to cover deficits. Panel members said they were not pleased that part of Elzey’s budget request for next year included $6 million to pay back an earlier state loan. Elzey drove to Columbia to speak with lawmakers Tuesday after hearing about the vote. The school’s accreditation remains on probation because of financial and accounting issues. S.C. State would lose is accreditation if it closes for a year, said Belle Wheelan, president of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Students cannot receive financial aid at unaccredited schools. Getting accreditation at the new S.C. State would take at least two years, Wheelan said.