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Volume 8, Issue 4 

In This Issue:

    ---April 12 - Excellence In Teaching Awards Dinner
    ---April 13 - SC Independent College/University Day


Rep. Rita Allison Named 2016
SCICU Legislative Champion

South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities has named Representative Rita Allison the 2016 SCICU Legislative Champion. Rep. Allison's career is marked by her intense interest and passion for the importance of education as a lever to strengthen the state's global and economic competitiveness, improve income and job security for individuals, and offer new opportunities for increased workforce development.

Rep. Allison was first elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives in 1992 and served through 2002. She was a member of the House Ways and Means Committee and chair of the K-12 and Special Schools Sub-committee. Rep. Allison was the vice chair of House Operations and Management Committee, the Joint Legislative Committee for Families and Children, and in 1994-96, chair of the General Assembly's Women's Caucus, which she founded during her tenure.  She also served as chair of the Spartanburg County Legislative Delegation and was the House Assistant Majority Leader.

After an unsuccessful campaign for Lt. Governor, Allison served as Education Advisor and later Legislative Advisor to Governor Mark Sanford. Her hard work and dedication earned her the first Terry Haskin's Legislative Leadership Award and the prestigious Order of the Palmetto, the highest honor given to an individual by the State of South Carolina.

Her strong desire to continue to serve her Lyman community and state led to Rita Allison's re-election in 2008 to her former seat in District 36 (Greenville and Spartanburg counties). Rep. Allison is currently the chair of the House Education and Public Works Committee, a position she has used to focus on the educational needs of South Carolina from early childhood to college. House Speaker Jay Lucas also appointed her chair of the House Education Policy Review and Reform Task Force in response to the State Supreme Court's decision in the Abbeville case.

Earlier this year Rep. Allison sponsored legislation authorizing the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education to enter into the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA). The purpose of SARA is to establish an efficient system for accredited degree-granting institutions offering distance education or student placement to receive authorization from states other than their home state, by placing the responsibility for regulation, quality assurance, and student protection on the institution's home state. Gov. Haley signed Rep. Allison's bill into law on March 14.

Students from SCICU member schools will gather at the State House for Independent Higher Education Day on April 13 to honor Rep. Allison and present her with the 2016 SCICU Legislative Champion Award.

2016 South Carolina Independent 
College and University  Week Events

The South Carolina General Assembly and Gov. Nikki Haley are recognizing April 11-15, 2016 as Independent College and University Week.  SCICU and its member colleges and universities will commemorate and celebrate the 2016 SC Independent College and University Week with the following events:

Excellence in Teaching Awards Dinner
Tuesday, April 12, 2016
Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center

SCICU will celebrate the leadership and efforts of independent college and university professors at the eleventh annual awards dinner.  Each member institution, using rigorous criteria, has selected a professor for this honor.  The 20 recipients will be honored at the April 12 awards dinner, and each will receive a $3,000 professional development award. Award recipients will be announced via the SCICU website following the conclusion of the awards dinner.

SC Independent College and University Day
Wednesday, April 13, 2016
SC Statehouse

Students and faculty from SCICU's member colleges and universities will gather at the SC Statehouse for this annual advocacy event.  During this gathering, students will honor Rep. Rita Allison as the 2016 SCICU legislative champion, and will meet with their respective representatives and senators regarding the importance of funding and supporting the South Carolina legislature-funded scholarships (Palmetto Fellows, HOPE scholarships) and the need-based tuition grants.

Legislative coordinators from each of the twenty SCICU member institutions have worked hard with the student letter-writing campaign in support of South Carolina legislative funding of scholarships and tuition grants.  During 2015, SCICU students wrote more than 8,000 letters to their SC legislators.  An even greater number of letters are expected in support of the 2016 SC Independent College and University Day.  


House Concludes Work on 2016-2017 State Budget

The South Carolina House of Representatives gave third and final reading to its version of the $7.5 billion general fund budget on March 23.

As proposed by the House, the need-based Tuition Grants program would receive an additional $2.53 million in state general fund appropriations. The additional funds would allow the Tuition Grants Commission to increase the maximum award for the 2016-17 academic year from $3,100 to $3,200.

Lawmakers voted to fully-fund the State's merit-based student financial aid programs-Palmetto Fellows, LIFE, HOPE, and Tuition Assistance scholarships-by appropriating more than $300 million.

The House also recommended that the Higher Education Commission's need-based grant program receive an increase of $4.54 million. The Tuition Grants Commission receives between 16%-17% of the total need-based appropriation based on the percentage of students attending independent colleges and universities. If funded at this level, it is estimated that $29.5 million in need-based grants through CHE will be available to students in the coming year.

With the exception of additional funding for the academic library consortium PASCAL, SCICU was successful in achieving 100% of its legislative priorities in the House.

The House version of the budget that takes effect on July 1 moves to the Senate Finance Committee for consideration. Finance subcommittees have already started their work by holding hearings with state agency directors. Earl Mayo, executive director of the Higher Education Tuition Grants Commission, appeared before the Higher Education subcommittee on March 10. Members of the Senate Finance Higher Education subcommittee include Sen. John Courson (Columbia), chair, Sen. Darrell Jackson (Hopkins), Sen. Danny Verdin (Laurens), and Sen. John Scott (Columbia).

Friends of independent higher education should use every opportunity to encourage members of the Senate to concur with the recommendations of the House in those programs important to students attending private non-profit colleges and universities. 


Governor Haley Signs SARA Legislation

On March 14, 2016, Gov. Nikki Haley signed H. 4639 authorizing the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education to enter into interstate reciprocity agreements to include, but not limited to, the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA).

Presently, when a college or university offers distance education programs and a potential student from another state wants to enroll, the institution is required by law in many states to seek institutional approval (i.e., authorization) in the student's home state in order to enroll that student. Many states also require institutions to seek authorization for students pursuing internships, clinical placements, or field experiential learning opportunities. Failure to comply with state authorization may result in loss of Title IV (federal financial aid) participation by the institution. The state-by-state application process can be extensive and very costly.

The purpose of SARA is to afford an efficient system for accredited degree-granting institutions offering distance education or student placement to receive authorization from states other than their home state, by placing the responsibility for regulation, quality assurance, and student protection on the institution's home state.

SARA is an inter-state reciprocity agreement that allows member states to recognize each other's participating institutions as eligible to enroll students in their distance education programs and to place students at experiential learning sites. Thirty-six states are currently members of NC-SARA (National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements), and more, like South Carolina, are expected to join by July 1, 2016.

SARA is a voluntary agreement among member states and US territories that establishes comparable standards for interstate offering of postsecondary courses and programs through distance education. No institution is required to join SARA; however, participation in SARA is limited to institutions that are home headquartered in a member state.

To participate, individual institutions pay an annual fee to NC-SARA and also to the state portal agency. Cumulative costs paid by individual institutions in SC for authorization in other states far exceed what each institution would expect to pay to NC-SARA and the state to participate.

SCICU will be working with the public colleges and universities and CHE on the many implementation details such as the application process, fees, bonds, student complaints, and reporting requirements.

Students and faculty at the 2016 Research Symposium Feb. 18, 2016.

SCICU Undergraduate Student Research
Projects Selected for 2016 Funding

SCICU has awarded $90,000 towards the funding of undergraduate research projects that will be conducted by students at SCICU member colleges and universities during 2016.

In early March, a team of five professors from SCICU member institutions reviewed and evaluated over 50 undergraduate research proposals submitted by students from SCICU member colleges and universities.  After rigorous review of the projects, the evaluation team selected 34 student projects for funding during the 2016 research program.

Student researchers will have through early December 2016 to complete their projects. Upon completion, they will prepare and submit one-page abstracts summarizing their project findings.

On February 23, 2017 student researchers will present their 2016 project findings at the 2017 Research Symposium at the Milliken & Company corporate headquarters in Spartanburg.

A list of the research projects funded and conducted in 2015 may be viewed here.

SCICU donors generously supporting the 2016 Undergraduate Student/Faculty Research Program include the following:
Belle W. Baruch Foundation
BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina
Lee Bryan
Joan S. Coker
The Daniel-Mickel Foundation
Mills B. Lane Memorial Foundation
Debbie S. Nelson


(2016 Student Research Evaluation Team (L-R): Dr. Jim Wetzel-Presbyterian College, Dr. B. G. Stephens-Wofford College, Dr. Steve Farra-Columbia International University, Dr. Neval Erturk-Converse College, and Dr. Rich Keen-Converse College)

Dr. B. G. Stephens Honored For Long-Term Service
As Facilitator of Student Research Evaluation Team

On March 22, 2016, SCICU recognized Dr. B. G. Stephens, professor emeritus at Wofford College, for his many years as facilitator of the SCICU Undergraduate Research Evaluation team. In this role, Dr. Stephens led the efforts each year of a team of professors from SCICU member institutions in evaluating student research proposals for funding.   He has been involved with the evaluation of student research proposals submitted to the SCICU Undergraduate Student/Faculty Research Program since the beginning of the research program in 1995.  For nearly all of the research program's 20+ years, Dr. Stephens also served as moderator of the Research Symposium, the annual gathering at which the student researchers present the findings of their SCICU-funded research projects.

Dr. Stephens' career at Wofford College has spanned for more than 40 years.  After earning a Bachelor degree at Wofford in 1957, Stephens went on to earn an MS and PhD from Clemson University.  He joined the Wofford faculty in 1964, and was named dean of the college in 1972.  Dr. Stephens became the college's first vice president for technology, a position he held until retiring in 2000. 

Dr. Stephens continues to work part-time as Wofford's director of foundation relations, and has assisted Wofford in securing substantial external funding, including significant grants from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, the National Science Foundation and the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation. He also has been a primary leader in the acquisition of property and development of the facilities and academic program in his native community of Glendale for the college's environmental studies program. 


2016 SCICU Campus Tour
Online Registration Now Open

Current high-school-level professionals and college-level educational consultants are invited to participate in the 2016 Campus Tour of ten of the twenty SCICU's member colleges and universities. Tour co-sponsors include the South Carolina Department of Education and the South Carolina Counseling Association.

The tour is scheduled for June 13-17, 2016, and offers a wonderful opportunity to meet admissions and financial aid staff at the colleges. Additionally, participation in the 2016 Campus Tour may qualify you to earn SCDE, GCDF, or LPC credits.

This year's Campus Tour will visit the following ten colleges and universities:  Allen University, Anderson University, Coker College, Columbia International University, Converse College, Limestone College, Morris College, Newberry College, Spartanburg Methodist College, and Wofford College.

Please click here for the tour flyer, which includes a live link to online event registration and payment.

Information regarding earning SCDE or CGDF credits from tour participation may be viewed here.

If you are ready to register for the 2016 Campus Tour, online registration is available through the earlier occurrence of the deadline of May 12, 2016 or when the first 40 participants are registered.

If you have additional questions regarding registering for the 2016 SCICU Campus Tour, please call the SCICU office at 803-799-7122.


Member College News

SCICU curates news from its twenty member colleges and universities.  Click here to college news on the SCICU website.

The following is a sampling of recent member college news:






The Business Partners program provides a convenient marketplace in which SCICU member colleges and universities can preview offerings tailored to the needs of the higher education community in South Carolina.

Directory - Click  here  for a complete list of Business Partners, or access information on individual Business Partners via the links shown below.

ABM Building Solutions, LLC  | American Student Assistance Aramark Higher Education | Blackboard Inc.  | CapinCrouse LLP Coleman Lew + Associates | Craig Gaulden Davis | CSI Leasing, Inc. e-Procurement Services, LLC | e2Campus |   eBridge Business Solutions LLC | eDocHome.com | Elliott Davis Decosimo | Find Great People, LLC | First American Education Finance | Genworth Financial | Gillis Specialty Adverstising | Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd, PA | HRP Associates, Inc.  | INSITE |   McMillan Pazdan Smith Architecture | Metz Culinary Management | Myers McRae Executive Search and Consulting | Pollock Company | Professional Insurance & Investment Associates | Purple Briefcase | SC Student Loan Corporation | ScholarBuys | Sodexo | Stalwart Systems Group | STEM Premier | Total Comfort Solutions | UnitedHealthcare Student Resources | Verizon | Vulcan Materials Company | Walsh Consulting Group LLC | Winthrop Resources IT Leasing | Wyche, PA

SCICU is a member of the Coalition for College Cost Savings (CCCS). This organization, comprised of 33 member organizations in 30 states, serves more than 900 higher education institutions and over 3 million students across the United States. The organization and staff are dedicated to helping private higher education institutions improve processes and reduce costs through collaboration.

All SCICU member colleges and universities have access to CCCS's national contracts and services. More information on this important benefit may be found here.

News & Notes is published by the South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities, Inc.  Please send all comments or questions to SCICU President & CEO Mike LeFever at mike@scicu.org or 803-799-7122.  Mailing address: PO Box 12007, Columbia, SC 29211.