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Volume 8, Issue 11 December 2016

In This Issue:

Holiday Greetings From SCICU

At this glorious time of year, the SCICU staff would like to take a moment to thank the members of our Board of Trustees, our many donors and supporters, and the faculty and staff on our twenty college and university campuses across South Carolina for their commitment to independent higher education. It takes the hard work and dedication of many to create opportunities for students to pursue a quality education in a challenging and supportive environment that meets their unique cultural, spiritual, and academic needs. 

We extend to all of you and your families our warmest wishes for a wonderful and blessed Christmas. May the Lord's peace fill our hearts, our homes and our world as we celebrate this season of love now and all through the year to come.

Brenda, Eddie, Shay, and Mike


SCICU Public Policy Committee Adopts
2017 Legislative Strategic Plan

COLUMBIA, SC -- At its meeting on November 22, the SCICU Public Policy Committee approved a Legislative Strategic Plan for 2017 that includes as the #1 priority securing $5.3 million in additional recurring state appropriations for the Tuition Grants program. In June, the Higher Education Tuition Grants Commission set this ambitious goal in order to raise the maximum grant from $3,200 to $3,650, the statutory maximum equal to the per student appropriation for students attending a public college or university in South Carolina.

Tuition Grants are need-based grants for South Carolina residents attending an in-state private non-profit college or university. The scholarships are limited to four years, and recipients must make satisfactory academic progress to retain their awards. For FY 2016-2017, the Commission estimates that approximately 13,300 students will qualify for more than $38 million in financial assistance.

The #2 legislative priority for SCICU is to work with the public colleges and universities to ensure the state's merit scholarships (Palmetto Fellows, LIFE, HOPE, and Tuition Assistance) are fully funded. This will be particularly challenging this year because the Commission on Higher Education estimates that more than 6,300 students could qualify for state merit aid because the Department of Education changed the Uniform Grading Scale from a 7 point to a 10 point system. The additional students qualifying for a scholarship could add as much as $14.5 million to the cost of the program which has grown to more than $290 million.

Priority #3 supports the budget request of the Commission on Higher Education for an increase of $1.1 million in state general funds for need-based grants. The Tuition Grants Commission receives approximately 16.5% of the need-based appropriation to CHE to be used for tuition grants. The 16.5% relates to the proportion of students attending independent colleges and universities compared to the number of students attending public higher education institutions. The Tuition Grants Commission would receive an additional $181,500 if CHE is successful in its request.

As the #4 Priority, SCICU and the public colleges and universities will join forces in support of a recurring appropriation in the amount of $1.5 million for the Partnership Among South Carolina Academic Libraries. PASCAL enables all the partners to exchange resources through a central electronic card catalogue and delivery system. PASCAL also operates a purchasing consortium that negotiates reduced costs for subscriptions to electronic journals and publications. SCICU members benefit from the expanded resources and cost efficiencies of PASCAL, elements essential for maintaining accreditation.

The full 2017 Legislative Strategic Plan with priorities and month-to-month activities is posted in the Advocacy Section of the SCICU website. A companion document, 2017 Primary Legislative Priorities and Quick Facts, provides talking points in support of SCICU's primary priorities and also is posted in the Advocacy Section. Throughout the 2017 session of the General Assembly, progress reports as well as the status of legislation that could impact independent colleges and universities will be added as updates in this section.

The Public Policy Committee is chaired by Lucy Grey McIver. Ben Green is vice chair. The Committee will meet again on February 16, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. for a state update and a more detailed discussion of SCICU's federal agenda.


SCICU Developing Online Career Consortium For Connecting Employers with SCICU Candidates

COLUMBIA, SC -- Recognizing trends toward online connections between employers and prospective employees, SCICU has teamed up with Purple Briefcase, a leading provider of online support services for higher education career services offices. 

SCICU, through its website, is developing one-stop, no-cost job posting capabilities for employers to reach students at all twenty of SCICU's
member colleges.  The SCICU Career Consortium will allow employers to input their job opportunity once and reach all twenty of the SCICU member colleges and universities.

Employers who have participated in previous years' Career Connections Events in Columbia have already expressed significant interest in SCICU's online Career Consortium.  The one-stop job posting capabilities are expected to be rolled out publicly in January 2017.

Columbia College Reduces Tuition
By Nearly $10,000

COLUMBIA, SC  -- Columbia College will reduce its tuition price to $19,500, a decrease of nearly $10,000 from the current tuition price, for full-time students in its traditional undergraduate program starting with the 2017-18 academic year. This move aligns the institution's "sticker price" more closely with the average net cost to attend.

With this tuition reduction, Columbia College is addressing the national issue of college affordability, while also taking steps to simplify the price of tuition. "The College's culture of innovative and forward-thinking allows us to take this step," said Beth Dinndorf, President of Columbia College. "As a result, we have the opportunity to significantly decrease our tuition price while still maintaining and improving the high quality and lasting value that a Columbia College degree holds."

The tuition reboot will ensure that the value of a private education can be accessed by any student who seeks to obtain a higher education degree. Just as we challenge our students to be change agents for good, we commit ourselves to shifting the current academic and fiscal climate to focus on real value in terms of both cost and quality of outcomes.

This new tuition level of $19,500 will position Columbia College with one of the lowest prices of any four-year private college or university in the region and is comparable with total costs at premier public universities both in and out of state. Institutional scholarships and need-based financial aid will continue to be awarded to Columbia College students, lowering the cost for some students even further from the published price.

"While Columbia College may not be the first private institution to scale back tuition, we are leading the market in accessibility and outcomes," Dinndorf said. "Our tuition reboot is an intentional and progressive step toward providing an exceptional private college education at an affordable price."

Click  here to learn more about tuition reduction at Columbia College.


2016-17 SCICU College Guide
Print and Digital Versions Now Available

COLUMBIA, SC -- The 2016-2017 print and digital editions of SCICU's popular College Guide are now available to students, parents, school counselors and anyone interested in learning more about the 20 private non-profit colleges and universities that are members of SCICU. An initial distribution of more than 600 printed copies were sent to high schools, SCICU trustees, and members of the General Assembly in September.

The College Guide includes a concise statement on the benefits of a liberal arts education and a discussion of the cost of attendance as a value proposition. The publication features 2-page profiles of the member colleges and universities, a list of visitation days, and detailed information on federal and state student financial assistance. To emphasize the core principles of teaching and learning on our members' wonderfully diverse campuses, the Guide features the 20 recipients of SCICU's 2016 Excellent in Teaching Award.

Please click here to view digital edition of the 2016-2017 College Guide. In addition to hot links, page-flippers, enhanced navigation tools, and videos, the new digital edition is formatted for iPhones, iPads, Androids, and other Smart (HTML5) platforms - the social media world of today's students and a growing number of their parents.

SCICU is grateful for this year's College Guide sponsors: American Student Assistance, Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd P.A., and South Carolina Student Loan Corporation.


Dr. Robert E. Gustafson, Jr.
Interim President
Erskine College

Gustafson Begins Service As Interim
President of Erskine College

DUE WEST, SC -- Upon the appointment of the Erskine College Board of Trustees, Dr. Robert E. Gustafson, Jr. began his service as interim president of Erskine on November 1, 2016. Dr. Paul Kooistra, former President of Erskine College, retired on October 31.

Board of Trustees Vice Chairman Dr. Tom Hellams of Prospect, KY, chair of the search committee, describes Gustafson as "a visionary leader with a history of effectiveness in Christian education."

Gustafson served as head of school from 1997 to 2012 at a Christian boarding and day school, the Stony Brook School, Stony Brook, NY, where he was responsible for oversight of a $9 million annual operating budget and more than 100 faculty and staff members.

His accomplishments at Stony Brook include working successfully to balance the budget and enlarge the endowment; recruiting a strong national faculty and raising faculty salaries; setting and surpassing goals for increasing the school's percentage of Advanced Placement scholars; developing and for 10 years teaching a worldview course for seniors; and helping to develop a strong college counseling program.

Prior to his tenure at Stony Brook, from 1992 to 1997, Gustafson was head of school at Jackson Preparatory School, Jackson, MS, a day school with more than 800 students in grades 7-12. He led the school through a transition from for-profit to non-profit status and also recruited the first minority teacher and board member.

Board of Trustees Chairman Sam James '07 of Huntersville, NC, is enthusiastic about the interim president.

"Dr. Gustafson has proven leadership and experience to maintain and strengthen our financial stability," he said. "As an alum myself, I am excited by his robust vision for Christian education in the liberal arts tradition at Erskine College."

Gustafson was educated at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, where he received the bachelor of arts degree in religious studies; Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, South Hamilton, MA, where he was awarded the master of theological studies degree; Columbia University Teachers College, New York, NY, where he was the recipient of a Klingenstein Fellowship Grant and earned a master of arts degree in educational administration; and Erskine Theological Seminary, where he received a doctor of ministry degree.

Married to Marjorie Graham Gustafson, Robert Gustafson is the father of two children.


Mike LeFever  (left), SCICU President & CEO, presents a resolution 
to Dr. Paul Kooistra honoring his service to Erskine College and SCICU.

SCICU Honors Dr. Paul Kooistra
At Erskine Farewell Gathering

DUE WEST, SC - Erskine President Dr. Paul Kooistra and his wife Sandi hosted a farewell party on October 27 in Moffatt Dining Hall, welcoming students and providing lunch for faculty and staff members.
During the gathering, which the Kooistras had planned as an expression of their appreciation to the Erskine community, they were surprised by three presentations.

Mike LeFever, president and CEO of South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (SCICU), honored Kooistra with a framed resolution outlining the president's accomplishments. The text of the SCICU resolution for Dr. Kooistra may be read here.

Two representatives from the Erskine Board of Trustees, Dr. Gordon S. Query and Ann Marie Tribble, presented to the Kooistras a painting from the Patrick Collection in the Bowie Arts Center. The president, who enjoys sailing, had chosen the Mediterranean harbor scene by Korean artist S. Razin for display in his office.
Dr. Christine Schott and Dr. Briana Van Scoy offered the president a resolution of appreciation from the faculty as well as a gift card for the Kooistras to enjoy as they retire.


Dr. Luns Richardson
President, Morris College

Morris President Dr. Luns Richardson
Announces June 2017 Retirement

SUMTER, SC - South Carolina's longest-sitting college president and the United Negro College Fund's (UNCF) longest member president, Dr. Luns C. Richardson, informed the board of trustees at its fall meeting on October 29, 2016 of his decision to retire as the president of Morris College. Effective June 30, 2017, he will conclude a remarkable and distinguished career of 43 years of excellent leadership, dedicated service to higher education at the institution, as well as the state and nation.

After June 30, the board will name an interim president and begin the process to select the tenth president of Morris College.

Since being elected the college's ninth president in 1974, Dr. Richardson has worked tirelessly to maintain financial stability, increase student enrollment, initiate new academic majors, organize divisions, secure accreditation of academic programs, expand the college's technological infrastructure and establish an Army ROTC unit (under the auspices of the University of South Carolina, Columbia). Under his leadership, Morris College was the only historically black institution selected among eight pilot schools to participate in the development of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges' (SACSCOC) new Principles of Accreditation.

In December 1978, the college was accredited by SACSCOC. In January 1982, the college was accepted into the United Negro College Fund as a member institution. In January 2010, the college received for the first time its history its largest, most generous, individual gift of $10 million from Dr. Solomon Jackson, Jr.

Other accomplishments include: upgrading full-time faculty to 72% holding earned doctorate degrees; increasing the annual operating budget to more than $21 million, increasing the college's total assets to more than $60 million, constructing 18 new buildings, and the renovating and expanding of all other buildings.

Dr. Richardson holds membership in numerous professional, religious and fraternal organizations, including numerous positions with SACSCOC and UNCF. After 56 years as pastor of Thankful Baptist Church (Bamberg, SC), he retired with the title Pastor Emeritus and will hold the same honor with Morris College as President Emeritus. The institution has been extremely fortunate to have had the continuity of his dynamic leadership.

Morris College is an accredited, four year, coeducational, residential, liberal arts and career-focused institution awarding baccalaureate degrees in the arts and sciences and in career-based professional fields. Founded in 1908, it is owned and operated by the Baptist Educational and Missionary Convention of South Carolina. Additional information about Morris College is available at www.morris.edu.

Contact Anika V. Cobb, Morris College Director of Public Relations, for further information (phone: 803-894-3168, email: acobb@morris.edu).



SCICU curates news from its twenty member colleges and universities.  Click here to read 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.

SCICU is pleased to announce the following new Business Partners:

The following Business Partners are recognized for their renewals:

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  | Acumen IT, LLC American Student Assistance Aramark Higher Education | Blackboard Inc.  | CapinCrouse LLP | Church Mutual Insurance Company | Coleman Lew + Associates | Collegiate Financial Services Craig Gaulden Davis | CSI Leasing, Inc. e-Procurement Services, LLC | e2Campus |   eBridge Business Solutions LLC | eDocHome.com | Elliott Davis Decosimo | ETC Consulting, LLC Find Great People, LLC | First American Education Finance | Genworth Financial | Gillis Specialty Adverstising | Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd, PA | HRP Associates, Inc.  | Hypersign, LLC INSITE |   McMillan Pazdan Smith Architecture | Metz Culinary Management | Myers McRae Executive Search and Consulting | Pioneer College Caterers Pollock Company | Professional Insurance & Investment Associates | Purple Briefcase | S2K | SC Student Loan Corporation | ScholarBuys | Sodexo | Spirit Communications | Stalwart Systems Group | STEM Premier | The Payments Company 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.