AP NEWS

Tuition rising 3.3% at Florence-Darlington Technical College

May 2, 2019

FLORENCE, S.C. – Tuition will be going up for those attending Florence-Darlington Technical College.

On Monday, the Florence-Darlington County Commission for Technical Education, the governing body for the college, approved a 3.3 percent tuition increase, equivalent to an additional $6 per credit hour.

The per-credit hour rate will go from $179 to $185.

Interim President Ed Bethea said the board looked at the college’s budget and decided the tuition increase was necessary to balance the budget. He said enrollment was declining at the college. Bethea said the increase would result in roughly $500,000 in additional revenue.

“I think that the entire board always has reservations about increasing tuition fees,” Commissioner E. Hood Temple said in a media advisory. “We have been through a journey over the last two years. We’ve had significant revenue and cash-on-hand concerns.”

Temple said technical colleges are “having to do more with less revenue. We will continue to evaluate operating expenses.”

Within the past two years, Florence-Darlington Tech has decreased its overall operating budget by $7 million. The projected budget for 2019-20 is just below $36 million.

“It would be financially irresponsible for us to offer a budget that does not meet the cost of the programs that we’re offering,” said Dr. Leroy F. Robinson, another commissioner. “We need to make sure that when we offer it, it’s reliable, it’s consistent and that it does balance.”

Even with the increase, the college continues to boast the lowest tuition in the 16-institution South Carolina Technical College System.

Bethea said that the rate increase would be $18 for a three-credit course that probably would not prevent someone from enrolling. He added that because a majority of the college’s student fees are being covered by the Pell Grant, Lottery Tuition Assistance scholarships and other scholarship programs, students need very little debt in meeting expenses.

The 10-member Florence-Darlington Technical College Commission is appointed by the governor upon the recommendation of the majority of the legislative delegation of Florence or Darlington counties. Five members are recommended the delegation from each county. The commissioners serve three-year terms.

Florence-Darlington Technical College was established in 1963 to serve Florence, Darlington and Marion Counties. It currently serves more than 6,000 students at the main campus on U.S. 52 near the Florence County and Darlington County line. The college also has campus sites in Hartsville, Lake City, Mullins and a health sciences campus in downtown Florence.