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Volume 9, Issue 10 - December 2017

In This Issue:


Tax Cuts and Jobs Act: Conference Committee has an Opportunity to Support Higher Education

Both the U.S. Senate and U.S. House have passed similar versions of tax reform legislation. The next step in the legislative process is for both chambers to agree on a single version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and send it to President Trump for his signature. The reconciliation of differences falls to an appointed Conference Committee composed of members of both the House and Senate.

U.S. Senator Tim Scott was named to the Conference Committee by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. A graduate of SCICU member Charleston Southern University, Sen. Scott is personally familiar with the challenges of access and affordability in today's higher education environment. SCICU has been in contact with Sen. Scott's office to ensure that Sen. Scott and his tax team have the necessary information for him to advocate for common sense tax policies that would not increase the cost of a post-secondary education for students and their families or the higher education institutions that serve them.

The Senate's version of the tax bill is less onerous than the House's bill, so at this point, higher education advocates are urging Conferees to support most of the Senate's positions on tax policies, except those that are not in the best interest of the sector. The differences are detailed below.

House vs. Senate Tax Bill Comparison

Student Benefits

House Version - Eliminates Student Loan Deduction, Sec. 127 employer-provided education asistance, Sec. 117(d) tuition remission benefits, and the Lifetime Learning Credit.

Senate Version - Maintains student benefits.

Institutions - Private Activity Bonds

House Version - Eliminates Private Activity bonds and advance refunding of bonds.

Senate Version - Retains Private Activity bonds. Eliminates advance refunding of bonds.

Institutions - Excise Tax on Endowments

House Version - Adds an excise tax on private college and university endowments with assets of $250,000+ per full-time student.

Senate Version - Adds an excise tax on private college and university endowments with assets of $500,000+ per full-time student.

There are other elements of H.R. 1 that the House and Senate are in complete agreement that could threaten donations to private colleges and universities and other non-profit organizations. For example, both chambers double the standard deduction. This action will put separate deductions for charitable giving out of reach to 95% of taxpayers and by some estimates could reduce donations to eleemosynary organizations by as much as $13 billion.

Congress must correct the adverse unintended consequence on giving caused by increasing the standard deduction by extending a charitable giving incentive to all taxpayers. SCICU encourages Members of Congress to pass the Universal Charitable Giving Act ( H.R.3988 / S.2123) which would allow non-itemizers to deduct up to $4,000/individual and $8,000/couple each year.

SCICU has joined other state and national independent higher education interest groups and the colleges and universities that support them in urging our elected officials to preserve important tax benefits to students and their families and to avoid additional taxes on our higher education institutions.

On November 7, as the House began work on H.R. 1, SCICU wrote all nine members of the South Carolina Delegation to make our positions known. SCICU President Mike LeFever met with Reps. Clyburn and Wilson on November 13, and a second letter was sent to Senators Graham and Scott on November 21 as the House bill moved to the Senate Finance Committee. Several SCICU member presidents also contacted Delegation members to express in very personal terms how tax reform legislation will impact their students and institutions.

In one final effort to enlist the SC delegation to influence their colleagues to temper tax increases on students, families, and college and universities, a third letter was sent to Washington on December 6.

Whatever the outcome, private colleges and universities will continue to do everything possible to keep costs down and make a college education accessible and affordable.

Please click here  to read the original post on the SCICU website.

Other SCICU posts related to tax reform include the following:

SCICU Kicks Off 2018 Legislative Advocacy with Campus Coordinators Luncheon

2017 Highest % of Tuition Grant
Recipients Writing Letters - TIE
Allen University (100%)
Erskine College (100%)

(L-R) Erskine College - Allison Sullivan and Amanda Taylor, SCICU President Mike LeFever, and Allen University - Lola Kennedy

2017 -  Greatest Number of Letters
Written to SC Legislators (1,778)
Anderson University

(L-R) SCICU President Mike LeFever,
Anderson University - Andrew Beckner

COLUMBIA, SC - SCICU and Member College/University Campus Legislative Coordinators kicked off the 2018 Legislative Advocacy season with a luncheon on December 8 at the Capital City Club in Columbia.  Coordinators were presented with state budget and legislative issues and given SCICU's legislative strategy for the 2018 session of the SC General Assembly. 

Mike LeFever, President and CEO of SCICU, welcomed the group. Katie Harrison, Executive Director of the SC Tuition Grants Commission, gave coordinators an update on the SC Tuition Grants Program. Craig Parks, Assistant Director for Tax Policy for the South Carolina Senate Finance Committee, presented outlook and perspective on the state budget. Representative Chandra Dillard, District 23-Greenville, followed Parks with a summary of legislative issues facing the General Assembly in 2018.

Following the Legislative Advocacy Kickoff Meeting, Campus Legislative Coordinators are tasked to return to campus and organize letter-writing campaigns in which  SCICU member college/university students write and send letters to their respective SC House and Senate members.  The letters are, first and foremost, thank-yous to the General Assembly members for their continued support and funding of the SC Tuition Grants program and the Commission on Higher Education's scholarships and grants for South Carolina residents.

Eddie Shannon, SCICU Executive Vice President, presented awards to member colleges and universities for the 2017 Legislative Letter Writing campaign.  A total of 8,264 letters were written during the campaign by students at SCICU member colleges and universities.  Anderson University, with a total of 1,744 letters, won the award for the most letters written to legislators in the 2017 campaign.

Member colleges/universities with the highest percentage of tuition grant recipients writing letters were also recognized with awards.  For the first time in the history of the SCICU student letter writing campaigns, two institutions, Allen University and Erskine College, tied for the award with 100% of their respective tuition grant recipients writing letters to their state legislators.

In addition to the institution-level awards, SCICU randomly selected seven (7) student letter writers and gave them each $100 bookstore credits at their respective colleges/universities.

In closing the legislative advocacy kickoff meeting, Mike LeFever reminded attendees of two important upcoming events related to the 2018 advocacy cycle: 1) SC Independent Higher Education Week - April 9-13, 2018, and 2) SC Independent College / University Day at the State House - April 11, 2018.

For more information regarding SCICU's 2018 legislative advocacy goals, please refer to the Advocacy page on the SCICU website.


Dr. Darrell Franklin Parker
Dr. Darrell Franklin Parker

Limestone College Names Its 22nd President

GAFFNEY, SC  -  After an extensive national search for over seven months, Dr. Darrell Franklin Parker was introduced on Wednesday, December 6, as the next President of Limestone College.

The announcement came during a news conference held inside Stephenson Dining Hall on campus.

Dr. Parker is expected to officially take office as Limestone's 22nd President on Wednesday, January 3, 2018.

Dr. Walt Griffin, who has led Limestone College since 1992, announced earlier this year that he would be retiring at the end of the fall semester that concludes with graduation ceremonies December 14-16.

Dr. Parker has been serving since 2012 as the Dean and Professor of Economics for the College of Business at Western Carolina University.

Western Carolina University is a Regional Public Comprehensive University in the University of North Carolina System. Located in Cullowhee, North Carolina, Western Carolina enrolls approximately 11,000 students.

A native of Buncombe County, Dr. Parker grew up in Weaverville, North Carolina and graduated from North Buncombe High School. He received his bachelor's degree in mathematics and economics at the University of North Carolina Asheville before going on to earn his master's and doctoral degrees in economics from Purdue University.

Dr. Parker is no stranger to the Upstate area of South Carolina. He served for six years as the Dean and Professor of Economics for the Johnson College of Business and Economics at the University of South Carolina Upstate in Spartanburg.

Please click here to read the Limestone news release on the SCICU website.


First American Education Finance Teams with SCICU in Donation to Columbia-Area Classroom

SCICU Business Partner First American Education Finance, through its Education First Program, has made it possible for SCICU to make a $100 contribution to a local classroom school project.

Education First is a charitable program that allows First American to give back to local communities through its partners in a way that supports classroom projects that will directly impact students.

The $100 gift provided to SCICU by First American was donated on behalf of SCICU to Cayce Elementary School in the Columbia area to provide 3Doodler pens to Mrs.Dorn's classroom. The 3Doodler company matched the $100 contribution made by SCICU for a total gift of $200. 

The 3Doodler is a 3D pen that works by extruding heated plastic that cools almost instantly into a solid, stable structure, allowing for the free-hand creation of three-dimensional objects.

SCICU extends many thanks to Matt Rankin and the First American Education Finance team for making the $200 donation to Cayce Elementary School possible. 


Jerry Cheatham
Jerry Cheatham
SCICU Chief Integrity Officer
Board Chair-Elect

Cheatham Named SCICU Chief Integrity Officer

COLUMBIA, SC  -   SCICU Board of Trustees Chair Russell Cook has named Jerry Cheatham as the organization's Chief Integrity Officer. This position was created in 2010 when the Board adopted a policy for reporting improper conduct. Mr. Cheatham, Sonoco's Director of Financial Analysis, NAC, is the chair-elect of the SCICU Board of Trustees.

According to the policy, the Chief Integrity Officer is a person appointed by the chair of the SCICU Board of Trustees who can assure that there will be a fair and impartial investigation of any allegation of improper conduct and that the outcome of the investigation will be based on the merits. The Chief Integrity Officer reports directly to the Board of Trustees. Copies of the policy are provided to new trustees during orientation and are available from the SCICU office.

The SCICU Board of Trustees has adopted a Conflict of Interest Policy "to protect the interest of SCICU when it is contemplating entering into a transaction or arrangement that might benefit the private interest of an officer or trustee..." This policy was recommended by the Finance Committee to improve the organization's governance and transparency and to be able to respond more confidently when filing IRS Form 990.

The Conflict of Interest Policy requires that each SCICU officer and trustee must annually: (1) receive a copy of the policy, (2) read, understand, and agree to comply with the policy, (3) disclose any actual or potential conflict of interest, and (4) file a signed statement agreeing to abide by SCICU's Conflict of Interest Policy.

A Conflict of Interest package was sent to all SCICU trustees in November.  This package included the SCICU Conflict of Interest Policy and a Conflict of Interest Form.

SCICU Board members are reminded that their signed Conflict of Interest statements are due by December 20 and should be emailed to Shay West ([email protected]) or faxed to (803) 254-7504.

2017-2018 SCICU Digital College Guide  Now Available Online

SCICU's 2017-18 College Guide is now available online! This digital guide to twenty independent colleges and universities in South Carolina is designed for easy viewing on mobile devices ( and it's easy to share with friends, too!).

The guide includes detailed scholarship and financial aid info, and is full of other tips to help parents and students choose the college or university that best suits their higher education needs.

Please click here to access SCICU's 2017-18 Digital College Guide.


Allen University to Host Spring  SCICU  Board of Trustees Meeting March 14, 2018

Allen University will host the next SCICU Board of Trustees meeting on March 14, 2018.

The Spring Board Meeting will be preceded by the Council of College Presidents breakfast and meeting 9:00 - 10:00 am.

Presidents will join at-large trustees for the business meeting at 10:30 am in historic Chappelle Auditorium.  

The initial "Save the Date" info and online registration links have been sent to member college/university presidents and all at-large trustees. Additional information regarding the Board meeting will follow at a later date.

Please click here for additional information regarding SCICU's Spring 2018 Board Meeting.


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:

Allen University

Anderson University

Benedict College

Charleston Southern University

Coker College
Columbia College
Furman University

Wofford College




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 welcomes the following new Business Partner:

SCICU recognizes the following Business Partners 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 | Affinity LTC, LLC (Genworth Financial)Aramark Higher Education |  Blackboard |  Cantey Tech ConsultingCapinCrouse LLP | Church Mutual Insurance Company | Coleman Lew + Associates | Collegiate Financial Services (IOA) |  Craig Gaulden Davis | CSI Leasing, Inc.Elliott Davis | Find Great People, LLC | First American Education Finance | Gillis Specialty Adverstising | Giraffe Web Design | Harper Corporation General ContractorsHaynsworth Sinkler Boyd, PA | Howard Techonology SolutionsHRP Associates, Inc. | Hypersign, LLC |   The LearningHouse, Inc. |  McMillan Pazdan Smith Architecture | Metadata IT LLCMetz Culinary Management | Myers McRae Executive Search and Consulting | National Management Resources Corporation | P2Ops, LLCPaymerang (f/k/a AP Advantage)Pioneer College CaterersPollock Company | Purple Briefcase |   S2K Group, Inc. | SC Student Loan Corporation | ScholarBuys | Sodexo | Spirit Communications | STEM PremierTotal Comfort Solutions | UnitedHealthcare Student Resources | Vulcan Materials Company | Walsh Consulting Group LLC |   Wells Fargo Insurance ServicesWyche, 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 [email protected] or 803-799-7122.  Mailing address: PO Box 12007, Columbia, SC 29211.