Click here to view more info about these meetings and events.
Finance Committee Meeting
10:00 am - 11:00 am
Career Services Committee Meeting
10:30 am - 12:00 noon
Executive Committee Meeting
10:00 am - 11:00 am
Career Connections Job Fair
Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center
8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Milliken & Company,
8:30 am - 5:00 pm
Board of Trustees Meeting
Chief Financial Officers Meeting
10 am - 11:30 am
Teacher Recruitment Fair
Public Policy Committee Meeting
10 am - 11 am
Guidance Counselor Tour of
SCICU Member Colleges
ABM Building Solutions, LLC
Affinity LTC, LLC
American Student Assistance
Coleman Lew & Associates
Craig Gaulden Davis
CSI Leasing, Inc.
Elliott Davis Decosimo
eBridge Business Solutions LLC
e-Procurement Services, LLC
First American Education Finance (FAEF)
Find Great People, LLC
Gillis Specialty Advertising
Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd
McMillan Pazdan Smith Architecture
Myers McRae Exec. Search
Professional Insurance & Investment Associates
Stalwart Systems Group
The Payments Company
Total Comfort Solutions
Walsh Consulting Group, LLC
Wyche Law Firm
to view a full listing of SCICU Business partners...
2015 Annual Report Available Online
The digital version of the 2015 SCICU Annual Report is now available on the SCICU website.
In addition to recognizing the many donors, friends, and partners who have given so generously to SCICU for scholarships and programs, the annual report states the organization's audited financial condition for the September 1, 2014 to August 31, 2015 fiscal year, salutes the McLean and Smith scholarship recipients and the Excellence in Teaching award winners, and celebrates SCICU's accomplishments during its 62nd year of promoting independent higher education.
Print copies will be mailed to donors, Trustees, members of the General Assembly, and key stakeholders in the next couple of weeks.
to download a digital copy of the 2015 annual report.
Federal Budget Deal Provides Additional Funds for Higher Education
In the waning days of December, Congress successfully passed an omnibus tax and spending bill that ignored the mandatory cuts in discretionary spending included in earlier bills this summer, resulting in significant increases for many programs important to students and colleges.
Under the FY 2015-16 budget agreement signed by President Obama on December 18, the maximum Pell Grant will rise to $5,915 for the 2016-17 award year up from the current maximum of $5,775. In addition, funds for TRIO programs are increased by $60 million and the GEAR UP program is increased by $21 million. Campus-based programs like Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG) and Federal Work Study (FWS), which were threatened with extinction earlier this year, continue to be funded at the current year's levels.
The omnibus bill made permanent two temporary tax benefits important to higher education: the Charitable IRA Rollover and the American Opportunity Tax Credit. The former allows individuals age 70 ½ and older to donate excess retirement funds directly to charities, including colleges, up to $100,000 annually. The AOTC, which was created as part of the federal stimulus package several years ago by consolidating and expanding several existing tax breaks, reimburses taxpayers up to $2,500 for a range of college-related expenses (tuition, fees, books and other educational materials). To qualify, single filers must make less than $80,000 and married/joint filers less than $160,000.
The tax and spending bill also:
- Phases out by the end of 2016 the Above-the-Line Tuition Deduction. This benefit is not as generous as the AOTC, and is considered by NAICU to be confusing and duplicative
- Delays from January 1, 2018 to January 1, 2020 the "Cadillac" tax on high cost employer-sponsored health plans
- Failed in its attempt to limit the Department of Education regulations on state authorization, credit hour definition, teacher preparation, and gainful employment
Advocacy efforts by NAICU, other national and state higher education advocacy organizations, and individual colleges and universities were instrumental in helping to forge broad, bi-partisan budget agreements for the benefit of students and their families.
Raised From The Dead
Left for dead when authorizing legislation expired on October 1, 2015, the campus-based Perkins Loan Program was revived on December 17 when Congress passed new legislation extending Perkins through September 30, 2017.
About 1,700 higher education institutions participate in the federal Perkins Loan program. Only students with exceptional need may receive a Perkins loan. Funding for new loans comes in part from federal budgetary appropriations, collection of existing loans, and funds from the participating schools. Perkins loans are eligible for various deferments for things such as unemployment or illness - but these policies vary by school. Repayment schedules are set up to ensure the loan is paid off within 10 years, and payments can be required monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly depending on the school. One of the reasons these loans are so important to needy students is the generous and varied forgiveness programs that are unique to the Perkins program.
While the two-year extension will allow student aid advocates and lawmakers a chance to revisit the Perkins Loan program during the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, the current extension was gained only after tighter eligibility standards were included. For example,
- New graduate students will be ineligible to receive loans beginning in the 2016-17 academic year, although graduate students currently receiving a Perkins loan will have one additional academic year through September 30, 2016.
- Undergraduate borrowers currently receiving Perkins Loans must exhaust their subsidized Stafford Loan maximum award before becoming eligible to receive a Perkins Loan. Beginning in 2016-17, undergraduate borrowers receiving a Perkins Loan for the first time must exhaust both subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford Loan eligibility before receiving Perkins Loan eligibility.
Campus-based Aid Programs (Federal Work Study, SEOG, and Perkins Loans) will be one of NAICU's policy priorities for the HEA Reauthorization. Each of these programs requires colleges to match federal student aid funds with billions of dollars in institutional resources, i.e. "skin in the student aid game," and are important to attract and retain low income students.
Wofford College President
Appointed To NAICU Board
Wofford College President Dr. Nayef Samhat has been appointed to an at-large seat on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. He will serve on the Committee on Policy Analysis and Public Relations.
The National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU) serves as the unified national voice of private nonprofit higher education. With more than 1,000 members nationwide, NAICU reflects the diversity of private, nonprofit higher education in the United States.
Dr. Samhat's three-year term begins next month (February 2016) at NAICU's national meeting in Washington, DC. With the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act on the legislative front burner, the NAICU Board and advocacy organization like SCICU will be working overtime to try to shape the national discussion.
Campus Legislative Coordinators Kick Off State Student Aid Campaign
The 2016 SCICU student aid campaign kicked off with the December 6, 2015 Campus Legislative Coordinators meeting hosted at the Capital City Club in Columbia. All 20 SCICU member colleges and universities were represented at this meeting, with 31 campus legislative coordinators in attendance.
Craig Parks, Senior Research Analyst for the Senate Finance Committee, presented the Campus Legislative Coordinators with a state budget briefing. Coordinators also received an update on the Tuition Grants program from SCTGC Executive Director Earl Mayo. Lobbyists Derial
Ogburn and Mike LeFever gave coordinators an overview of what to expect from the 2016 General Assembly.
The consensus from the presenters is that while there
could be more than $1 billion in unobligated funds available for the FY 2016-17 state budget, there are unprecedented needs, including rebuilding the state's roads and bridges, increased funding for K-12 education as a result of the State Supreme Court's
Abbeville decision, and FEMA general cost share match and other expenses associated with the historic October 2015 flooding. With so many competing priorities, advocates for student financial aid must work extra hard to have their voices heard.
SCICU Executive Vice President Eddie Shannon reminded Campus Legislative Coordinators that they are the major key to the success of
the annual letter writing campaign to SC legislators. The SCICU letter writing campaign has historically been one of the most effective ways for making positive impressions and impact on South Carolina lawmakers. During 2015, tuition grant recipients attending SCICU member colleges wrote more than 8,000 thank you letters to their respective House or Senate members. The 2015 letter writing campaign concluded with the student rally at the State House on SC Independent College and University Day on April 15, 2015. The upcoming 2016 rally is scheduled for April 13, 2016.
Shannon outlined the objectives and approach of the 2015 letter writing campaign. He also recognized the highest achievers of the 2015 letter writing campaign. North Greenville University and Lisa Van Riper received the award for most total letters (1, 525). Allen University and Michelle Lucas received the award for the highest percentage of Tuition Grant recipients to write letters (80%).
The SCICU Campus Legislative Coordinators work to support SCICU's 2016 Legislative Priorities, including:
- Working to increase funding for need-based Tuition Grants by $2.53 million (allowing the maximum annual student award to increase from $3,100 to $3,200),
- Full funding of merit scholarships (Palmetto Fellows, LIFE, HOPE and Tuition Assistance), and
- Funding an additional $4.54 million for CHE need-based grants and $1.5 million for PASCAL.
Member College News
SCICU posts news and accomplishments of our member institutions on the Member College News section of our website.
Recent news includes the following:
Please share your news with the SC independent college community by emailing your press releases to
. Thank you!
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
or 803-799-7122. Mailing address: P.O. Box 12007, Columbia, SC 29211