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Clemson, C of C, USC student government presidents address Gov. McMaster regarding support of bill funding SC college repairs

*this letter below was contributed by CUSG*
Dear Governor McMaster,
The Student Government Associations of the three largest public institutions in the State of South Carolina have signed this letter to implore you to reconsider your stance on SC House Bill 3722, otherwise known as the “bond bill.” Together, we have been elected to represent the voices of thousands of students across the Palmetto State. We urge you to change your position, support the bond bill, and in turn support higher education in South Carolina.
House Bill 3722 allows for vital investments in the infrastructure of higher education institutions across the state. Without the funding provided through the issuance of bonds, the costs of these much needed improvements can and will be passed along to future students. As we know very well, college is an expensive investment that has left students across this country saddled with more than $1 trillion in student debt. However, South Carolina’s economy has only stood to benefit from an educated, degree holding workforce which attracts global investments from companies like Boeing, Volvo, and BMW. South Carolina cannot afford to stymie its ability to produce a degree holding workforce when international corporations are now looking at us for future investments. One can only imagine the kind of signal that would send to the world’s innovators and manufacturers.
The $250 million in funding that would be authorized by HB.3722 would allow fifteen public colleges and universities across the state to make critical renovations and repairs to facilities that simply cannot keep up with South Carolina’s rapid population growth. The last bond bill was passed over sixteen years ago. That timespan has allowed our state’s current students to graduate from their elementary schools and make it all the way to the colleges they attend today. Yet these past sixteen years have also taken a toll on the classrooms and buildings that have educated sixteen classes of graduates. Failing to make improvements to our schools now will only lead to larger, more extensive, and ultimately more expensive costs farther down the road. As governor, you have pointed out our state’s roads have suffered similar neglect and disregard, bringing the need for road repairs “from important to critical to urgent.” We should not allow the facilities at our state’s institutions of higher learning to suffer the same fate as our roads. Investing in our roads and investing in higher education are not mutually exclusive ventures. We implore you to not choose between our roads or our universities, and recognize the inherent value in conscious investments in both. South Carolina cannot risk institutions of higher education falling victim to the same neglect as our roads.
We admire both the vigor and passion you bring to fixing South Carolina’s infrastructure. We too recognize the desperate needs of the state’s roads. However, we cannot assign our colleges and universities the same fate as those roads. As our College and University Presidents shared with you, every dollar invested in higher education nets a return of $11 to the state. Though we recognize that we will not benefit directly from these renovated facilities and improved buildings, we know an investment in future generations, our state’s economy, and education is never the wrong choice. We ask you to seriously reconsider your stance on HB.3722 to provide our universities with the resources they need to continue to make South Carolina a source of economic growth, intellectual curiosity, and innovation we all know it to be.
Ross Lordo
Student Body President
University of South Carolina
Killian McDonald
Student Body President
Clemson University
Michael Faikes
Student Body President
College of Charleston

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