University: Obamacare Partly to Blame for Fee Increase

Tuesday, 24 Jun 2014 07:43 PM

By Jason Devaney

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The University of South Carolina says it will raise its tuition rates in 2015, and Obamacare is partly to blame.

The school is facing an additional $18 million in operating costs, which include implementing the Affordable Care Act, providing state-mandated pay raises to employees, and increasing retirement benefits, reports The Times and Democrat.

Tuition will increase at an average of 3.2 percent, which amounts to about $171 per semester for students who reside in South Carolina, on the school's Columbia campus.

"State policy on funding public higher education is fast evolving," USC Chief Operating Officer Ed Walton said in The Times and Democrat story. "While state support for many public entities is being restored and sometimes surpassing pre-recession levels, the state's public higher education system is being increasingly funded by student tuition."

In-state support for the university has dwindled in recent years, according to the report, with a decrease of almost 40 percent since 2008. Tuition has been relatively low, at an average of $2,700 for the fall 2013 semester.

"We are now at a critical tipping point," USC president Harris Pastides said in the report. "The current trajectory is no longer sustainable for our students, parents and taxpayers.

"We must ensure all South Carolinians have access to an affordable college education and the opportunity to earn workforce-ready baccalaureate degrees. Our state's future economic prosperity depends on it."

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