(The Center Square) — A spokesman for South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster says a letter the federal education and agriculture secretaries sent calling on the state to raise funding for HBCUs is off base.
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack sent letters to governors in 16 states, including South Carolina, asking them to raise HBCU funding.
They say that because of “unbalanced funding,” South Carolina State University, an 1890 land-grant institution, has not advanced “in ways that are on par” with Clemson University.
“Unequitable funding of the 1890 institution in your state has caused a severe financial gap, in the last 30 years alone, an additional $469,956,832 would have been available for the university,” they wrote. “These funds could have supported infrastructure and student services and would have better positioned the university to compete for research grants.
“South Carolina State University has been able to make remarkable strides and would be much stronger and better positioned to serve its students, your state, and the nation if made whole with respect to this funding gap,” they wrote.
Officials at the Orangeburg-based school didn’t answer a request for comment on the letter.
However, the governor’s office disagreed with the federal assessment.
“Governor McMaster has been and will continue to be a staunch supporter of South Carolina State University and all our HBCUs in action, deed, and appropriation,” Brandon Charochak, a spokesman for the governor, told The Center Square. “He has made access and affordability one of his highest priorities. The [President Joe] Biden administration is simply off base.”