University of South Carolina, Clemson University launch Higher Education Report Card for legislative accountability

The University of South Carolina and Clemson University Student Governments have released the state’s first Higher Education Report Card. The students of these universities are stressing the importance of student opinions in the legislative process and holding legislators accountable for supporting higher education.

The report card identifies the bills from the 2015-2016 legislative session that impact students at these universities and features an honor roll of legislators that have been the biggest supporters of higher education.

“The report card will enable us to applaud those legislators who are doing great things for the institutions of higher learning in our state, which is important,” said Joey Wilson, student body president of Clemson University. “But not only that, it will also enable students to be more educated about how what goes on in our state capital affects our experience as students and how important it is for students to be engaged in the political process.”

Higher education makes the state of South Carolina more prosperous, healthier and more vibrant. For every dollar invested in higher education in the state, 25 dollars is returned to the state economy. Per-student funding for South Carolina’s public colleges and universities is 37 percent below 2008 levels, and only three states have cut higher education more than South Carolina.

“Public policy in South Carolina has gradually shifted the burden of paying for college from the state to the students and families of South Carolina,” said Michael Parks, student body president of the University of South Carolina. I’m excited to recognize and celebrate the leaders in our state legislature who are the champions of higher education, and can only hope that such recognition and thanks from our student bodies will inspire other legislators to support our students as well.”

The Higher Education Report Card recognizes how important higher education is in South Carolina and expresses how important the opinions of college students are. It aims to give students more of a voice in the legislative process by informing the public about how legislators vote on issues related to higher education, recognizing the legislature’s biggest supporters of higher education, holding legislators accountable and recommending policies for the future.

“Something like this is much bigger than any rivalry on the field,” Wilson said. “I’m proud of what we’ve started this year, but this is only the beginning of a great partnership that may profoundly impact the future of education in our state.”

“I’m confident that a joint effort between our state’s two most prominent public institutions, the University of South Carolina and Clemson University, in producing the first-ever Higher Education Report Card will make an impact on our state’s students for years to come,” Parks said.

Honor Roll Senators:

Honor Roll Representatives

Natalie Pita, secretary of government relations
University of South Carolina

Maggie Ambrose, secretary of government affairs
Clemson University