As important as it is for South Carolina's only historically black state-owned college to succeed, Gov. Nikki Haley's tough stand against lending S.C. State University $12 million more is justified.
It's true that years of financial mismanagement, increasing debt, decreasing enrollment and now academic probation can't be fixed overnight.
But it's reasonable to think that S.C. State has had time to hire an outside financial consultant - a stipulation of the school's receiving a $6 million loan in April of this year.
It's no surprise that S.C. State has returned to the state to request more money. A legislatively appointed panel of current and past state college presidents has estimated S.C. State's debt at about $18 million.
But even members of that panel, who might be prone to sympathize with a struggling fellow school, recommended lending money to S.C. State over several years instead of all right now. It suggests $6 million by next June, $4 million in 2015-16 and $2 million in 2016-17.
S.C. State has to do a lot to prove to taxpayers and to legislators that it is addressing its problems aggressively and effectively. Taxpayers won't support spending more and more money without assurances it will be used well. Neither should their elected representatives.
One obvious move toward re-establishing trust would be to follow through on its promise to hire an outside financial consultant - and then, with his help, to design a plan for the school to get out of the unhappy mess where it finds itself.
At that point the university could reasonably expect more help to get its financial house finally in order.