C of C must trim budget due to $1.5 million shortfall

File/Wade Spees/Staff College of Charleston leaders will need to make cuts because of a $1.5 million budget shortfall due to fewer out-of-state students who pay higher tuition.

The College of Charleston must make spending cuts this year to deal with a $1.5 million budget shortfall, according to a college spokesman.

School leaders have not yet decided where they will trim spending, but they do know the reason for the shortage: Not enough out-of-state students enrolled this year, meaning that the college is missing out on revenue from those students’ higher tuition rates. The undergraduate tuition rate for nonresident students at C of C is $28,444 a year, compared to $10,900 for in-state students.

“While our incoming freshman class represents the most South Carolina students in school history and our total number of undergraduate students is stable, our current mix of resident and nonresident students presents some financial challenges,” said college spokesman Mike Robertson.

This fall, 40.3 percent of first-time freshmen came from out of state, down from a proportion of 46 percent in the fall of 2012. While the total undergraduate population has hovered near 10,500 since 2012, the number of out-of-state undergraduate students has decreased from about 3,960 to 3,630 in that time period.

Robertson said the college has not placed a freeze on hiring or tenure track, nor has it made any program cuts due to the shortfall. College President Glenn McConnell, Provost Brian McGee, and the school’s executive vice presidents will present a package of recommended cuts to the Board of Trustees at its Oct. 23 meeting, and the board will vote on how to balance the budget. Robertson said the package had not yet been finalized and likely would not be available until shortly before the meeting date.

The College of Charleston, a public liberal arts college, has 10,454 undergraduate students enrolled for the fall semester. The $1.5 million shortfall represents about a half of 1 percent of the college’s $263.9 million budget for the current academic year.

Reach Paul Bowers at (843) 937-5546 or twitter.com/paul_bowers.