School Name: South Carolina State University
Median Cost of Attendance: $21 700
Undergraduate Population: 3 744
Endowment Needed: $1 624 896 000
Analysis: South Carolina State University needs approximately $1.6 billion for all of its undergraduates to attend debt free. The university is located just over 2 hours from Charlotte, NC and almost 4 hours from Atlanta, GA. Currently, it has approximately 0.3 percent of the endowment needed. There might not be a more “famous” board of trustees in HBCU nation over the past few years – some would prefer the word infamy. The board has lacked vision and cohesion for a number of years which has recently resulted in a significant turnover of the board. This occurring while new leadership was being brought in to head the day to day operations and lay out a new vision of the university. That amount of turmoil can make even the most loyal alum or friendly donor wary of giving. The new leadership must hit the ground running and create a concise, clear, and present vision that the school and its alumni can buy into both for morale and giving. South Carolina State University has produced 6 HBCU presidents from its womb so its DNA is something to behold. As the only public HBCU in the state of South Carolina with an African American population roughly 1.5 million, the university should and could be double if not triple its current size. Given that endowments and donations is largely a numbers a game, when you have a monopoly like South Carolina State University has you must exploit it. Also being the only public HBCU in the state means it is the only one with the ability to scale a graduate program to size and could use that moving advantage to pipeline the other 5 private HBCUs into its graduate programs where it could indeed produce more high quality donors. South Carolina State University is truly a diamond in the rough but showing what happens with poor leadership from boards and administrations that can hold back if not almost dismantle a storied institution. This storied institution has all the ingredients – leadership to be determined – to have unimaginable success. We will see what fate its future holds sooner rather than later.
As always it should be noted that endowments provide a myriad of subsidies to the university for everything from scholarship, faculty & administration salaries, research, and much more.