The Times and Democrat today reports that South Carolina State University is less than 30 days away from running out of all cash reserves and being unable to make its monthly payroll.
The report comes as the university awaits a decision from the South Carolina General Assembly on whether it will offer more than $13 million to the school to help pay outstanding debts to vendor and to close its fiscal year.
SCSU Trustee Kate Dawson told the board on Thursday that a $1.3 million check from its food service vendor Sodexo was the only lifeline that enabled the university to make its $2.6 million monthly payroll last month, but that Sodexo leads a line of vendors with whom the university has strained relations due to non-payment.
SC Governor Nikki Haley has proposed a $6.1 million loan to help the institution satisfy existing bond debt, employee salaries and outstanding bills, but would have to provide three years of financial statements from the university and its foundation to the state’s budget and controls board.
Officials say that the financial woes are several years in the making, and have forced the institution to cut more than 90 positions, trim $500,000 from its athletic budget, and to implement a hiring freeze.
This is probably the most crucial 60 days in the university in the last seven or eight years,” Dawson said, noting the state’s legislative session is down to its last month. “If the university were to fail, I feel pretty sure … that the default … in my opinion it would be in excess of $100 million.”