South Carolina does not qualify for $143.4 million in federal education assistance approved last week because the state no longer meets minimum higher education funding requirements.
South Carolina is one of seven states that have failed to meet funding requirements for either K-12 education or higher education, according to U.S. Rep. James Clyburn’s office. According to federal and state estimates, the money would save between 2,000 and 2,300 jobs.
The money is an extension of the federal stimulus program, approved in 2009, which gave states additional education and health care funding. In approving the money last week, Department of Education spokesman Jim Foster said, Congress changed the law to require states meet minimum funding for both K-12 and higher education individually. Previously, eligibility was determined by a state’s combined spending on K-12 and state colleges and universities.
South Carolina meets K-12 requirements but falls short on higher education spending, Foster said. The agency has a meeting scheduled with federal officials later this week to try and work out a solution. Clyburn’s office said the congressman was also working on a solution.