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Students Celebrate Higher Education in South Carolina

Apr 09, 2024

Students from Midlands Technical College and other colleges and universities across South Carolina gathered in April for the third-annual Higher Education Day at the South Carolina State House.

The purpose of the event was to show appreciation to lawmakers for the financial aid and other support provided for students to help reach their goals. Speakers at the Higher Education Day proclamation ceremony included South Carolina Lt. Gov. Pamela Evette and Dr. Greg Little, South Carolina Commission on Higher Education’s acting President and Executive Director.

Before gathering for the proclamation, student attendees were able to tour the State House and administrative buildings as well as meet with legislators and other leaders.

MTC students Shaw Howell, Vitaliy Petrenko, Scarlett Pilgrim, William Sexton, and Ciara Wallace – who all hold student leadership positions at the college – were selected to attend.

“Higher Education Day was an unforgettable experience,” Wallace said. “It was an honor to meet countless representatives at the State House who are dedicated to improving accessibility to higher education in the state of South Carolina. Seeing their dedication to ensuring we have better opportunities, up close, surpassed anything I could have ever imagined.”

According to a release from the S.C. Commission on Higher Education (CHE), in the 2023 academic year, more than 40,000 S.C. students received need-based financial aid. CHE also noted S.C. has been steadily increasing funding for need-based grants: $20M in fiscal year 2020-21 to $80M in 2023-24. The state also doubled tuition grants from $10M to $20M in 2021-22. This year’s proposed budget reflects continued levels of support for both need-based aid and tuition grants.

“It's really amazing to see how much work goes on behind the scenes when it comes to higher education,” said Petrenko. “The amount of people dedicated to helping technical colleges and universities acquire funding is astounding.” 

Sexton said, “Higher Education Day was an amazing experience, and I’m honored to have been selected to attend and represent MTC.”

At MTC, 75% of students receive financial aid and/or scholarships. Additionally, MTC students can save up to $40,000 per year on tuition and fees compared to other state colleges and universities. This maximizes financial aid opportunities. 

“For me, this event added another level of appreciation and increased my desire to continue to give my educational journey a 110% at all times,” added Howell. “As I walked to my vehicle, I felt like I had gained another support system, that’s cheering and pushing me to reach whatever my goals are.”

See coverage of this event from ABC 25 in Columbia.

The South Carolina Commission on Higher Education, South Carolina Independent Colleges & Universities (SCICU) and the South Carolina Technical College System (SCTCS) partnered to co-host Higher Education Day.