Props to the Post and Courier’s Diane Knich for today’s story on Bob Jones receiving state aid while extra money for low-income students of public schools gets nixed.
Last year, low-income public school students received, on average, $1,158 in grants while their private-school counterparts received $3,100, nearly three times as much.
This year, the private school funding will increase to about $3,200 and includes an exclusive new addition: Bob Jones University, says Eddie Shannon, executive director of the Tuition Grants Commission.
Shannon said that although the bill didn’t specifically mention Bob Jones University, “it happens to be the only new one that qualifies.”
Before the legislation was passed, Shannon said, private colleges had to be nonprofit organizations, have a major campus and headquarters in South Carolina and be accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Under the new legislation, a private college can meet those criteria or it can simply be a bachelor’s level institution chartered before 1962 with a major campus and headquarters in South Carolina, the latter of which allows Bob Jones to qualify.
I’m not sure why Bob Jones couldn’t get SACS accreditation, but it probably has something to do with this line in the association’s guidelines:
The governing board is free from undue influence from political, religious, or other external bodies and protects the institution from such influence.
What’s funny is that other private, religious schools on the list for state aid have received this accreditation. Why should Bob Jones University be the only school not held to this standard?