Columbia, SC — The April 3 column by USC vice president for research Prakash Nagarkatti should be required reading for anyone interested in South Carolina’s economic growth (“Sequestration will hurt USC, economy”). At Clemson University, we agree wholeheartedly that the automatic federal budget cuts known as sequestration could have a long-lasting negative impact on innovation and prosperity in our state.
More than $1.8 billion in economic output, nearly 25,000 jobs and a net return to state taxpayers of $77 million annually: That’s the sum of Clemson University’s economic impact on the state of South Carolina.
While significant, these numbers only scratch the surface of Clemson’s value to South Carolina. As a research university, our primary contributions are well-educated graduates, our direct impact on key industry sectors such as agribusiness, automotive and manufacturing, and the innovations and knowledge created through research.
For the current fiscal year, we already have submitted 280 research proposals for approximately $146 million. We anticipate losing $32 million worth of funding this year; over an 18-month period, we could lose as much as $52 million and a 9 percent reduction for non-defense discretionary accounts.
Clemson still has 167 proposals out for review from last year with a total of $81 million in play. We anticipate a $20 million loss in funding for the past proposal cycle due to federal budget uncertainty.
Since 2008, state funding for higher education has plummeted. While state appropriations and tuition will continue to be primary sources of funding for ongoing operations, new initiatives and continual enhancements in quality require a new funding strategy.
I recognize the importance of shared sacrifice, but the discretionary domestic budget has felt the brunt of these cuts, and it’s time for a comprehensive approach. Understanding that future cuts are coming and that Clemson needs to continue to find funding in a severely constrained budget, I urge our congressional leaders to pursue a larger budget deal to replace these cuts and ensure long-term solutions to our nation’s federal deficit concerns, including tax and entitlement reform.
R. Larry Dooley
Vice President for Research