colleges.niche Referenced from NEWS Talk The Budget and Control Board on Wednesday approved a $6 million loan to keep South Carolina State University afloat for the rest of the school year, but how it continues to operate after that remains questionable.

President Thomas Elzey called the 3-1 vote a lifeline for the state’s only public historically black university. He had requested nearly $14 million to pay bills that began piling up last fall.

The loan “will help us continue to tread water,” said Elzey, who took the school’s helm last June. “We want to be able to rise out of the water.”

The loan allows the university to pay its oldest bills while others will continue to go unpaid as school officials seek money from the Legislature.

Gov. Nikki Haley, who chairs the board, said it needed to do something immediately to give confidence to the school’s accreditors, students and parents.

“This is extremely symbolic in terms of what we do today,” she said. “By the time the Legislature is able to do something, every one of these vendors will start to give up on South Carolina State. We need enrollment to go up. What parent is going to send their child to a school we won’t even let pay their bills?”

The resolution calls for the university to pay back the money by July 2015. But how it will repay the money remains unclear. Up to $500,000 of the loan must be spent on financial consultants. Most of the rest will go to two companies. As of March 31, the school owed nearly $4.8 million to its food vendor and $2.4 million to its maintenance contractor items Haley called essential for students. Other bills that are at least four months past due tallied $1.1 million.