From the President

From the President


President BensonCoastal Carolina University is in the midst of a new academic year, and our gorgeous campus is filled with a sense of energy and optimism. When I peer through my office window in the Singleton Building or walk around campus, I often think about our founders and their bold vision of higher education in this region of South Carolina. 

CCU remains at the forefront of providing students from the Palmetto State, and beyond our borders as well, a great place to earn a comprehensive liberal arts education. In fact, we were the state’s first public institution to implement two leading initiatives: a Top 10 Guarantee program, which guarantees admission to all students who graduate in the top 10% of their S.C. high school class; and a test-optional admissions policy, which allows freshman applicants who have earned a minimum 3.5 high school GPA to choose whether or not to submit standardized test scores. These ongoing initiatives directly support our commitment to be the university of choice within the state. 

Penny Sales Tax

As we approach our 70th year of educating citizens from Horry County and around the world, I want to acknowledge a significant initiative that has undoubtedly elevated our growth and development. It is an honor and privilege for CCU to be one of the three beneficiaries of the Horry County Penny Sales Tax that supports local education. The tax, also known as the Education Capital Improvement Sales and Use Sales Tax, was initiated in 2008 and renewed in November 2022 through a vote by Horry County residents. The sales tax funds capital improvements, and the revenue is shared by Horry County Schools (80%), CCU (13.3%), and Horry-Georgetown Technical College (6.7%). The November vote reimposed the tax for an additional 15 years. The continued impact the Penny Sales Tax will have on the University is priceless, but conservative estimates based on current and projected tax collections over the length of the renewed Penny Sale Tax has over $300 million coming to CCU.   

In March, we held a dedication ceremony for the newly named Penny Hall, formerly known as Academic Office and Classroom Building II. The building’s new moniker signifies our profound appreciation for the support shown by the citizens of Horry County. 

CCU has received more than $139 million from the Penny Sales Tax measure. To give you a better idea of 

the impact it has had on our campus, the funds have been instrumental in building facilities such as Penny Hall, David and Christy Douglas Hall, HTC Student Recreation and Convocation Center, and Clay D. Brittain Jr. Hall, and the ongoing Thompson Library construction, which will be followed by a complete renovation of Kimbel Library. Acquisitions funded through the sales tax revenue include the Hackler Course, Center for Health and Well-Being, and Coastal Science Center. 

These Penny Sales Tax-supported new, renovated, and well-maintained facilities, along with the campus’ overall charm, play a significant role in our ability to attract and retain our growing student body. It gives me great pleasure to share that Fall 2023 marks our third consecutive year of record freshman enrollment, and our overall enrollment is at an all-time high of 10,829. 

CCU’s students not only learn in the classroom and on the playing fields, but they also gain knowledge and hands-on experience within the community via research, part-time jobs, and internships. As the African proverb states, “It take a village to raise a child.” My family and I are so very grateful to call Horry County our home. 

Go Chants!

Michael T. Benson