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Anderson Independent-Mail (South Carolina)
Clemson University spent $14.8million on employee travel for the 2018 fiscal year, a $1.5 million increase over 2017, according to an annual report released Monday.
Clemson was the highest spending agency in the state for travel. The University of South Carolina came in second at $10.6 million.
"At a time when South Carolina has the ninth-highest college tuition in the nation — and ever-increasing student fees — all of our public colleges and universities would be wise to rein in any avoidable expenses," state comptroller Richard Eckstrom said in a press release. "Especially as they lobby for increased public funding, they should commit to the best stewardship possible of the tax dollars they receive."
In all, colleges and universities accounted for 69.4 percent of the total state travel spending of $81.4 million. Of the 35 schools, 18 cut their travel expenditures while 17 increased their travel spending.
Among the top 25 spenders at Clemson, 14 were athletic coaches. Brent Venables spent $171,891 on out-of-state travel for the year, making him the Clemson employee with the highest tab for the third year in a row.
The athletics travel spending is entirely self-funded through athletics revenues, not taxpayer dollars, said Joe Galbraith, Clemson's associate vice president for strategic communications.
Others on the list included seven professors and Clemson President Jim Clements, whose travel totaled $79,460.
"In the last fiscal year, Clemson University raised $157 million in private donations (a record for the fifth-consecutive year), eclipsed $140 million in research grants (a record high) and competed in the NCAA Sweet 16 and College Football Playoff (for the fourth-consecutive year)," Galbraith said in a statement. "Most of the travel expenses incurred by Clemson employees contributed directly to these successes."
For the 2018 fiscal year, Clemson's athletics program brought in $121.4 million in revenue and had $104.4 million in expenditures.
Clemson travel spending by year:
FY 18 $14,812,346
FY 17 $13,319,090
FY 16 $ 13,712,954
FY 15 $ 13,484,780
FY 14 $ 12,967,744
FY 13 $ 12,360,379
Top 5 Clemson employees by travel spending:
Brent Venables: $174,133 (including both in-state and out-of-state)
Todd Bates: $173,299
Tony Elliott: $122,613
Brandon Streeter: $113,524
Michael Reed: $107,792
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