State Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom has drawn immediate criticism over comments he made Wednesday about South Carolina State University.

Eckstrom told fellow Budget and Control Board members that in requesting funds-- the school should stop classifying itself as historically black. 

Eckstrom said the university is first and foremost an institution of higher learning.

The school, which is more than $13 million in the red - is asking for the state's help. He put part of the blame on the student’s economic backgrounds. His comment that “the students couldn’t get into other schools” was construed as racially offensive by some. House Majority leader Todd Rutherford called for an apology, while Orangeburg Representative Jerry Govan called the statements condescending. 

Both Eckstrom and the President of the school say the comments were misunderstood. 

The state Budget and Control Board voted to give $6 million to the school, on the condition that it gives the Governor's Office and legislators more of a controlling hand in its finances.