COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP/WVOC) - More out-of-state students are going to public universities in South Carolina without paying the full out-of-state tuition costs.

An analysis of data by The State newspaper found nearly 13,400 out-of-state students at the state's 12 public colleges paying discounted rates, an increase of 43% in the past five years.

University officials say they need the extra money from out-out-state students because state funding has been sharply cut. 

They also say many of the discounts come from merit scholarships, and it's important to attract smart students from out-of-state who may stay in South Carolina after they graduate.

But Charleston County State Representative Jim Merrill says there are plenty of smart students in South Carolina who could fill those slots.

Merrill feels universities are selling themselves out for short-term gains.