The Office of Parent Programs is the centralized resource on campus for parents of Carolina’s undergraduate students. This list of frequently asked questions includes a variety of topics to help answer your questions. If you have other questions or need additional information, please contact our office by calling the Parents Assistance Line at 1-800-868-6752 or by e-mailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
May I check my student’s grades online?
Students may view and print their final grade report on VIP. We encourage you to have a conversation with your student about how you will share this information.
The University of South Carolina will disclose information from a student’s education records with parents only with the written consent of the student.
Where can my student purchase textbooks?
Students can purchase their textbooks online through the University Bookstore at the Russell House. All students can pre-order their books during the summer and pick them up during move-in weekend.
My student would like some academic assistance…
The University of South Carolina offers outstanding resources free of charge for students seeking academic assistance. The Student Success Center has programs such as Supplemental Instruction, tutoring, and out-of-state and transfer student services. Also, refer your students to the Academic Centers for Excllence, where they can receive individualized attention to improve their study skills and time management with an academic skills coach, receive a small group math tutoring session, and attend an individualized writing center consultation.
Who is my student’s academic advisor?
Your student can locate the name of his/her academic advisor by logging on to VIP and clicking on the “academics” tab on the navigation bar and then on “registration eligibility/advisor information.” Advisors are assigned by each college and department on campus so your student can contact them directly as well. For more information on academic advising, visit www.sc.edu/academicsuccess/advise.html.
I have a specific question about University Housing or residence life . . .
Visit University Housing’s FAQ page to find many answers to your housing-related questions. Please contact us if we can help with other questions.
My student wants to move off campus . . .
Off-Campus Student Services provides students with assistance in locating Off-Campus Housing and educates students about being good neighbors.
I purchased a care package through University Housing for my student, and I have a question about my order.
The Residence Hall Association (RHA) works through an outside vendor to provide the care package service. OCM (On-Campus Marketing) is the current vendor, and an OCM representative will be able to answer your questions about your order. Please contact OCM at 800-220-4237 or email@example.com.
Can my student live on campus while enrolled in summer school?
University Housing provides on-campus housing for Maymester and both summer school sessions. This housing option is only for students that have been fully admitted and are pre-registered for the fall semester or for those students registered for summer courses. If your student is interested in summer housing, contact University Housing at 803-777-4283.
Fees and Financial Aid
I have a specific question about fees and fee payment. When is the deadline for my student to pay his/her fees for the semester?
Visit the Bursar’s Office page for complete and up-to-date fees and fee payment information.
I have a specific question related to registration or VIP . . .
Visit the Registrar’s Office FAQ Page to find many answers to your registration and VIP-related questions. Please contact us if we can help with other questions.
How can my student apply for financial aid?
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or the Renewal FAFSA is the application necessary to apply for federal financial aid at the University of South Carolina, Columbia. Students must complete a new FAFSA every year. For more information, visit the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships.
How can my student check his/her financial aid awards?
Students can view their financial aid awards on VIP by clicking on “financial” from the navigation bar. Choose “show me financial aid awards” and select the appropriate year from the drop-down box. If your student has been awarded Palmetto Fellows, LIFE, HOPE, or State Need Based Grant, he/she can complete the required certification from this section of VIP.
How can my student change his/her permanent address on file with the university?
Your student can change their permanent address by logging in to VIP and clicking on the “personal” tab on the left and then on “personal data.”
Where can my student get a “full-time” letter for insurance or loan purposes?
Students may now access the National Student Clearinghouse under the “academics” menu on VIP. This will allow students to print, free of charge, official enrollment certificates for health insurance or other companies that request proof of enrollment. Students may also obtain a verification letter by going to the Office of the University Registrar. Your student will need his/her CarolinaCard (student ID) to obtain the letter.
My student is graduating. How does he/she order announcements, cap and gown, etc.?
The Univeristy Bookstore at the Russell House is the primary contact for your student’s graduation orders.
I have questions about my student’s graduation ceremony (date/time/place) . . .
Commencement is held each May, August and December. Details regarding your student’s ceremony will depend on her or his academic college. Please visit the Registrar’s Commencement and Graduation Information page for complete information.
Do my family members and guests need tickets or invitations to attend the commencement exercises?
No, admission tickets or invitations are not usually required. The commencement exercises are open to the public, and you may invite as many guests as you wish. Upon the announcement of the commencement speaker, this policy is subject to change. Guest seating will be on a first-come-first-seated basis.
My student would like to order the official ring of the University of South Carolina. How do I order it?
The My Carolina Alumni Association coordinates the sale of the official ring for students who have earned 60 credit hours or more. Ring Weeks are held throughout the year so students can easily order their rings in the Russell House. Each student who orders a ring during Ring Week will receive an invitation to attend the Ring Ceremony where he/she will be presented the ring by the University’s president.
How can my student get tickets to Carolina sporting events?
All full-time fee-paying students on the Columbia campus are eligible for athletic tickets. However, paying the athletics fee does not guarantee a ticket. Students should visit the Student Ticketing Website for more information.
How do I attend a sporting event with my student?
Athletic tickets can be purchased online from the Athletics Department through the University of South Carolina Ticket Office. Student tickets obtained through the Student Ticketing Website (TicketMaster) allow students to sit in the student section. If you would like to sit with your student at the event you attend, you will need to purchase a ticket through the athletics ticket office for him/her as well.
Where can I find information about on- and off-campus jobs for my student?
Encourage your student to visit the Career Center for information on employment and career development. For information about work-study positions on campus, encourage your student to visit the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships.
My student lives off-campus. Can he/she purchase an on-campus meal plan?
Yes. Carolina Dining offers several meal plan options and the opportunity to put Carolina Cash on your student’s CarolinaCard.
My student would like to store items over the summer instead of bringing them home. Are there storage companies close to campus?
There are several storage companies with locations near campus. If you have questions about specific locations, call the Parents Assistance Line at 1-800-868-6752 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
My student wants to join a campus organization. Where can he/she go for more information?
Encourage your student to visit the Office of Student Organizations located in the Campus Life Center in the second floor of the Russell House for information and resources on how to get involved on campus. With more than 300 registered student organizations, students are sure to find one that meets their interests… or they can start their own!
What is Carolina Cash and where can my student use it?
Carolina Cash is money located on a student’s CarolinaCard. The CarolinaCard, which is also used for meal plans, is a declining balance card. Purchases made with Carolina Cash are deducted from your student’s account balance.
Your student can use their Carolina Cash at the University Bookstore at the Russell House, the Thomas Cooper Library for copies, the Student Health Center when buying prescriptions or paying other fees, at most drink machines, the post office, Quick Copy, the Russell House Game Room and at all Carolina Dining locations. Additional places that accept the CarolinaCard are added each semester.
How can I add Carolina Cash to my student Carolina Card?
Parents may make deposits on behalf of their student by calling the CarolinaCard office at 803-777-1708. Credit card deposits can be taken by phone. Online deposits can be made through the VIP system, which requires the use of your student’s login information and PIN.
Student can also add Carolina Cash to their card at an automatic deposit machine located in the Russell House next to the bookstore, the Business Library on the second floor of the Close-Hipp Building and on the main level of the Thomas Cooper Library.
My student wants to study abroad. How can he/she find out more information?
The Study Abroad Office offers students information on the programs offered, important deadlines, costs, safety, as well as why study abroad is beneficial to students both personally and professionally.
Does my student need a car? What are the options for parking a car on campus?
Students do not need to bring a car if they don’t want to or don’t have one. The Carolina Shuttle offers several routes around campus for students to get from one location to another. Your student will make friends with other students on his/her hall who will most likely have a car and can share rides around Columbia.
Parking options include parking garages and lots on the perimeter of campus. If your student does bring a car, he/she must register the car with Vehicle Management and Parking Services. Talk about how often he/she will use the car to determine whether a garage or a perimeter lot space will work best.
Health and Wellness
My student was sick and had to miss several classes. What should he/she do?
Your student should contact the instructor and let him/her know about absences due to illness. If your student is going to be out for a prolonged period of time, he/she should contact the student ombudsperson at 803-777-4172 for assistance.
We have had a death in the family, and my student will need to miss several classes to come home. What should he/she do?
Your student should contact the student ombudsperson at 803-777-4172 for assistance.
Iunderstand the Health Center closes at 5 p.m. What if my student becomes ill after hours?
Appointments during regular operating hours are encouraged for non-urgent, routine and chronic health care needs. Students with an acute illness or injury may call for a same-day appointment or enter as a walk-in. Student Health Services provides 24-hour care to urgent medical calls on campus through the EMS First Responders program. For either medical emergencies, or anytime when Thomson Student Health Center is closed, students should call 911 for assistance. The student is responsible for payment of charges for ambulances, other transportation, and medical care provided by local hospital emergency rooms or other off-campus health care providers. If your student should become seriously ill, he or she can call Campus Police, and be taken to a local emergency room.
Visit the Thomson Student Health Center for answers to other frequently asked questions.
How can my student get vaccinated for meningitis, hepatitis, etc.? How can he/she get a flu shot?
Contact the Immunization Office at the Thomson Health Center for complete information regarding immunization availability and cost.
My student is feeling anxious/stressed/depressed . . .
Please encourage your student to contact the Counseling Center at 803-777-5223. A variety of individual and group sessions are available, as well as many additional services, most of which are included with student fees.
How can I arrange a tour of campus?
The Visitor Center offers guided walking tours Monday through Friday and on select weekends. Led by student University Ambassadors, campus tours last approximately two and a half hours. To schedule a campus tour, contact the Visitor Center.
What hotels are located near campus?
The Office of Parents Programs offers several sponsor hotels located around Columbia, and many of these offer special rates for families of Carolina students.
Where can I park when I visit campus?
Free PARKING is available for visitors taking a campus tour near the Visitor Center which is located at the head of the historic Horseshoe.
Overflow parking for visitors to the Visitor Center is located in the Pendleton Street Parking Garage across the street from the visitor parking adjacent to the Visitor Center. The entrance to this parking garage is located near the corner of Pendleton and Pickens Streets. Look for the sign directing you to the visitor meters.
Hourly parking is also available in level three of the Bull Street Parking Garage, located behind the Russell House, and at parking meters around campus.