The Office of Parent & Family 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 emailing us at scparents@sc.edu.

FAQ by Topic:
AcademicsAthleticsCampus LifeCommencementFees and Financial AidHealth and Wellness
HousingOff-Campus ServicesStudent SafetyVisiting Campus


May I check my student’s grades online?
Students may view and print their final grade report on Self Service Carolina. We encourage you to have a conversation with your student about how you will share this information.

Where can my student purchase textbooks?
Students can purchase their textbooks online through the University Bookstore at the Russell House.

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 transfer student services. Also, refer your students to Academic Success Coaching, where they meet one-on-one with a coach to create an academic and engagement plan, set goals, and share resources.

Who is my student’s academic advisor?
All first-year students can access the name of their academic advisor in the University Advising Center by visiting their Self Service Carolina account. All other students should contact their college’s undergraduate office to ask for the name of their academic advisor. Click here for more information on UofSC advising.

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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 request and claim process 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 them as well.

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Campus Life

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 they 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.

What is Carolina Cash and where can my student use it?
Carolina Cash is money added to 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.

Students can use their Carolina Cash at the University Bookstore at the Russell House, the Thomas Cooper Library (for copies), the Thomson Student Health Center (for prescriptions or other fees), at most drink machines, the post office, Quick Copy, the Russell House Game Room, and at all Carolina Dining locations. Carolina Cash also can be used off campus. Click here for a list of vendors.

How can I add Carolina Cash to my student Carolina Card?
Parents may add Carolina Cash to their student’s CarolinaCard using a credit card by calling the CarolinaCard office at 803-777-1708 or online through Self Service Carolina, which requires the use of your student’s Self Service Carolina log-in information and password. Students can also add Carolina Cash to their card at one of the automatic deposit machines, located in the Russell House next to the bookstore and on the main level of the Thomas Cooper Library.

My student wants to join a campus organization. Where can they go for more information?
Encourage your student to visit the Leadership and Service Center, located on the second floor of the Russell House, for information and resources on how to get involved on campus. With more than 400 registered student organizations, students are sure to find one that meets their interests… or they can start their own!

My student wants to study abroad. How can they find out more information?
The Study Abroad Office offers students information on the programs available, important deadlines, costs, and 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 are not required to bring a car to campus. 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 who will 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, they must register the car with Vehicle Management and Parking Services. Talk about how often they will use the car to determine whether a garage or a perimeter lot space will work best.

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My student is graduating. How do they order announcements, cap and gown, etc.?
The University Bookstore at the Russell House is the primary contact for your student’s cap and gown orders. Students can stop by the bookstore to pick up their cap and gown or order it online and have it delivered directly to their house. For announcements and other needs, please visit Balfour – University of South Carolina

I have questions about my student’s graduation ceremony.
Commencement is held each May and December. Details about your student’s ceremony will depend on their academic college. Please visit the Commencement page for complete information.

Do my family members and guests need tickets or invitations to attend the commencement exercises?
Each graduate will receive tickets for their guests. Graduates are asked to return any tickets from their allotment that will not be used so the university may accommodate graduates who wish to invite more than the allotted number of guests. Issuing tickets for commencement is necessary in order to keep the ceremony at the Colonial Life Arena, where each graduate’s name is called as they cross the stage and shake hands with their respective dean and the university president. When you arrive at the Colonial Life Arena for the ceremony, you may find seats in any of the open sections.

My student would like to order the official ring of the University of South Carolina. How do I order it?
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 they will be presented the ring by the university president.

The Carolina Ring Saver Program is offered to students to assist in purchasing a University of South Carolina ring by spreading out the cost of a ring over several semesters. Students can deposit a minimum of $25.00 in the fall and spring semester into a designated account with his/her CarolinaCard which will be applied towards the purchase of a Carolina ring. To participate, students on the Columbia campus can select the desired deposit amount each fall and spring semester at: my.carolinacard.sc.edu. When a student becomes eligible to order his/her ring, the Ring Saver funds will be applied to the participating student account. Refunds from the Ring Saver Account will be processed through the CarolinaCard website and according to the CarolinaCard refund policy.

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Fees and Financial Aid

I have a specific question about fees and fee payment. When is the deadline for my student to pay fees for the semester?
Visit the Bursar’s Office website for complete and up-to-date fees and fee payment information.

I have a question related to registration or Self Service Carolina.
Visit the Registrar’s Office website to find many answers to your questions about registration and Self Service Carolina. Please contact us if we can help with other questions.

How can my student access their 1098-T Tax Form?
Your student will need to log into Self Service Carolina and select the “Account Information” tab. Next, select “Tax Document by Year – 1098-T Tuition Statement” and choose the appropriate tax year.

How can my student apply for financial aid?
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (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 Self Service Carolina by clicking on the “Financial” tab. Select “Awards” for a list of options to view financial aid awards.

How do students change their permanent address on file with the university?
Students can change their permanent address by logging into Self Service Carolina and clicking on the “Personal Information” tab and then selecting “View Addresses and Phones.”

Where can my student get a full-time letter for insurance or loan purposes?
Students may access the Enrollment Verification Service under the “Student” tab and “Student Records” menu in Self Service Carolina. This will allow students to print their official enrollment certificates for health insurance or other companies that request proof of enrollment. Students also may obtain a verification letter by going to the Registrar’s Office. Students need their CarolinaCard (student ID) to obtain the letter.

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Health and Wellness

My student was sick and had to miss several classes. What should they do?
Your student should contact the instructor and let them know about absences due to illness. If your student is going to be out for a prolonged period of time, they 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 they do?
Your student should contact the student ombudsperson at 803-777-4172 for assistance.

I understand the Thomson Student 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. For either medical emergencies or any time when the Thomson Student Health Center is closed, students should call 911 for assistance. Students who require after-hours health care may also be seen at any local urgent care clinic or hospital emergency room. 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, they can call the USC Police Department and ask to be taken to a local emergency room.

Visit Student Health Services for answers to other frequently asked questions.

How can my student get vaccinated for meningitis, hepatitis, etc.? How can they get a flu shot?
Contact Student Health Services for complete information about immunization availability and cost. The flu vaccine is available and free for all students at the Thomson Student Health Center.

My student is feeling anxious, stressed, or depressed.
Please encourage your student to contact Counseling and Psychiatry at 803-777-5223. A variety of individual and group sessions are available, along with other services, most of which are included in student fees.

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I have a specific question about University Housing.
Visit University Housing’s FAQ page to find many answers to your housing-related questions. Contact us if we can help with other questions.

My student and their roommate are having a conflict.
Encourage your student to have a conversation with their resident mentor to talk about the situation. If your student needs to request a room change, they can contact University Housing at 803-777-4283.

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 external vendor, On-Campus Marketing (OCM), to provide the care package service. OCM representatives are available to answer questions about your order. Please contact OCM at 1-866-847-7365 or customerservice@ocm.com. Please visit the OCM website to see current product offerings or chat live with a customer service representative.

Can my student live on campus while enrolled in summer school?
University Housing provides on-campus housing for Summer at Carolina. This housing option is only for students who 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.

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Off-Campus Services

My student wants to move off campus.
Off-Campus Student Services provides resources for students who are looking to move off campus and educates students about being good neighbors.

When should my student start looking for off-campus housing?Some of the larger apartment complexes will start pre-leasing as early as September for the following academic year. Many students will continue to look at housing options well into the spring semester. Off-Campus Student Services offers four off-campus housing fairs each academic year to provide students a convenient way to explore off-campus housing options. If your student is looking for a single-unit rental (i.e. a house in a neighborhood), most options are not advertised for lease until late spring or early summer.

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Student Safety

How can my student sign up for Carolina Alert?
All students should sign up for Carolina Alert to receive emergency communication by text message and email. To sign up, students should visit Carolina Alert and follow the outlined steps. Be sure to encourage your student also to follow Carolina Alert on social media.

How can I sign up for Carolina Alert?
If parents/family members would like to receive the alerts, additional spaces are available in the student’s account to add a parent/family member’s email address and/or cell phone number. For more information about how to sign up, click here.

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Visiting Campus

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 or call 1-800-922-9755.

What hotels are located near campus?
Click here to explore Columbia and see some of the available hotel options in the surrounding area.

Where can I park when I visit campus?
Although there are metered parking spaces on many of the streets that surround campus, with a reservation for a campus tour, the university will provide you with complimentary visitor parking. On weekdays, you can check with the attendant at the Visitor Center parking lot near the intersection of Bull St. and Pendleton St.

For all family members visiting campus at any time, parking meters are available in the Pendleton Street Parking Garage. Hourly parking is available in level three of the Bull Street Parking Garage, located behind the Russell House.

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