University of South Carolina Aiken Policy on Freedom of Information Act Requests

The University of South Carolina Aiken (hereinafter USC Aiken or the university) will respond to requests for records under the South Carolina Freedom of Information Act (hereinafter "FOIA"). (S.C. Code of Laws§ 30-4-10 et seq. as amended) All requests for records must be made in writing and submitted using the university’s FOIA request form.  USC Aiken will notify the requester as to the public availability of the requested records, and if records are produced, they will be produced following SC Code of Laws§ 30-4-30 (C). Records or portions of records not considered public under FOIA and any other applicable law will be withheld or redacted.

FOIA Request Form

Read the SC Freedom of Information Act for more information about what documents the university can release.

Once you've made a request, the university will send you an acknowledgement of your request within 10 business days, unless the requested documents are older than 24 months. In that case, the university will send an initial response within 20 business days. This response will include whether the university has the documents you've requested, and any fees associated with their retrieval. 

USC Aiken will charge for the search, retrieval and redaction of records (see SCCode of Laws §30-4-30 (B)) based on the following fee schedule:

FOIA Fee Schedule

An individual or organization making a request can expect to be charged the total expense incurred for searching and retrieving records, redacting records, computer usage, and making copies of the requested information, as applicable. The fee will include the per-hour cost of the individual or individuals searching for, retrieving, redacting, and making copies of records, as indicated in the fee schedule below.

The university will require a deposit of 25 percent of the total expected costs before retrieval. Fees can be paid using a check payable to the University of South Carolina Aiken.

  1. Electronic records – The university will charge the number of hours required to search for and retrieve electronic records at $25.00/ per hour.
  2. Email and texts—Given their complexity, the university will treat the retrieval of text messages and email communications as separate from other electronic records.
  3. Hard copy records – The university will charge the number of hours required to search for and retrieve hard copy records at $30 per hour.
  4. Redaction of records - If any responsive records or portions of responsive records contain information that is not considered public under FOIA and/or any other applicable law, the university will charge the number of hours required to redact the records at the rate of $20 per hour.
  5. Deposit – USC Aiken will require a deposit not to exceed 25% of the total reasonably anticipated cost for reproduction of the requested records before beginning any search for the requested record(s).
  6. Other charges - In some cases there may be additional charges for actual costs incurred to respond to a particular For example, the university will charge for postage/mailing costs if hard copies are requested via mail in addition to the cost incurred to duplicate records. There could be additional costs incurred to search for records if someone with specialized knowledge or skills is required to conduct the search.

 

Fees Associated with FOIA Requests:

Search and Retrieval of Electronic Records

$25/hour

Search and Retrieval of hard-copy records

$30/hour

Redaction of Records

$20/hour

Legal Counsel

$100/hour

Search and Retrieval of Emails/Texts

$40/hour

Printed Copies

$.10/page

Mail Service

Cost of Postage

All FOIA information will be sent as hard copies and a delivery confirmation will be sent to the requesting person/entity.

USC Aiken is not required to create an electronic version of a public record when one does not exist in order to fulfill a records request. (SC Code of Laws§ 30-4-30 (A)(2))

SC Family Privacy Protection Act Notice - Please be advised that it is a violation of South Carolina Law to use "personal information" (as defined by S.C. Code of Laws§ 30-2-30(1)) contained in public records obtained from a South Carolina state agency (including the University of South Carolina Aiken) for commercial solicitation directed to any person in the State of South Carolina. (S.C. Code of Laws§ 30-2-50

(A)) See S.C. Code of Laws§ 30-2-50 (D) for fines and/or imprisonment imposed upon conviction for a knowing violation of this law.