Wide shot of students walking through the quad


Office of the Registrar

What is FERPA?

The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, commonly known as FERPA, is a federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. Students have specific, protected rights regarding the release of such records and FERPA requires that institutions adhere strictly to these guidelines. You share the responsibility for protecting the privacy rights of USCA students and their records.

University policy regarding the management of student records is based on this federal legislation. The penalty for inappropriate disclosure is the withdrawal of essentially all types of federal funding. You also need to understand that while South Carolina law prohibits individuals from suing universities for alleged FERPA violations, they can initiate legal action against specific university employees (e.g., a faculty or staff member).

The Registrar‘s Office staff is available to provide guidance for any situation.

Who classifies a student and what is an education record?

Student - Any person who attends or has attended USC Aiken.

Education record - Any record (in handwriting, print, tapes, film, or other medium) maintained by USC Aiken or an agent of the University which is directly related to the student except:

  1. A personal record kept by a staff member if it is kept in the sole possession of the maker of the record and is not accessible or revealed to other persons except a temporary substitute for the maker of the record.
  2. Records created and maintained by the USC Aiken Office of Public Safety for law enforcement purposes.
  3. An employment record of an individual, whose employment is not contingent on the fact that he or she is a student, provided the record is used only in relation to the individual’s employment.
  4. Records made or maintained by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, or other recognized professional or paraprofessional if the records are used only for the treatment of a student and made available only to those persons providing the treatment.
  5. Alumni records which contain information about a student after he or she is no longer in attendance at the University and which do not relate to the person as a student.

Student Notification

In accordance with Section 99.7 of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, USC Aiken provides students with an annual notification of their FERPA rights. This notice is sometimes provided more frequently than on an annual basis as shown below:

  • Annually in the USC Aiken Bulletin
  • Annually in the student handbook
  • Each semester via e-mail notification to the student's USC Aiken e-mail address 

Disclosure of Education Records

USC Aiken will disclose information from a student's education records only with the written consent of the student, except:

  1. To school officials who have a legitimate educational interest in the record.

    A school official is defined as:

    • A person employed by the University in an administrative, supervisory, academic or research, or support staff person.
    • A person elected to the Board of Trustees.
    • A person employed by or under contract to the University to perform a special task, such as the attorney or auditor.

    A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official is:
    • Performing a task that is specified in his or her position description or by a contract agreement.
    • Performing a task related to a student's education.
    • Performing a task related to the discipline of a student.
    • Providing a service or benefit relating to the student or student's family, such as health care, counseling, job placement, or financial aid.
  2. To officials of another school, upon request, in which a student seeks or intends to enroll. USC Aiken will notify the student in writing sent certified mail when this is done.
  3. To certain officials of the U. S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of Defense (Solomon Amendment), U.S. Attorney General, INS, the Comptroller General of the United States, and state and local educational authorities, in connection with certain state or federally supported education programs, organizations conducting studies for or on behalf of the University, and accrediting organizations.
  4. In connection with a student’s request for or receipt of financial aid as necessary to determine the eligibility, amount, or conditions of the financial aid, or to enforce the terms and conditions of the aid.
  5. If required by a state law requiring that disclosure was adopted before November 19, 1974.
  6. To parents of an eligible student who claim the student as a dependent for income tax purposes. Upon receipt of the parents’ most recent federal income tax return listing the student as a dependent, access to the student’s records will be given. The student will be notified in writing sent certified mail that this access has been given.
  7. To comply with a judicial order or a lawfully issued subpoena. The student will be notified in writing sent certified mail that this access has been given.
  8. To appropriate parties in a health or safety emergency.
  9. Directory information so designated by the University.
  10. The results of any disciplinary proceeding conducted by the University against an alleged perpetrator of a crime of violence to the alleged victim of that crime.
  11. The University may disclose the result of a disciplinary proceeding to a parent or guardian so long as the student is under the age of 21 at the time of the incident and the proceeding has resulted in a violation of University drug or alcohol policies, or any federal, state, or local law.
  12. To students currently registered in a particular class, the names and e-mail addresses of others on the roster may be disclosed in order to participate in class discussion.

 What is Directory Information?

USC Aiken designates the following items as Directory Information:

  • Student name
  • Student ID photograph
  • Local and permanent mailing addresses and telephone numbers
  • E-Mail address
  • Semesters of attendance
  • Enrollment status (full- or part-time)
  • Date of admission
  • Date of expected or actual graduation
  • School
  • Major and minor fields of study
  • Whether or not the student is currently enrolled
  • Classification (freshman, etc.)
  • Type of degree being pursued
  • Degrees, honors, and awards received
  • Weight and height of members of athletic teams
  • Participation in officially recognized activities and sports sponsored by the University

USC Aiken may disclose any of those items without written prior consent unless notified in writing by the student. Such requests are accepted and entered at any time during the student's attendance at USC Aiken. Upon receipt of such a request, no further Directory Information will be disclosed.

Can I inspect and review my education records?

Students may inspect and review their education records upon request to the appropriate record custodian.

Students should submit to the record custodian or an appropriate University staff person a written request which identifies as precisely as possible the record or records he or she wishes to inspect.

The record custodian or an appropriate University staff person will make the needed arrangements for access as promptly as possible and notify the student of the time and place where the records may be inspected. Access will be given in 45 days or less from the receipt of the request.

When a record contains information about more than one student, the student may inspect and review only the records which related to him or her.

Can I be refused copies of my records?

All official transcripts for USC Aiken students come from the Records Office at USC Columbia. Transcripts or copies of records can be denied for the following reasons:

  1. The student has an unpaid financial obligation against USC Aiken or another USC system campus.
  2. The student has an unresolved disciplinary action against him or her at USC Aiken or another USC system campus.

How much does an official transcript cost?

The fee for transcripts is $12.00 each. There is no charge for copies of other documents found on microfilm or in the student's permanent record. The University does reserve the right to charge the student for Express Mail, FAX charges, or a means of delivery other than first class mail.

How do I make a correction to my education records?

Students have the right to have records corrected that they believe are inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of their privacy rights. Following are the procedures for the correction of records:

  1. A student must ask the Registrar at USC Aiken to amend a record. In so doing, the student should identify the part of the record they want changed and specify why they believe it is inaccurate, misleading or in violation of his or her privacy or other rights.
  2. USC Aiken may decide to comply with the request or it may decide not to comply. The Registrar will consult with the following personnel for their input on such a decision: the Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, the Vice Chancellor for Business and Finance, the Vice Chancellor for Student Life and Services, the Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Services, and the Director of Financial Aid. If it is this group's decision not to comply, USC Aiken will notify the student of the decision and advise them of their right to a hearing to challenge the information believed to be inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of the student's rights.
  3. Upon request, USC Aiken will arrange for a hearing, and notify the student, reasonably in advance, of the date, place, and time of the hearing.
  4. The hearing will be conducted by a hearing officer who is a disinterested party; however, the hearing officer may be an official of the institution. The student shall be afforded a full and fair opportunity to present evidence relevant to the issues raised in the original request to amend the student's education records. The student may be assisted by one or more individuals, including an attorney.
  5. USC Aiken will prepare a written decision based solely on the evidence presented at the hearing. The decision will include a summary of the evidence presented and the reasons for the decision.
  6. If USC Aiken decides that the challenged information is not inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of the student's right of privacy, it will notify the student that they have a right to place in the record a statement commenting on the challenged information and/or a statement setting forth reasons for disagreeing with the decision.
  7. The statement will be maintained apart of the student's education records, as long as the contested portion is maintained. If USC Aiken discloses the contested portion of the record, it must also disclose the statement.
  8. If USC Aiken decides that the information is inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of the student's right of privacy, it will amend the record and notify the student, in writing, that the record has been amended.

What is the Patriot Act?

After September 11, 2001, American colleges and universities were involved in numerous requests for information from a variety of law enforcement agencies. Due to the emergency nature of this period in our country, non-directory information was released on a number of students immediately after the attacks. In October 2001, the United and Strengthening American by Providing Appropriate Tools required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act (USA PATRIOT ACT) was signed into law. A subpoena or court order should now accompany all law enforcement requests for nonconsensual release of non-directory information OR for directory information for students who did invoke the Privacy Indicator.

Types, Locations, and Custodians of Education Records


During a student's first semester:

Director of Admissions
USC Aiken
471 University Parkway
Aiken, SC 29801

After a student's first semester, these records are available on microfilm from:

University Registrar
USC- Office of the Registrar
1244 Blossom St.

Columbia, SC 29208


On-line access for the unofficial transcript is available via Self Service Aiken.

Official transcripts and documents are available on microfilm from:

University Registrar
USC- Office of the Registrar

1244 Blossom St.
Columbia, SC 29208


Immunization Coordinator
USC Aiken
471 University Parkway
Aiken, SC 29801


Director of Business Services
USC Aiken
471 University Parkway
Aiken, SC 29801


Director of Financial Aid
USC Aiken
471 University Parkway
Aiken, SC 29801


Coordinator of Advising
USC Aiken
471 University Parkway
Aiken, SC 29801


Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Life
USC Aiken – Office of Student Life

471 University Parkway

Aiken, SC 29801


Director of University Housing
USC Aiken
471 University Parkway
Aiken, SC 29801


Director of Human Resources
USC Aiken
471 University Parkway
Aiken, SC 29801