February 2020
In This Issue
  • Message from the President
  • Talking Points
  • Student Health Services
  • News from the Bursar
  • MyCarolina Alumni Association
  • CarolinaCard
  • Spring Passport Fairs
  • Student Success Center
  • Student Leadership & Diversity Conference
  • On Your Time
  • University news
  • Important dates
Greetings!

The semester is officially in full swing, students are back in the groove and campus is lively. We've been lucky to have some wonderful sneak peeks of spring, allowing students to soak in the sun on the Horseshoe, at ball games, and around town. However, we know winter can still be tough as daylight is limited and chilly temperatures encourage bundling up and hunkering down. It's important to remember the university offers many mental health resources for students year round. My team in Student Life and my colleagues across campus have prepared great engagement opportunities for UofSC students to beat the dreary days and keep a sunny outlook this semester. This monthly newsletter details many of these opportunities.

Speaking of engagement opportunities: Did you know UofSC is a national leader in supporting students through tracking and making meaning of their activities outside the traditional classroom? My UofSC Experience helps ensure students articulate how their beyond the classroom engagements have contributed to personal and professional growth something employers and graduate schools value.

I hope you find this newsletter to be a great resource in supporting your student. If you have questions or concerns, please reach out to the Office of Parent & Family Programs by phone (800-868-6752) or email ( scparents@sc.edu). We're here to help!
Anna C. Edwards, Ph.D. 
Associate Vice President for Student Life 
Pictured above: Students dance during the 2019 Dance Marathon Main Event. In 2019, UofSC students raised $1,038,156 For The Kids at Prisma Health Children's Hospital.

Dance Marathon  is the largest student-run philanthropic organization on USC's campus. The organization will celebrate its 22nd year on Saturday, Feb. 29.
A Message from President Bob Caslen
Dear South Carolina community:

This week marks the beginning of February and Black History Month  —  a month that gives us the opportunity to celebrate our African American community on campus and throughout our state and nation. It is a celebration and recognition of diversity that frankly should extend beyond the days of February to every day of every year.
Family Talking Points
UofSC Parent
Living off campus can be an overwhelming and stressful experience, especially if you are not familiar with Columbia. There are many things to consider and living safely is one of the most important concerns. In our newest "Conversation Kick-Starters" post, we partnered with the Office of Off-Campus Living & Neighborhood Relations to share tips on starting the conversation with your student to ensure an enjoyable living experience. 

Looking for additional ways to support your student this semester? Be sure to review the "Conversation Kick-Starters" tab on the Parent & Family Programs mobile app for discussion topics and tips for talking with your student.
Student Health Services News
Novel Coronavirus FAQs
The University of South Carolina is closely monitoring the outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) that was first detected in December 2019 in Wuhan City, China, and quickly spread to several countries around the globe. Anytime there is an emerging health situation, the university takes rapid action to prepare for any contingency. Student Health Services offers some  answers to frequently asked questions  about the virus and staying safe.
Telemedicine Makes Seeing Primary Care Doctor Easier than Ever
With peak cold and flu season here, Student Health Services encourages students to download the Mend Telemedicine app so they can see their primary care doctor without leaving their apartment or residence hall room. Telemedicine helps students save time and aggravation while allowing them to speak to a primary care doctor from anywhere in the state of South Carolina. Students can use Telemedicine for things like cold symptoms, rashes, sinus infections and various other symptoms. 

Students will need to download the Mend Telemedicine app from the Apple Store or Google Play. After downloading the app and creating an account, students can request an appointment. Shortly thereafter, they should receive a confirmation email and text of the scheduled visit. A notification text and email will be sent when appointment time nears with a link to the secure video session.

Students who use this new service will be charged a $25 fee each time they use it. Charges may be filed to their health insurance or charged to the student's Bursar account, which can be accessed through Self Service Carolina
Indy's Office Hours for Spring 2020 Semester
Our favorite therapy dog, Indy, has new office hours. Remember to pause before you pet! Whenever Indy has on her official vest, she is on the job helping a fellow Gamecock. 

  • Monday: 4:15-5 p.m., Center for Health & Well-Being 1st floor
  • Tuesday: 12-12:30 p.m. and 4:30-5 p.m., Center for Health & Well-Being 2nd floor
  • Wednesday: 4:15-5 p.m., Thomson Building 104
  • Thursday: 1:15-2 p.m., Center for Health & Well-Being 1st floor
  • Friday: 10:15-11 a.m., Thomson Building 104
News from the Bursar
1098T Educational Tax Credit Statements
Beginning with the 2018 tax year, the IRS is now requiring schools to report the total amount of payments received for qualified tuition and related expenses from all sources during the calendar year in Box 1. Because of this change, the University of South Carolina will report payments received for qualified tuition and related expenses in Box 1 of the form, whereas in previous years, we reported amounts billed for qualified tuition and related expenses in Box 2. Box 2 is no longer an option. IRS guidelines require that student transactions must be reported in the calendar year in which they occur. The calendar year begins Jan. 1 and ends Dec. 31. 

Via Self-Service Carolina (SSC), we urge you to advise your student to opt into the online version of the 1098T statements so they can be conveniently printed from a home/school computer. Otherwise, 1098T statements will be mailed from our office beginning the week of Feb.1. Due to the sensitive nature of the information contained in the 1098T statement, we cannot email or fax them. 

Spring 2020 Payment Plans
If your student has a payment plan for spring 2020, please remember the next payment is due Feb. 10. More information regarding payment plans can be found online .

Changes to Your Student's Bill
Please remind your student to frequently review their bill on Self Service Carolina . Each time a change is made to the account, i.e., dropping/adding classes, changing meal plans, changing housing and adding optional fees – additional/unexpected charges can be added. Unpaid balances on your student's account can result in course cancellation. 

Dropping Classes
Please advise your student that dropping classes at this point in the semester will likely result in a percentage of financial liability for the course even though your student may no longer attend the course(s). “Parts of Term” should be carefully examined for the refund deadline details before a course is dropped. We strongly advise that students contact our office to discuss dropping courses before actually doing so. 

Authorized Users
Students can assign authorized users to their account in SSC. This authorization will allow the authorized user to see the student's bill, payment history, 1098T information and payment plans, receive emails, as well as speak with the Bursar's Office staff about the student's account. We strongly encourage students to set up authorized users on their account. 

Direct Deposits 
If your student expects to receive a refund, which includes excess financial aid, please have them set up direct deposit via Self Service Carolina

If your student is expecting a refund and they set up a direct deposit, please allow at least 72 hours for the funds to be deposited. If a direct deposit is not in place, your student will receive a paper check via mail to the current address on file, which could take up to 5 to 7 business days, or more, depending on U.S. mail service.

Student Email
Please encourage your student to check their student email account frequently. We communicate via email with students about financial activity on the student account. We find that too often, students do not connect this email account to their phones, nor do they check the email account. As a result, communication about drop deadlines, payment deadlines, and statement information goes unread and does not get communicated to parents/guardians. 
My Carolina Alumni Association
  • Ring Week will be held Feb. 3 – 7 in the second floor lobby of the Russell House. During Ring Week, students can be sized for and purchase their UofSC ring.
  • My Carolina will celebrate the spring Ring Ceremony Sunday, April 5 on the Horseshoe. Students must purchase a ring by the end of Ring Week and register for the ceremony by March 25 to participate.
  • Attention My Carolina Student Network members: For the first time, BEAT T-shirts will be offered for spring sports! One for Baseball and one for Women’s Basketball. Student Network members have been emailed a link to reserve these T-shirts.
CarolinaCard, CarolinaCa$h, and Meal Plan Updates
The spring semester is off to a great start! Our team has compiled several recommendations to ensure your student has the essentials to continue a successful semester.

Adding CarolinaCa$h to Your Student’s Account
Parents, guardians and other relatives will need the following information:
  • Student’s VIPID (e.g. 00123456)
  • Birthday
  • Last name
Funds can also be added by calling the CarolinaCard Office at (803) 777-1708 or in person by visiting our office in the Russell House Lower Level.

Load CarolinaCa$h to your student’s CarolinaCard for:
  • School supplies and residence hall essentials at the Barnes & Noble University Bookstore
  • Printing at the Thomas Cooper Library, Printing Services at Russell House and on-campus printing labs
  • A quick snack or drink at our on-campus vending machines 
  • Parking in university garages

Between study breaks , students can take advantage of meal plan dollars and declining balance dollars at one of our on-campus Carolina Food Co. locations. They can grab coffee, snacks, fruits and smoothies! During an exciting basketball or baseball game , students can enjoy a Coke, snacks and other delicious foods at the concessions stands at Colonial Life Arena and Founder’s Park.

CarolinaCa$h can be used anywhere on campus that also takes debit/credit or cash. In addition, it can be used at over 60+ off-campus vendors . CarolinaCa$h rolls from semester to semester.
 
Meal Plan Information
Spring semester first year students living on campus can upgrade their mandated meal plan using CarolinaCa$h. Upperclassmen and commuter students can also purchase or upgrade a meal plan using CarolinaCa$h by visiting my.carolinacard.sc.edu . Alternatively, meal plan purchases and upgrades can be completed by calling or visiting the CarolinaCard office.

Meal plan dollars differ from CarolinaCa$h. Meal plan dollars are non-taxed dollars that can only be used at on-campus dining locations.
Spring Passport Fairs
Postal Services will offer three passport fairs in its student mail center in the Russell House on Jan. 29, Feb. 7 and Feb. 21. Passport processing will be available from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., allowing UofSC community members to process their passport paperwork without leaving campus.

To apply, students should bring the following to the fair:
  • Complete passport application DS-11 from the State Department website, completed online or manually in black ink only and unsigned;
  • 2-inch-square color photograph taken within the last six months (photo service is available for $10 payable to UofSC);
  • Original certified long-form birth certificate or other proof of citizenship, not damaged or altered;
  • Valid driver’s license or other photo ID issued by the state, the military or other federal agency.

The cost for a passport is $110, payable by check or money order only to the U.S. Department of State. For expedited service, add $60 to the cost. The execution fee payable to UofSC is $35 and can be paid by cash, credit or CarolinaCard. If you need a photo taken, add $10 to the UofSC bill.

This service is also offered Monday through Friday at Postal Services’ 1600 Hampton St. office from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. with no appointment needed.
Student Success Center: The SophoMORE Initiative
A series of workshops designed to help teach sophomore students skills that will help them in life outside the four walls of the classroom – skills every adult needs to succeed! RSVP required.

  • Get Paid: Feb. 10, 4 p.m., Career Center. Now is the time to start applying for summer jobs and internships. Learn how to search for the best summer opportunities and what resources UofSC has to offer!

  • Cook Well: Feb. 24, 5 p.m., Center for Health and Well-Being 219. Cooking easy and healthy meals while in college can be a challenge. Join us for this hands-on workshop and learn how to cook a great meal!

  • Self Defense: March 18, 4 p.m., Russell House 303. Hands-on workshop with USCPD to learn tips on defending yourself.
April 3-5, 2020

Students in their second year at UofSC are welcome to join us for this FREE weekend retreat in the mountains, featuring s'mores, canoeing, hiking and more! Come reflect on where you’ve been, where you are now, and where you want to go in the remaining years of college and beyond!

Applications are due Sunday, Feb. 23. Applicants will be notified of their
acceptance prior to spring break.

Transportation, lodging, and meals will be provided by the Student Success Center.
Students who are accepted into the program and agree to attend, but fail to participate will be charged a cancellation/no-show fee.
Student Leadership & Diversity Conference
Student Leadership & Diversity Conference 2019
Consider registering your student for the university’s annual Student Leadership and Diversity Conference! This one-day on-campus conference is an opportunity for students to develop important skills related to leadership and inclusion while networking with student leaders from across the southeast. Each year, approximately 500 student attendees from 30 different higher education institutions take part.
 
This year’s conference will take place Feb. 15 with an inspirational theme of "Chain Reaction." Students can expect to leave the conference with a newfound understanding of their leadership style, how they can foster sustainable positive change and the impact they have on creating a diverse society. Registration includes a keynote presentation, over 30 different workshops, lunch and more.
On Your Time Initiatives
Does your student want to graduate early?
For current first-year students, there’s still time to take advantage of an Accelerated Study Plan (ASP)! Since 2010, the number of students who graduated in three years has risen by 74%.

ASPs allow students to complete a traditional bachelor’s degree in under four years, saving time and money. Graduating early will allow your student to enter the job market sooner, or get a leg up on entering graduate or professional school, if desired. Options are also available for completing combined undergraduate and graduate programs in less time.

For more information, contact On Your Time Initiatives at 803-777-9850.

University of South Carolina biology graduate and Honors College alumnus Ed Buchanan used his medical knowledge as a pediatric surgeon to write a children’s book that helps young patients understand what it’s like to go through surgery.
"Student Government renovates library floor"

Level 4 of Thomas Cooper Library was transformed over winter break into a renovated space for collaboration and study.
Feb. 17: Spring 2020 graduation application due
March 2: Midpoint in semester
March 8-15: Spring break - no classes
March 28: Last day to drop a course or withdraw without a grade of "WF" being recorded
April 16: University Awards Day
April 27: Last day of classes
April 28: Reading Day
April 29-May 6: Final examinations (includes exams on Saturday)
May 8-9: Commencement exercises in Columbia
Please continue to visit the Parents & Families Gateway for information and resources at sc.edu/parents .

Office of Parent & Family Programs
University of South Carolina
Website:  sc.edu/parents  
Parents Assistance Line: 1-800-868-6752