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Privacy Statement

Privacy Statement

Overview

In general, South Carolina Commission on Higher Education’s (SCCHE) policies governing the collection and dissemination of personally identifiable information follow the same rules that would apply to an in-person visit to a government office, and are governed by the same state and federal laws that cover such visits.

Purpose

The purpose of the statement is to inform users of this site with regard to the collection and use of personally identifiable information. Nothing herein should be construed to, nor does it, create any new or different rights than those available under existing state and federal laws.

Definition of Personally Identifiable Information

For the purposes of this statement, "personally identifiable information" means any information relating to an identified or identifiable individual who is the subject of the information. This includes information such as names, addresses and social security numbers

Personally Identifiable Information Not Routinely Collected

Users are not required to provide personal information simply to visit SCCHE Web sites or to download information. Government agencies may request personally identifiable information in order to provide requested specialized services, but such information is handled as it would be on an in-person visit to a government office.

Personally Identifiable Information that May Be Subject to Public Disclosure

In the state of South Carolina, laws exist to ensure that government is open and that the public has a right to access appropriate records and information possessed by a government agency. At the same time, there are exceptions to the public's right to access certain records in order to preserve the privacy of individuals. Such exemptions are authorized by both state and federal laws. Information collected by SCCHE, like information collected during an in-person visit to a government office, may be subject to inspection and copying by the public, unless such an exemption in law exists. In the event that there is a conflict between this Privacy Statement and a state or federal law governing the disclosure of public records, the applicable state or federal law shall control.

The Family Privacy Protection Act of 2002 prohibits persons or private entities from using any personal information obtained from the SCCHE's web site for commercial solicitation purposes. A person knowingly violating this prohibition is guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to the penalties specified in 30-2-50 (D).

Use, Collection and Retention of Personally Identifiable Information

The IP (Internet Protocol) addresses of computers used to visit SCCHE Web sites are noted as part of the statistical analysis used to better design government services and improve access to them. However, SCCHE does not attempt to gain personally identifiable information on individual users or to associate individual users with IP addresses.

SCCHE collects, retains, and uses personal information only where it is lawful and is essential to administer and to provide products, services and other opportunities requested by a constituent.

Use of Cookies

Some SCCHE applications create "cookies" to hold user information. These "cookies" are then sent to, and stored on, the user's computer. Any SCCHE application or Web page that uses "cookies" will identify itself as such. This information is handled in the same way as other personally identifiable information obtained by SCCHE. No user information will be gathered through the use of "cookies" except that which is required to run the specific application(s) being accessed by the user.

Use of Constituent E-mail Addresses

E-mail addresses obtained as a result of requests to SCCHE Web sites will not be sold or given to any organization outside of SCCHE agencies for marketing purposes. The information collected is subject to the access and confidentiality provisions of the State's Freedom of Information Act and other applicable sections of the South Carolina Code of Laws and/or federal law. E-mail or other information requests sent to SCCHE Web sites may be maintained in order to: respond to the request, forward that request to the appropriate agency, communicate updates to the SCCHE page that may be of interest to citizens, or provide the SCCHE Web designer with valuable customer feedback to assist in improving the site. Individuals will be provided with the option to subscribe/unsubscribe to communications regarding new service updates at any time.

Data Security and Quality

SCCHE is committed to data security and the data quality of personally identifiable information that is either available from, or collected by, governmental Web sites, and has taken precautions to protect personally identifiable information from loss, misuse or alteration. Any third parties responsible for this information are committed to the same principles, and also are required by contract to follow the same policies and guidelines as the State of South Carolina in protecting this information. Unless otherwise prohibited by state or federal law, rule or regulation, individuals will be given the ability to access and correct personally identifiable information maintained by SCCHE that may be in error.

Non-SCCHE Web Sites

Various Web sites will be linked through SCCHE. This includes Web sites of other governmental agencies, as well as Web sites of private entities. Many of these sites may not be subject to the South Carolina Code of Laws, or may operate under different privacy standards. Visitors to those Web sites are advised to check the privacy statements of those sites and be cautious about providing personally identifiable information without a clear understanding of how the information will be used.

Limiting Access to Personally Identifiable Information

SCCHE has taken steps to limit access to personally identifiable information to SCCHE support staff who require access in order to perform their assigned duties. SCCHE has notified and instructed its staff of their responsibilities concerning the protection of personally identifiable information.

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