School Enrollment

At what age can a child be enrolled in school?
In South Carolina, a child must turn 5 by September 1 of that year to enroll in kindergarten. A child must turn 6 by September 1 of that year to enroll in first grade. Students who began their school year in a different state can transfer to South Carolina without having to meet the age requirement.

Who must be enrolled in school?
All children aged 5 through 17 must attend school.

Where must a child be enrolled?
In the school closest to where you live, in the district where you live.

For Parents
Parent or legal guardians must enroll the child.

If you must show proof of the child’s age (birth certificate); proof of immunization; proof of your address (e.g.: utility bill).

If you need to transfer your child from another school, provide the current school with the information above, plus all the information you can about the previous school, classes that your child took (including gifted classes, if any), and any special needs that your child might have.

For Non-Parents
If you have a child living in your home but you are not the parent or legal guardian, you may be able to enroll the child in school if the reason the child lives with you is one of the following:

    1) that the parent or legal guardian is seriously ill or is in jail;
    2) has completely given up control of the child (the parent does not provide money, guidance nor advice to the child);
    3) has abused or neglected the child;
    4) is mentally ill or physically ill and cannot care for or supervise the child;
    5) of the child is homeless; or the child him/herself is homeless (homeless is legally defined as someone who does not have a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence);
    6) has been deployed to military or active duty for more than 60 days and more than 70 miles away from his or her residence.

You will need to fill out a form called school affidavit and take the affidavit, proof of the child’s age (birth certificate); proof of immunization; proof of your address to the school in the district where you live.

The school is required to accept a proper affidavit and
enroll the student when presented.

What is an affidavit?
An affidavit is a written statement that you sign in front of a notary public.

What is a school affidavit?
A school affidavit is a form you fill out where you say that you have a child of school age living with you; why the child lives with you. You must sign it in front of a notary public.

Misuse of affidavit
If you try to enroll a child who does not live with you; do not tell the truth about why that child lives with you; include information in an affidavit that is not truthful, you can be found guilty of a crime and go to jail or be ordered to pay a fine. If you enrolled a child based on an untruthful affidavit, you may have to repay the school district for the time that the child was in their school.

Where can I find a blank copy of a school affidavit?
You can contact the school and ask for a copy. You can also contact the South Carolina Legal Services at 803-744-9430 or toll-free, 888-346-5592 and apply for our free legal services.


To locate your district, find a school in your district and for other parent resources
State of South Carolina

For general questions about education:
South Carolina Department of Education
1429 Senate Street, Columbia, SC 29201
Telephone: 803-734-8500

If you would like to seek assistance of legal counsel:
SC Bar Lawyer Referral Service
Telephone: 803-799-7100
Toll-free: 800-868-2284

Education Cases Handled

  • Discipline
  • Special Education
  • Access
  • Vocational Rehabilitation
  • Student Financial Aid
  • Other Education Matters
Other Legal Representation

  • Consumer & Bankruptcy
  • Employment
  • Family
  • Federal Income Tax
  • Housing
  • Migrant Farm Workers
  • Probate
  • Public Benefits

Additional information may be found at:
South Carolina’s guide to free legal resources

This brochure was prepared by South Carolina Legal Services and is provided as a public service.
Copyright retained by South Carolina Legal Services
Printed December 2013


South Carolina Legal Services is a statewide law firm that provides civil legal services to protect the rights and represent the interests of low-income South Carolinians.


All low-income South Carolinians will have full and fair access to justice.

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