Like any endeavor worth pursuing in life, it takes careful preparation to become an optometrist.
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SCO is one of the nation's leading optometry schools.
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The Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (HEOA) requires that postsecondary institutions participating in federal student aid programs provide the following information to current as well as prospective students. The following information is disclosed to you in compliance with federal law. For additional information, please call or email the appropriate office or visit the indicated websites.
Americans with Disabilities Act Compliance
Campus Conduct Policy (Title IX)
Campus Safety and Security
Commonly Asked Questions & Quick Facts
Computer Security Policy
Cost of Attendance
Drug and Alcohol Policy
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974
Federal Student Financial Aid Penalties for Drug Law Violations
Graduation and Retention Rates
Placement of Graduates
Refund Policy, Requirements of Withdrawal and Return of Title IV Aid
Student Body Diversity
Life is full of choices. When to begin. How to end. Not all choices are easy. Not all results pleasing. When you choose to apply to SCO, your choice is a proud one—a wise one.
You have chosen to apply to the nation's leader in optometric education—alma mater to 13 American Optometric Association Presidents and more than 80-years of graduating the best clinicians in the field.
The Admissions Office adds to that heritage by providing outstanding service throughout the admissions process: prompt and courteous responses to your questions; detailed literature that provides facts—not just fluff. We are committed to recruiting and retaining the best optometry school applicants.
Information concerning SCO’s Doctor of Optometry program is available in the College Catalog as well as prerequisite courses required. Learn more about our curriculum and faculty, then check out our Graduation and Completion Rates as well as NBEO pass rates. You may contact Student Services to receive a hard copy.
Joseph Hauser, VP for Student Services
Southern College of Optometry is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award the Doctor of Optometry degree. Contact SACSCOC at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call (404) 679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Southern College of Optometry. Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges is to be contacted only if there is evidence that appears to support the institution’s significant non-compliance with a requirement or standard.
Southern College of Optometry is accredited by the Accreditation Council on Optometric Education of the American Optometric Association, 243 N. Lindbergh Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63141, phone number: (314) 991-4100, to award the Doctor of Optometry degree.
SCO is a member of the Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association (TICUA) and a charter member of the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry (ASCO).
Accreditation letters may be reviewed by contacting the Vice President for Student Services at [email protected]
The college complies with Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. These laws provide that educational institutions offer reasonable accommodations for persons with applicable disabilities.
The college has a procedure for students seeking accommodation for disabilities. To initiate the procedure, the student shall submit a written request to the Vice President for Student Services, signed and dated by the student, describing the specific accommodation(s) sought by the student. The student’s request should be supported by acceptable verification of the existence of a disability. To be acceptable, the verification shall be received by the college in writing directly from an appropriate authority, bearing a current date and the issuing authority’s original signature.
The college reserves the right to determine what, if any, accommodation is to be offered. Therefore the verification should provide sufficient information for the college to determine that the student’s request is appropriate, and that the college’s granting of the request will assist in reasonably accommodating the disability. Specifically, the verification should include:
A diagnosis or description of the disability.
A prognosis for any change in the disability.
The date of the authority’s last evaluation of the student.
The date the student should next be reevaluated.
This verification is required in connection with the student’s initial request, and may be required periodically thereafter.
This procedure is mandatory unless waived in writing in advance by the Vice President for Student Services. Contact the Student Services Office for further information.
Janice Frazier-Scott, Title IX Coordinator
A victim of sexual assault on campus should immediately contact Janice Frazier- Scott, Title IX Coordinator and HR Generalist (901) 722-3271 or any person in the HR Department, or Security for confidential assistance with the options available to the victim. All reports regarding sexual assault/harassment are submitted to the college’s Title IX Coordinator. Sexual assault victims may also call the 24-hour hotline of the Memphis Sexual Assault Resource Center, (901) 222-4350, or the Memphis Police Department, 911. Other assistance is available through CONCERN (901) 458-4000, the confidential counseling service provided to employees and students at no cost. For information regarding the college’s Sexual Assault/Harassment policy, please contact the Title IX Coordinator.
SCO does not tolerate any form of discrimination. The college’s Title IX Complaint Policy and Procedures can be found here, and the college’s Title IX Coordinator, Jan Frazier-Scott, is available to discuss such matters in person.
Don Henson, Director
SCO’s campus consistently ranks among the safest optometry school campuses in the country.
Tennessee Crime Statistics - Crime on Campus (Click Here)
Federal Clery Act - Annual Security Report 2015 (Click Here)
Safety Data Sheets - (Click Here)
The annual security compliance report is required by law and is available on the SCO website at https://www.sco.edu/campus-safety. The report contains information regarding campus security and personal safety including topics such as: crime prevention, campus security enforcement authority, crime reporting policies, disciplinary procedures and other matters of importance related to security and safety on campus. It also contains information about crime statistics for the three previous calendar years concerning reported crimes that occurred on campus; in certain non-campus buildings or property owned or controlled by Southern College of Optometry; and on public property immediately adjacent to and accessible from the campus.
If you would like to receive a hard copy of the Annual Security Report which contains this information, you can stop by the Safety and Security Department, or request that a copy be mailed to you by calling (901) 722-3312.
Southern College of Optometry computing, telecommunications, and networking resources are provided to students, faculty, and staff for the support of instruction, administration, and research activities of the institution. These resources are operated under a variety of security systems, procedures, and protocols. Use of these resources is a privilege granted by the college, with designated offices coordinating assigned activities. Users of these resources are expected to conduct their activities within the restrictions and overall policies of Southern College of Optometry, the laws of the State of Tennessee, and Federal statutes. Misuse or improper use of college computing facilities, resources and equipment include (but are not limited to) the following:
1. Theft or destruction, unauthorized access or use, reproduction without proper authorization, sharing access codes or security related procedures, or violation of the copyright laws.
2. Transmitting or accessing abusive, obscene, harassing or threatening materials, or interfering with the activities of others.
3. Use for commercial purposes or business other than that which supports the college’s mission.
4. All other unauthorized acts or uses of the college computing facilities, or any other actions not in accordance with college policies, or not in the best interest of Southern College of Optometry. The college reserves the right to override any individual’s password and access all electronic, voice and email messages in order to ensure compliance. You should not presume that such messages are confidential or that access by an authorized college representative will not occur. The college will take appropriate action against any user who willfully misuses computer resources. Such actions may include (but are not limited to) canceling the user’s account, revoking the user’s operating privileges, revoking access to resources, assessing penalties as provided by college policies up to and including discharge, and seeking any other legally available remedies.
Financial Aid Office
Information concerning the Cost of Attending SCO is available in the Financial Aid Handbook. You may request a hard copy by contacting the Financial Aid Office.
Southern College of Optometry students are expected to conduct themselves as responsible individuals. The college assumes the right to dismiss, suspend, or otherwise penalize students who engage in inappropriate, unprofessional, or unlawful behavior, and to annotate their permanent records accordingly. Entering upon college property, or being on college property, while under the influence of alcoholic beverages is prohibited. The consumption of alcoholic beverages on college property or at college functions is also prohibited except for specific occasions which have been properly requested in advance and approved in writing by the President of the college. A violation is adequate cause for disciplinary action by the college. Entering upon college property, or being on college property, while under the influence of, or using, possessing or distributing any narcotic drug is prohibited. A violation is adequate cause for disciplinary or other action by the college. A drug prescribed by a licensed physician and being used as prescribed is exempt from this policy. If evidence of chemical dependence (alcohol and/or drug) is discovered, the college, at its option, may require the student to take a medical leave of absence for the purpose of completing a program of rehabilitation. The student may be allowed to return to active status following satisfactory completion of such a program. Evidence of subsequent chemical abuse would be adequate cause for further action by the college.
Trey Adams, Physical Plant Manager
Southern College of Optometry takes pride in its well-maintained, attractive, safe campus. For more information about the facilities click here.
The college complies with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974. The college may, at its discretion, provide directory information to outside sources as follows: Student name, date and place of birth; local address; local telephone number; home address; home telephone number; email address; dates of attendance; degrees and awards received; the most recent previous educational agency or institution attended by the student; and participation in officially recognized activities. Student directory information is typically only provided to optometric related organizations. Students may withhold directory information by written notification to the Student Services Office on or before the fall term registration deadline. Students’ requests for non-disclosure will be honored only for one academic year, and should be renewed annually with the Student Services Office in writing. Students may inspect personal files and contents, with certain exceptions provided for in the Act, by written request to the Student Services Office. Copies of specific personal documents may be released to students at a cost of $1.00 per page. An appropriate review and appeals procedure exists for students to challenge information found in their personal files. Students have the right to submit an explanatory statement for inclusion in their educational records if the outcome of an institutional hearing is unsatisfactory. Students have the right to file complaints with the Department of Education concerning alleged failures by institutions to comply with the Act. Written complaints should be directed to The Family Policy Compliance Office, Department of Education, Washington, D.C. 20202-4605.
Financial Aid Office
Federal law provides that a student who has been convicted of an offense under any federal or state law involving the possession or sale of a controlled substance during a period of enrollment for which the student was receiving financial aid shall not be eligible to receive any federal or institutional grant, loan, or work assistance.
Cindy Garner, Director of Financial Aid
The Student Financial Aid Handbook includes information about the following: need-based and non-need-based federal, state, local, private, and institutional financial assistance programs available to students; eligibility requirements and procedures for applying for aid; criteria for selecting recipients and determining amount of award; methods and frequency of disbursements of aid; financial aid terms and conditions, including terms applicable to employment provided as part of a financial aid package; rights and responsibilities of students receiving Title IV, HEA loans; how financial aid is handled when students withdraw; and whom to contact for questions regarding financial aid; the terms and conditions of federal student loans; entrance and exit counseling information; debt calculator and drug violation penalties.
If you would like to receive a hard copy of the Student Financial Aid Handbook which contains this information, you can request that a copy be mailed to you by calling (901) 722-3207.
Information concerning SCO’s Graduation and Retention Rates may be found on our website. You may contact Student Services to receive a hard copy.
TICUA member institutions that are legally authorized to provide post-secondary education in Tennessee are exempt from regulation by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission.
Students should be aware that, should they have complaints about their academic program or their financial aid, Southern College of Optometry has a complaint procedure located in the Student Handbook. To the extent possible, students should seek a resolution of such matters through the institution's complaint procedure before involving others.
State of Tennessee Complaint Procedures
Should the institution not be able to resolve the student complaint, the student has the right to contact the state of Tennessee and its appropriate agency to determine the course of action. Complaints can be filed with the following agencies in Tennessee:
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
Allegations regarding noncompliance with accreditation standards, policies, and procedures may be made to SACSCOC, 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097. (The Commission's complaint policy, procedure and the Complaint form may be found on their website, http://www.sacscoc.org/pdf/081705/complaintpolicy.pdf)
Southern College of Optometry
1245 Madison Avenue
Memphis, TN 38104
No person shall, on the basis of race, religion, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of or be subjected to discrimination or harassment under any program or activity at Southern College of Optometry. The college is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
Hayes Center for Practice Excellence
SCO provides career planning services through the Hayes Center for Practice Excellence to students beginning as early as their first professional year. SCO defines positive placement as a position in optometry through a variety of settings such as the military, private practice, and hospital settings; residencies to expand their clinical skills; and further graduate education. The results include the graduates who chose residencies as their first year of employment.
Whether you are looking for a position or have one that you need to fill, SCO's Practice Opportunities Service can help.
A student who ceases to attend the college during the first 60% of a term is entitled to a pro rata refund of tuition and most fees paid at that semester’s registration, assuming that all exit requirements are satisfied. An example refund calculation is available from the Accounting Department (11th floor) upon request.
Some fees are exceptions to the pro rata calculation. The replacement fee charged to incoming students who cancel is not refundable. If the student has purchased group health insurance through the college, any unused portion of the premium will either be fully refunded, or used to extend the student’s coverage as allowed by state law, at the student’s option. Required books and equipment purchased by the student from the college’s bookstore are not returnable for refund, although the college will include in the pro rata refund amount the difference between the student’s cost and the college’s cost for these items. If the student ceases to attend the college before the equipment or books have been used and the items can be returned in their original packaging and in like new condition, the cost of these items may be refunded to the student. Assessment of the condition of the equipment regarding their suitability for refund will be made by the Director of Academic Programs, in consultation with the college bookstore manager if necessary. The Student Government Association’s student activity fee, which is collected by the college for the SGA, is not refundable.
The percent to be refunded is based on the percent of days attended during the semester before enrollment ceased, calculated to the nearest 0.1% as follows: number of calendar days attended/number of calendar days in semester.
Scheduled breaks of five days or more (e.g., Spring Break) are not included in determining the number of calendar days. If the percent of days attended is greater than 60%, there is no refund.
If the student received Federal Title IV student loans for the term not completed, the refund is first applied to eliminate outstanding balances on student loans for the term in the following order: Federal Unsubsidized Stafford, Federal Subsidized Stafford, Federal Perkins, Federal HPSL, and other sources of student loans. Any remainder is next applied to other sources of financial aid for the term.
Finally, any remaining balance is disbursed to the student. The same refund calculation is also applied if a single course is dropped during the refund period and lowers the student’s course load to part-time status. If the student is receiving Federal Title IV student loans, and the refund process is triggered by an approved extended leave of absence of more than 180 days, then the portion of tuition and fees not refunded will be credited to the student upon return to the program in accordance with the terms of the approved leave of absence. However, failure to return to the program as scheduled will result in forfeiture of the amount to be credited.
Information about Study Body Diversity may be found in the Class Profile. You may contact Student Services to receive a hard copy.
Dr. Lindsay M. Elkins, Director of Academic Programs
Denise Henson, Bookstore Manager
SCO no longer requires you to purchase textbooks from the SCO Bookstore. However, books are still required by most professors. The required textbooks by academic year; including bookstore pricing are listed on IRIS. You may purchase these books from any outside resource or you can still purchase them from the Bookstore. If you would like to purchase a textbook from the Bookstore, please call (901) 722-3291 to place your order. Please place your order at least 14 days prior to the date that you need the book.
Also, in collaboration with a few of your fellow classmates, a Book Swap/Sale site has been established on IRIS. This site is to be used to locate previously used SCO textbooks and purchase them directly from another student. It is up to each student to accurately represent what they have for sale or trade. It is the buyer’s responsibility to verify each purchase or trade is in fact the book that will be used for the course. The site does not offer any type of e-commerce or method for you to exchange funds. However, there is a place you can add a link to your payment system or add photos of the book.
SCO is in no way responsible for nor a broker of any financial transactions. Should you have questions about the process please contact Mike Robertson in Student Services. If you experience technical difficulties please contact the Information Services Office, and feel free to begin listing books for sale as well as purchasing books that students list.
All entering students must provide the Admissions Office with sufficient evidence that they are currently fully immunized against tetanus and diphtheria within the last 10 years; rubeola (red measles); rubella (German measles); mumps; varicella (chicken pox); Hepatitis B; and have had a tuberculin skin test (PPD) within the last 12 calendar months.
Upon acceptance, the college provides the appropriate form for a physician to document these immunizations as well as other health conditions. Entering students who fail to turn in the completed form will not be allowed to register. The college complies with guidelines developed by the Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regarding HIV, Hepatitis B, tuberculosis and other infectious diseases. It is strongly recommended that students receive the applicable screenings and immunizations before beginning the clinical segment of the curriculum.
Accordingly, all first-year students will be assessed a Preventive Health Fee that covers annual tuberculosis skin tests, flu shots, and other preventive health measures. The Hepatitis B immunization series can also be completed at the college if the series was not completed prior to enrollment. Information sessions and copies of the college’s Exposure Control Plan will also be available as requested.
Many of you will be relocating to Memphis very soon to begin your studies and may not be able to return home for local or national elections. If you’re interested in learning more about registering to vote during you time at SCO, please visit http://www.brennancenter.org/student-voting . Each state has different requirements so click on the state you wish to establish as your state of residency to view that state’s laws and requirements.