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Parent Email–January 5, 2012

  • Off-Campus Living and Apartment Open Houses
  • Parent-Student International Service Trip
  • Grades and Questions
  • Billing schedule for spring
  • Student Health Insurance
  • Welcome Week Leaders
  • Miscellaneous

Although there are no classes at the University this week, things are fairly busy. Students are buying books, working at their campus jobs, and attending various planning meetings. Staff are in their offices, trying to catch up with unfinished fall semester projects or getting a head start on spring work. Classrooms are being deep cleaned, and repairs are underway. As seems to be the norm these days, road and light rail construction is happening all around campus. If you look at the Northrop Mall Webcam, you may occasionally see someone walking across the mall in the center of campus.

Off-Campus Living and Apartment Open Houses

This is the time of year when students are seriously considering their living accommodations for next fall. Students who currently live in a residence hall will receive information about the room re-application process shortly after they return to campus for spring semester. Those who are thinking of living in a house or apartment next year will be making decisions on roommates, how far to live from campus, cost, and general type of accommodation. Please also have a conversation with your student about the responsibilities that come with living off campus: bill paying, cooking, cleaning, minor home maintenance, negotiating chores with roommates, and managing academics and involvement responsibilities when living farther from campus.

Some apartment complexes near campus will be hosting open houses on Saturday, January 14, the day when residence halls reopen for spring semester. Students and their parents are invited to attend the open houses and take a look at apartment options. Managers and landlords are being asked to confirm if they will participate, and we will update a webpage with apartment names and addresses as we receive their confirmations.

Open houses will be from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, January 14. Check the web link for updates. Before students sign a lease, though, please ask them to take the lease to University Student Legal Service to have it reviewed by an attorney or paralegal. Students who pay the Student Services Fee may have a lease reviewed at no charge.

Those apartment managers have a request for parents: Please take a few minutes to talk to your student about water shut-off valves, and be sure they know how to clean a toilet and what not to put down a drain or garbage disposal.

Parent-Student International Service Trip

The deadline to join a Vision Team and travel to Guatemala with your student has been extended. The 2012 Parents Association Vision Team will travel to Antigua, Guatemala, for one week of volunteer service from May 13-20, 2012. While in Guatemala, you and your student will have the opportunity to build a house, visit families in their homes, work in schools, and meet the families who are positively impacted by volunteers like you.

If you are interested in joining the 2012 U of M Parents Association Vision Team, information and applications can be found online.

Applications are due by Friday, January 20. Contact Chelsea in the Parent Program Office (petre025@umn.edu) for information.

Grades and Questions

The University of Minnesota does not send grade reports through the mail, but students can access their grades online through One Stop. (On the One Stop website, link to "grades" in the right-hand column.) Your student can print off his or her grades to show you or provide you with access to his/her academic records.

Instructors have now posted fall semester grades. If students have questions about their results, the first step is to contact the instructor and ask how the final grade was determined. Those who believe they have been graded unfairly can contact the Student Conflict Resolution Center for assistance in working with an instructor or department.

In order to avoid grade disputes or faculty conflicts in the future, students can follow guidelines on the Student Conflict Resolution Center's website.

Billing Schedule for Spring

The first billing statement for spring semester will be run on January 21 and emailed to students. Check the One Stop website for a full list of billing and payment dates for spring.

Student Health Insurance

The University of Minnesota requires that all students have hospitalization insurance. For those who are not covered by their own, their parents', or an employer's health plan, a student health insurance plan is available. When students register for classes each semester, part of the registration process asks students to confirm their health coverage. If insurance information is not provided, students will be registered for the University's student health insurance. If a student did not have the necessary health insurance policy information when registering, it can still be provided by going to the One Stop website and linking to Health Plan Coverage in the right-hand column of that page.

Information about the student insurance plan is posted on the Boynton Health Service website. Students can also choose to sign up for a Voluntary Student Dental Plan.

Welcome Week Leaders

Welcome Week is designed for University of Minnesota freshmen, bringing them to campus before classes begin to introduce them to the academic, social, and community life of the University. To support new students during their Welcome Week experience, some 400 upperclassmen will be trained to serve as Welcome Week leaders. These volunteers will gain valuable leadership experience, presentation skills, and organizational abilities as they work in pairs to lead first-year students throughout Welcome Week.

Applications for Welcome Week leaders are now being accepted. Please encourage your student to consider applying by going to the Orientation and First-Year Programs Website and linking to the Welcome Week information.

Miscellaneous

Many parents who have sent or phoned in questions or concerns to the University Parent Program over the years have received responses from Deb Parker. Deb is retiring next week, and she will be greatly missed. Since the Parent Program was first introduced, she has been the person who has updated our website, proofread and edited web and print content, and provided all manner of support for the program. We're not sure what we will do without her, but we wish her all the best as she moves into retirement.

January brings a range of emotions for students. Check this month's Timely Issues to review some typical concerns for this time of year.

Please take a minute to respond to our Parent Question of the Month for January!

Happy New Year to our U of M parents and families.