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Parent Email–August 18, 2011

  • Security Suggestions
  • Parent Survey
  • Parent/Guest Access
  • Health Insurance Coverage
  • Dental Plan for Students
  • Text-U
  • Off-Campus Housing
  • Parents of Juniors and Seniors
  • Miscellaneous

A couple of quick comments for parents of students moving into the residence halls. First, if you have a hand truck (aka a dolly) that will fit into your car, bring it along. Although the residence halls have laundry carts available for hauling items from the car to the room, there can be a wait for the carts. Second—and this is information that comes from students themselves—don't try to turn the trip to school into a family vacation. Few students are good company for relatives or friends when they are on their way to campus; most will not want to go for a long hike or sit through a baseball game; and rarely will students pose patiently in front of tourist attractions while all of their treasured belongings are smoldering in the back of a hot car. They really just want to get to the University and see how things are going to work out. The recommendation is to plan the quickest, shortest route to campus, then take time for sightseeing or family visits on your way home, or save them for a trip later in the year.

Security Suggestions

Whether students will be living in a residence hall, near campus in a house or apartment, or at home, there are a few suggestions related to security that we'd like to pass along. A task for parents: Check your homeowner's insurance to find out if your student's belongings are covered when they live in a residence hall or campus-area apartment. Some insurance policies cover those items, or a rider may be available through your homeowner's policy at low cost. Otherwise, you might want to obtain a renter's policy.

It's important to have a record of the serial numbers of valuable items, including computers and laptops, printers, bicycles, TVs, cell phones, iPads, digital cameras, and mp3 players. When items are replaced, record the new serial numbers.

Additional suggestions for campus safety and security are on the U of M Police Department website.

Parent Survey

A national survey of college and university parents and families, conducted by the Minnesota Parents Association, is assessing expectations about post-college parenting. This survey will take about five minutes to fill out, and the results will be used to develop messages and services for parents as their students go through and graduate from college. Survey participants are eligible for a drawing for ten $25 Amazon gift certificates, to be randomly selected from all respondents. Please fill out the survey. Your input is very important. The deadline for responding is September 30, 2011.

Parent/Guest Access

Does the One Stop Student Services Center have your primary email address on file? If not, you may be missing important notices about student bills. Please update your email address at Parent/Guest Access to ensure you receive billing notifications. If your student has not granted access for you to view and pay bills online, please ask her or him to provide you with the "Student Account' level of access. If you have questions, contact One Stop at onestop@umn.edu or call 612-624-1111 from 8am - 4pm, M - F, or 1-800-400-8636 toll-free from outside the Twin Cities metropolitan area.

Health Insurance Coverage for Students

All students are required to have health insurance. Those who are not covered by their parents' or another private health insurance will be covered by—and charged for—the University's health plan. Students who do not wish to be charged for University coverage must record their health insurance information when they register for classes. If your student has not recorded his or her health coverage, or if the student's plan information has changed, please have him or her go to the One Stop website and link to "health plan coverage" under the Registration Tools heading.

Dental Plan for Students

This year, a new, optional University-sponsored Voluntary Student Dental Plan provided by MetLife is available to students. Plan members receive preventive care covered 100% at participating providers and up to $1,000 in benefits per plan year. The plan costs $339/year, and students will see a charge of $169.50 on their University bill once at the beginning of fall semester and once at the beginning of spring semester. Coverage runs September 1, 2011–August 31, 2012. Deadline to enroll is September 19, 2011. For more information about the plan, eligibility, and how to enroll, visit www.shb.umn.edu.

Text-U

In case of campus emergencies, the University uses multiple communications to notify the campus community, including tone alert radios, on-the-ground public safety personnel, email, the University home page and TXT-U. TXT-U is the University of Minnesota’s emergency notification text messaging system.

Although only University of Minnesota students, faculty, and staff can register for TXT-U, students can sign up parents, other family members, or friends by designating more than one mobile device to their account. For information on how students can sign up for TXT-U and add parents’ cell phone numbers, see TXT-U on the Safety and Security website.

Off-Campus Housing

Moving into a first apartment is exciting and fun, but it also means new responsibilities. Students will be living near families and working adults, and it's important that they recognize the impact they can have on their neighborhood. A good first step is to introduce themselves to near neighbors and learn who lives next door. Good relationships, started early, reduce problems and complaints later on.

Personal safety is a greater concern when students are living off campus. Students should consider the best lit and most populated routes to and from campus, in case they are walking home late at night. (The University's Escort Service will walk students within a mile of campus.) Locks on doors and windows should be checked to ensure they are secure. Leaving bikes unsecured outdoors is an invitation to theft, and students should never leave valuables in their car.

As you're thinking of things your student will need for an apartment, please put "fire extinguisher" on the shopping list. When your student moves in, ask him or her to check for working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Maybe most important, students should talk about fire safety with their roommates and identify at least two exits from every room in their new home. They also should identify a meeting place a short distance from the building in case of emergency. And a note: among the most significant factors in fires near college campuses are alcohol use, and sofas or stuffed chairs on porches. Students smoking on the porch and dropping hot ashes on cushions can lead to smoldering burns that ignite later.

For students who have concerns about their rental responsibilities or who note problems when they move into their new apartment, University Student Legal Service has scheduled Lease Review Walk-In Week for August 25-30. Hours are posted on the USLS website. The site also links to a Tenant Resource Guide and Fire Safety Information, as well as other information related to legal issues.

Parents of Juniors and Seniors

The Junior-Senior Dinner during Parents Weekend is limited to juniors, seniors, and their parents. Dinner will be served in the Mississippi Room in Coffman Union starting at 6 p.m., Friday, September 30. Following the meal, a panel presentation will present information on the Job Search in the 21st Century. Students and their parents will hear from career advisers and employers about career preparation, the skills and characteristics employers are looking for, and tips for networking and applying for jobs and graduate programs. The cost of the dinner is $18 per person; pre-registration is required, and numbers are limited. Register before September 10; questions may be directed to pweekend@umn.edu.

Miscellaneous

Complicating traffic patterns around the University, the Minnesota State Fair begins Thursday, August 25, and runs through Labor Day, Monday, September 5. The fairgrounds are adjacent to the St. Paul campus, and fair parking includes several U of M parking lots and ramps in St. Paul and Minneapolis. Families moving students into residence halls are asked to take note of the the move-in times and traffic information their student has received. Before starting out, please check the latest updates on Light Rail construction.

For information that addresses common questions that come up at the start of the academic year, see our Seasonal Updates for parents. 

Please take a moment to respond to the Parent Question of the Month. We appreciate your feedback.