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Parent Email–January 9, 2013

University Parent

January 2013

Inside This Issue

  • Message from President Kaler
  • Grades and Questions
  • Financial Information for Spring
  • Welcome Week Leaders
  • Precautions
  • Upcoming Events
  • One-Credit Courses for Students
  • Miscellaneous

Message from President Kaler

Dear Parents,
You may have read or heard about articles recently published in the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Star Tribune about the University's business operations. If you missed it on Sunday, January 6, here's my detailed response to the Star Tribune.

These articles didn't fully illuminate the tireless commitment we have to keep tuition in check, student debt lower, administrative costs down, and provide an exceptional education for our students. Last year, our tuition increase  was the lowest in 12 years. This year, I am proposing to the Minnesota Legislature a new partnership that would include a two-year freeze on undergraduate tuition for Minnesota residents.

If you'd like to learn more, I've posted an extensive fact sheet on my website about all we've done to keep tuition low and costs down. I also encourage you to read about our success stories on our Operational Excellence site. I assure you that I am working every day to put students and their families first, and to ensure that the University of Minnesota remains great.

Thank you.

Sincerely,
Eric W. Kaler
President

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: http://www.sos.umn.edu/students/grades.html

Financial Information for Spring

The first billing statement for spring semester will be run on January 26 and emailed to students. Check the One Stop website for a full list of billing and payment dates for spring.

The One Stop office recommends that students and families file their state and federal taxes as soon as possible, and certainly by the April 15 deadline, to ensure that you have all the information you need to complete your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The priority FAFSA deadline for returning students is April 15, but students increase their chances of receiving a variety of financial aid awards by completing the FAFSA early.

We strongly recommend that you use the FAFSA link provided here. There are other websites you might find by doing an internet search that will charge a fee for filing the application. You will still need to provide all the information, though, and the whole idea of FAFSA is that it's a FREE application.

A webpage addressing frequently asked questions about Tax Education Benefits has been prepared by the University's Tax Management Office.

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 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. Information is available at  Welcome Week information.

Precautions

A reminder regarding new electronics, bikes, or other cool stuff that students may be bringing back to campus for spring semester: please have your student safeguard all valuables. Install anti-virus software, record registration numbers, install and activate location software, and generally pay attention to safety and security. The Office of Information Technology provides a webpage about Safe Computing, and the Parent Program has posted a page on Crime Prevention as well as a page on Campus Safety and Security Tips.

Upcoming Events

The University's Physics Force is presenting "Physics Circus," its largest show of the year featuring a unique mix of physics demonstrations and slapstick humor suitable for adults and children of all ages. The show is free, but registration is recommended. January 10, 7 to 8:30 p.m., Minneapolis Convention Center. For more information, see Physics Circus.

The first of a series of Soil Saturdays will feature "Playing with Sand" from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, January 19, at the Bell Museum of Natural History. Participants will be able to make a miniature sand sculpture to take home, explore the surprising world of sand under a microscope, see artist creations made from sand, and learn about some of the secrets behind this not-so-ordinary-after-all particle.

A Martin Luther King Jr. Tribute will take place January 20, 4 to 6 p.m., Ted Mann Concert Hall on campus. This year's event will feature renowned vocalist Oleta Adams as well as performances by local artist Ahmad Lewis and students from Walker West Music Academy. For more information, see MLK Jr. Tribute.

There are literally thousands of events on campus every year. Before you come to campus—or if your student ever complains there's nothing to do at the University of Minnesota—check the University's Events Calendar.

One-Credit Courses for Students

Rothenberger Institute courses complement students' schedules by helping them learn to conquer stress, take care of their health, manage conflict, and more. These courses are designed to help students achieve physical, mental, social, and academic balance during college. Courses include Success Over Stress; Alcohol and College Life; and Sleep, Eat, and Exercise. Students will find registration information on the Class Schedule website.

Miscellaneous

The information parents need tends to change throughout the year. We try to anticipate and address the most frequent questions so that you can find the information you need, when you want it. For information that might be of greatest interest over the next month or two, please see our Seasonal Update and our Timely Issues for January.

The winter issue of the Parent Newsletter should be arriving in your mailbox shortly. The print newsletter is mailed to the home address listed on students' directory information. If your address is not listed as your student's home/permanent address, or if print information should be mailed to a second address, please send contact information to parent@umn.edu for future mailings.

If you have not yet responded to our January Question of the Month, please find the question on the University Parent webpage.

In December, we asked parents, "College students go through numerous stages on their journey to independent living. For what life skills did (or still does) your student need the most guidance?" The most frequent responses indicated that students need guidance most on financial management, career decisions, street smarts, cooking, and home maintenance. Just a thought here, but for those who have students at home for the next 10 days or so, maybe you could charge them with doing some cooking, cleaning, and repairs around the house? It's good preparation for students who are thinking they want to live in an apartment off campus next year. For a full list of December responses, see December Results.

For those who want to see what campus looks like this week, here is the Northrop Mall Webcam. It's very quiet around here.