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Parent Email–January 29, 2013

University Parent

January 29, 2013

Inside This Issue

  • Message from President Kaler
  • Looking Toward the Second Year of College
  • Dining Options for Off-Campus Students
  • Billing Dates
  • Time Management: Assignment Calendar
  • Career Planning
  • Arts and Dance (Free!)
  • 1098-T Tax Information
  • Parents' Collective Wisdom
  • Miscellaneous

It's actually true that (some) U of M students ride bikes all year round. Even the recent snows and freezing rain haven't kept dedicated bikers from their two-wheelers. We just wish they would all wear helmets year round. See if you can spot any bicyclists among the action on the College of Science and Engineering Northrop Mall webcam.

We try not to send too many emails to parents, so that you won't get burned out by our messages. In between Parent emails, however, you can receive updates and see candid campus photos by signing up for our University of Minnesota Parent Program Facebook page. Sign into your Facebook account, search for the University of Minnesota Parent Program Facebook page, and "like" us.

Message from President Kaler

University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler has asked us to pass along a special message for parents: "The University has requested funding from the Minnesota Legislature to freeze tuition for the next two years. The governor's budget proposal supports the U's effort. Please reach out to lawmakers in St. Paul and make your voice heard.

Please watch this message for parents from President Kaler, and explore ways to support the University's legislative request.

Looking Toward the Second Year of College

First-year students who are currently living in a residence hall or on-campus apartment are eligible to be a part of next year's Second-Year Experience (SYE) living-learning community. The SYE House will provide programs, workshops, events, and outings throughout the 2013-2014 academic year that will support leadership development and engagement, major and career exploration, and community connection. Students living in the SYE House will choose from a menu of courses that they will take with other residents, and the community will offer opportunities to spend time with faculty and staff outside the classroom.

Students living in the SYE house will be located in the brand new 17th Avenue Residence Hall. The new building will feature a Fresh Food Market for dining options, a Technology Center, and double rooms. Students must pre-register for the SYE House, and the priority deadline is February 14.

Dining Options for Off-Campus Students

In a conversation with University Dining Services staff yesterday, we learned that many students who live in apartments or commute to campus from a distance come to the conclusion that meal preparation or eating every meal alone are not as much fun as they expected. Around this time of year, they might come to the conclusion that a Commuter Meal Plan would be a good idea. With a five-meal-per-week plan through University Dining Services, students can eat five times a week at a residential dining center and be assured of getting all the food they want with all the nutritional options they need. The Five-Meal Plan is $712 for a full semester, which includes $50 in FlexDine (with the cost adjusted for students who sign up after the beginning of the semester). Information on meal plans is available online.

Billing Dates

Students received their first bill for Spring Semester last weekend, and the first payment is due February 20. For details, see the Spring Billing and Due Dates webpage.

Time Management: Assignment Calendar

Students rarely fail a class because they are not capable of doing the work. They are more likely to perform poorly, however, if they lack the study skills or the time management techniques that college work requires. University Libraries offer an online Assignment Calculator to help students plan for the major projects that require good time management practices. Students can fill in the due dates for assignments like research papers, lab reports, posters, videos, or speeches, and the Assignment Calculator will provide a breakdown of the research and writing steps with suggested dates for each step. Students can also sign up to get email reminders of major points along the way.

Career Planning

  • Environmental Internship & Career Fair is intended to help students and employers connect regarding full-time jobs and internships in the environmental and natural resources fields. 1 to 5 p.m., Wednesday, February 6, in the North Star Ballroom, St. Paul Student Center.
  • Bender Virtual Career Fair is a career fair specifically for students and recent alumni with disabilities. U of M students who qualify are encouraged to register and to participate in the online fair on Wednesday, February 27.

Arts and Dance (Free!)

One of the great benefits of attending the University of Minnesota is the availability of culture and entertainment. During the next month, the University's Department of Theatre Arts & Dance will present multiple exhibits and performances:

  • Creating the World for the Stage 1893-1929, an exhibit at Andersen Library, explores the exotic worlds created by scenic artists for public theaters and private fraternal spaces of the Freemasons. Reception and program, 5 p.m., Tuesday, January 29; exhibit runs through March 15.
  • Thick as a Brick, a new piece of theater performed by students, featuring the music of Jethro Tull. 7:30 p.m., Monday and Tuesday, February 18 and 19, at the Rarig Center.
  • The Gods, updated versions of the great Greek myths, performed by the Junior Company of the U of M/Guthrie Theatre BFA Training Program. 7:30 p.m., Thursday through Sunday, February 28 through March 3, with a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday, March 3, at the Xperimental Theatre in the Rarig Center.

1098-T Tax Information

1098-T tax statements will be sent to eligible students at their home/permanent address via U.S. Mail no later than January 31. Please note: some students change their home or permanent address to a house or apartment near campus, and a statement may have gone directly to your student's campus address. The 1098-T statement reports the amount of qualified tuition and related expenses that were billed during the 2012 calendar year. If you have questions about your student's eligibility for education tax benefits, please consult a tax adviser or the IRS.

And speaking of taxes, when you do yours, don't forget to work with your student on filing the FAFSA forms. Even if you're not convinced your student will qualify for student aid, it's a good idea to file. Families often are surprised to discover they do qualify. Moreover, if your financial situation changes during the next year, having completed the forms in advance will simplify a request for consideration of special circumstances.

Parents' Collective Wisdom

Earlier this year, we asked parents for your recipes for simple, favorite, or affordable dishes that students can make when they set out on their own. We also asked for your advice and suggestions related to car maintenance and other types of transportation. Now we would like to know what you think students should know about financial management, financial planning, and budgeting. Although you may have taught your student everything he or she should know, other students might benefit greatly from your advice.

We are currently collecting and editing your suggestions and plan to post the information online later this semester, and we will continue to add topics to the list. We also will work with students to test your insights!

Please send your thoughts to


Please visit the Parent Program website and respond to our January Question of the Month. Twice a year, we ask parents to let us know the reasons they contact the University on behalf of their student. We share that information with offices around campus, which allows us to better address the concerns parents have and the questions you need answers to. We appreciate your responses, which help us serve you well!