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Parent Email–January 10, 2014

University Parent

Office for Student Affairs

January 10, 2014

Inside This Issue

  • Financial Aid Information for Spring
  • Financial Literacy for Graduating Seniors
  • Career Fair
  • Increased Campus Bus Service
  • Safety Tips for Mobile Devices
  • Welcome Week Leaders Recruitment
  • Summer Study Opportunity for International High School Students
  • Miscellaneous

Based on responses to one of our recent Facebook questions, it sounds like, so far, the most common winter break activity for students has been inactivity. Lots of parents report lots of students are sleeping—a lot. When they finally get caught up on sleep, students might come out of their rooms and claim they're bored. Parents: If your student is planning to move to an apartment next year, this coming week is a good time for him or her to demonstrate the life skills necessary for apartment living. (For students who already live in an apartment, you might want some assurance that things are under control.) Ask your student to illustrate her or his independence by fixing dinner for the family, cleaning the bathroom, making a month-long budget for off-campus living, or critically reading and explaining an apartment lease. Ask them to locate the shut-off valves for all water lines in the house. Have them test your home's smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Request that they read University Student Legal Services' Tenant Resource Guide.

And if you're not signed up for the University of Minnesota Parent Program Facebook page, please go online and like us.

Financial Information for Spring

The first billing statement for spring semester will be emailed to students on January 25. 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 needed to complete your student's 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 web page addressing frequently asked questions about Tax Education Benefits has been prepared by the University's Tax Management Office.

Financial Literacy for Graduating Seniors

Life is different after graduation. Payments will come due for financial aid loans. New jobs require decisions related to benefits. Parents expect students to start paying their way. A session that will be offered during the University's Grad Fest '14 will explore financial literacy topics relevant for graduating seniors. Students will receive information on how to make a budget, understand credit, and handle their finances during life after college.

Parents are invited to attend Grad Fest with their senior. Whether you attend or not, please ask your senior to attend the financial information session. It will be offered four times: 11 a.m. to noon, and again from 2 to 3 p.m., Wednesday, March 26; or 10 to 11 a.m. and noon to 1 p.m., Thursday, March 27. Grad Fest, including this session on finance, is held in the Great Hall of Coffman Memorial Union.

Career Fair

Students interested in careers, jobs, internships, and volunteer opportunities with environmental-related employers are invited to attend the Environmental Internship and Career Fair from 1 to 5 p.m., Wednesday, February 5, in the North Star Ballroom, St. Paul Student Union. Employers from government agencies, non-profits, consulting firms, private industry, and nature/environmental learning centers will attend.

Increased Campus Bus Service

Starting January 24, a new weekend bus service will be offered until 2 a.m. on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday throughout spring semester. The Weekend Circulator will travel between the East and West banks with three stops on the West Bank and seven stops on the East Bank. The Campus Connector bus travels between the St. Paul campus and the Minneapolis campuses seven days a week from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Safety Tips for Mobile Devices

A reminder regarding new electronics, as well as bikes or other cool stuff that students may be bringing back to campus for spring semester: please have your student safeguard all valuables. Students are asked to 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.

The University has also collected some suggestions for securing mobile devices.

Welcome Week Leaders Recruitment

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.

Summer Study Opportunity for International High School Students

Please read this if you have friends or family with students living internationally: The University of Minnesota is offering a new two-week seminar designed to prepare secondary school students from countries outside the U.S. for success as an undergraduate at any U.S. university. The University Exploration Academy will take place during the summer (sessions are offered in May and July). The program will combine classroom learning with exciting recreational activities and enrichment programs.

International students will gain insight and tips for applying to U.S. universities, see first-hand what it takes to be successful in a U.S. degree program, and experience life on a large U.S. campus, as well as visit other educational institutions in the area. For more information visit http://gominnesota.umn.edu/programs/uea/ or contact Leah Brink at brink169@umn.edu. Deadline for the July program is February 1, 2014.

Miscellaneous

The university is not nearly as much fun when students are gone. We're looking forward to having them back when classes begin on January 21. In the meantime, if you want to see Northrop Mall with hardly anyone around, here's the link to the College of Science & Engineering's web cam.

You should have received the winter issue of the parent newsletter through the mail recently. If you did not receive it, the information is available on the University Parent website. The newsletter is mailed three times a year to students' home or permanent address. If a second address is needed, or if your student has changed the home address to a campus-area address, please let us know and we will put your mailing address on a supplemental list. Send additional address information to parent@umn.edu.

Each month we post a Timely Issues page on the University Parent website, discussing topics that are likely to come at a specific time of year.

We also post a Parent Question on the website each month. Last month we asked, "How much influence do you think you, as a parent, should have on your student's career choice?" About a third of parents said they should have very little or no influence; about two-thirds said they should have a little or some; only 2 percent said they should have "a lot."

Please respond to this month's Parent Question.