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Parent Email–February 6, 2014

University Parent

Office for Student Affairs

February 6, 2014

Inside This Issue

  • Message from the President
  • Self-Defense Workshops
  • Study PAWS
  • Job and Internship Fair
  • Welcome Week Leaders
  • One Stop Hours
  • IRS Form 1098
  • Tax Assistance for Students
  • Miscellaneous

For today's view of Northrop Mall, here is the College of Science and Engineering's webcam link. If you hadn't noticed before, the CSE webpage includes a box in the lower righthand corner with the current weather (including temperature) and a link to the forecast. It looks like next week the temperature will finally rise above the teens. It will be fun to see how students dress when the weather is a balmy 21 degrees.

Message from the President

Dear Parents,
Our spring semester is off to a chilly, but exciting, start. The University of Minnesota was named one of USA Today’s and Princeton Review’s “best value” colleges in the nation. That ranking is based on our excellent academics, generous financial aid, and total cost of attendance. I’m proud of that.

Meanwhile, ranked us in the nation’s top 25 universities for producing the most Fortune 500 CEOs. That’s just one measure of how we prepare students for the workforce and one indication of the success of our alumni.

Even as the U’s impact and reputation continue to grow and improve, we are focused on important day-to-day challenges. We’ve begun our work to partner again with the State of Minnesota, requesting funding to repair, refurbish and renovate our oldest facilities, and also to help construct 21st century buildings. If you want to keep up-to-date on legislative activity, please join our Legislative Action Network

And, of course, we’ve kept you apprised of all of our efforts to ensure campus safety. As our relationship with the City of Minneapolis has strengthened, the Minneapolis Police Department recently added officers to the precinct that’s adjacent to our campus. I also encourage you to tell your student about the upcoming on-campus Town Hall meeting on Wednesday, February 26, at 5 p.m. in 130 Murphy Hall. It’s designed for students to tell us their thoughts about, and offer solutions for, campus safety. I’ll be there to listen and learn from them.

Have a warm February!

Eric W. Kaler

Self-Defense Workshops

Students have received announcements about self-defense/personal safety workshops they can sign up for. They can reserve a space and see workshop dates and times.

Study PAWS

Pet Away Worry and Stress (PAWS) continues this spring with dogs, Woodstock the chicken, and other therapy animals at Boynton Health Service. PAWS visits are free and open to all faculty, staff, and students, 3-5 p.m. on Wednesdays through spring semester.

Job and Internship Fair

The U of M Job and Internship Fair will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday, Februay 21, at the Minneapolis Convention Center. Students will have the opportunity to connect with more than 200 companies and organizations that will be recruiting for hundreds of jobs and internships. We know that most of you know this, but a gentle reminder that employers want to talk to students and gauge their professionalism; parents are not allowed to attend with their student. Cost: $10 in advance; $25 at the door.

Welcome Week Leaders

Students can develop their leadership skills as a Welcome Week Leader, working with first-year students as they transition from high school to the University of Minnesota next fall.As a Welcome Week Leader, students gain:

  • Knowledge of how to use their Strengths in individual & team situations
  • Confidence when leading a group of peers
  • Increased tolerance of ambiguity
  • Practical knowledge of the University of Minnesota
  • Cooperative relationships among the people with whom they work/li>
  • Other benefits include: 100+ hours of volunteer service, free meals, and free T-shirts

More information on the position and application instructions are online. The application deadline is Wednesday, February 12.

One Stop Hours

Office hours at the STSS One Stop location have changed and are now from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday. Friday office hours remain the same (8 a.m.-4 p.m.).

IRS Form 1098

1098-T tax statements were sent to eligible students at their Home/Permanent addresses via U.S. Mail in January. This statement reports the amount of qualified tuition and related expenses that were billed during the 2013 calendar year. If you have questions about your student's eligibility for education tax benefits, please consult a tax adviser, the IRS, or the University Tax Management website.

Tax Assistance for Students

Students are eligible for free assistance with tax preparation through the Volunteer Tax Assistance Program (VTAP). Students and community members with an income of less than $57,000 qualify for the free help, offered between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Saturday, in Hanson Hall on the West Bank. For information on preparing for and making an appointment, students can check the VTAP website.


A spring 2013 bill was sent to your student's University email account on January 25 and will be due on February 19. The list of billing and due dates for spring semester is posted on the One Stop website.

For information on some of the issues that students are dealing with at this time of the year, take a look at Timely Issues on the University Parent website.

Each month we ask parents to answer a question on our website. For several years, in January, we have asked "During fall semester, on what topic(s) regarding your student did you personally contact the University?" This fall's response indicated a significant increase in parents who have contacted the University: 44% said they had been in touch with someone at the University on behalf of their student during the first semester; last year, just 27.5% were in touch. The topics that drew significantly more parent contact this year were Billing/Finances (19% compared to last year's 13.5%) and health/safety (8.5% compared to last year's 3%, with 4.5% of this year's respondents saying they had contacted the University on the topic of safety and 4% about physical health.) For more information on the January results, see the Parent Question results page. Also, please respond to our February Question of the Month.

Please check out our social media: the University of Minnesota Parent Program Facebook page and the University of MInnesota Parent Program Pinterest page. While we're talking about social media, the U's ace therapy chicken, Woodstock, has a Twitter account. To avoid any indication of favoritism, President Kaler also has a Twitter account. For that matter, so does Goldy Gopher, plus there's a Goldy Facebook page.