Letter to parents
Greetings from Akron! This is my first letter to parents, something I intend to do on a regular basis to provide tips and hints so that you can help your student enjoy even greater levels of academic and career success.
This month I have information about financial aid, scheduling classes for spring semester, and residence life.
If you have questions or any suggestions for topics for future letters, feel free to write. I would love to hear from you.
Assistant Vice President for Student Success
Registration for spring
Ask whether your student has registered for Spring 2014 classes at Thanksgiving. Three things you may not know about registration:
- Students can take 13 to 16 credit hours, and will be charged for only 12. That's an easy way to save money and graduate sooner!
- Students can schedule spring classes now, but pay in January. Students who register early often get the best classes at the best times.
- It is wise to schedule now, even before fall grades are posted or work schedules are settled. Otherwise, students risk getting shut out of needed classes. Schedules can always be adjusted later.
Preparing for final exam week
Final exams begin Monday, Dec. 9. Your student’s final exam schedule is available for viewing in My Akron and it will be different from the regular class day/time. By checking the final exam schedule now, students can request time off work to allow for more study time and leave a little for sleep.
Parents of commuters should also have a discussion about family responsibilities and time commitments during finals. The change in schedule might impact a shared vehicle, running errands and getting siblings to events during finals week.
See how to get the final exam schedule. A list of registered courses will appear with the date, time and location of the exams. They should confirm all listings with the instructors. Also encourage them to check with the course instructor now for courses with information marked as TBA (or “to be announced”).
Options for housing, both on campus and off
It’s true – winter is just starting, but it won’t be long before students are making plans for where to live for the 2014-15 academic year.
Students choosing to live in the residence halls enjoy many advantages, including higher GPAs than their off-campus peers as well as the safety of living in a secure environment. Whatever your student’s reason for living on campus, we provide many opportunities for students to get involved, actively participate in one of the nearly 300 student groups, and take advantage of academic resources. Students can apply for housing through My Akron.
Continuing students and first-year students who are approved to commute/live off-campus should visit UA’s Office of Off-Campus Student Services for more information and advice.
About billing for spring classes
Four things to know about billing:
- FERPA, the Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act, guides universities in what information is private to the student and what can be shared. Student account information is private, like billing, grades and class schedules. If you, as a parent, want to know billing information, like the amount due, please have your student sign the FERPA release. This form can be found on our website. The FERPA release allows the University to disclose information in person, or by phone, to individuals authorized by the student.
- The student can also authorize Parent access to the eBill, Make a Payment and the Payment Plan signup through My Akron. Go to my.uakron.edu, enter the student’s UAnet ID and password, click on “Student Center,” then Finances.
- The eBill is only a snapshot in time provided monthly. To see “real time” activity on the student account, the student must go to My Akron where they can view details of their student account activity and due dates. It is then the student’s responsibility to update parents or others that need this information.
- The due date (to have made the payment in full or sign up for the payment plan) for the spring 2014 semester is Monday, Jan. 13, 2014.
Steps to take now to help secure financial aid for 2014-15
November: Review your financial situation and make sure your child is looking into or already has applied for scholarships for the 2014-15 year. Scholarship information.
December: Use the FAFSA4caster financial aid estimator at www.fafsa4caster.ed.gov and compare the results to the actual costs. This site will also help you practice completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which will be available Jan. 1, 2014 for the 2014-15 academic year. Never pay a company to complete the FAFSA – it is free to complete and submit, and we can help you for free on campus!
January: Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA application - fafsa.ed.gov). If you have not completed your 2013 federal income tax form, it’s okay. You can estimate your 2013 income or use your 2012 income information to complete the FAFSA. After you’ve completed your federal income tax return, you can return to your saved FAFSA data and correct the income information. Remember that the first date you completed the FAFSA is the date that counts for certain federal programs, such as Federal College Work Study.
Also, learn more about student employment opportunities on and off campus through UA’s Office of Student Employment for part-time positions, or the Career Center for full-time positions.
University hours for Thanksgiving
The University will close at 5 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 27 for Thanksgiving break. Per the Board of Trustees approved Academic Calendar, classes in progress at that hour should be dismissed, and classes scheduled to begin after 5 p.m. are canceled.
Classes will resume at their normal times on Monday, Dec. 2, and UA offices will reopen at 8 a.m.
Residence halls will remain open. Learn more about UA services available over the holidays.
All of us here at the University wish you and your family a warm and rewarding Thanksgiving.