Parent Newsletter April 2010

UNI I am a Panther Parent

Panther Parent is UNI's e-newsletter for parents and guardians. Panther Parent is sent three times per semester and features university events, deadlines and tips from the UNI Parents Association. 

NEWS

University budget updates
Iowa's 2010 Legislative Session adjourned Tuesday, March 30. Read President Allen's update about funding for fiscal years 2010 and 2011 at  www.uni.edu/president/budget.

UNI named to 2009 Presidential Honor Roll for community service
UNI has been named to the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for the second year in a row. The President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll is the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement.

UNI home page has a new look
Visit the new home page, http://www.uni.edu/
Information on the development of the site is available on the UNI Webtools site,
http://www.uni.edu/webtools/about-new-uni-home-page
. Feedback may be sent to webteam@uni.edu.

2010 Census
Students are encouraged to participate in the 2010 U.S. Census. Their participation is important to the university to ensure appropriate allocation of federal funding, college tuition grant and loan programs and other important resources. Students shouldn't be counted on their parents' censuses. Forms will be distributed to on-campus students in residence halls. Off-campus students, including those living in University Apartments, will have the form mailed directly to them. For more information, please contact Jean Wiesley, residence, at (319) 273-2333.

TIPS
Financial aid refund checks
UNI requires that all excess financial aid refunds and all other credit balances from your student's U-bill be electronically deposited to the financial institution of your student's choice. This provides faster refunds, reduces mailing errors, and lowers costs. For prompt processing of your student's refund, they must sign into MyUNIverse and click on the Direct Deposit Non-Payroll link under My Personal Records. Your student will need to provide their account information into the secure site to expedite all future refunds. If students do not enroll in direct deposit, there will be a delay in receiving their refunds up to 21 days. If checks are issued, students are responsible for picking them up at the Office of Business Operations at 103 Gilchrist Hall. Co-payable Parent PLUS loans are not eligible for direct deposit. Please contact the Office of Business Operations at 319-273-2162 or payables@uni.edu for special instructions.

We have our Award Notification, now what?
Students just received their online Award Notification-now how do you make sense of it? Your student's award may include multiple financial aid options, including loan eligibility, to assist with the cost of education. Please utilize the following tips when discussing the Award Notification:

Parents and students are encouraged to discuss the overall plan for financing education. Who is going to contribute to paying the bill and to what degree? Answering this critical question will assist greatly in determining the best available financial aid options. Once a decision has been made, you and your student can begin to determine how much aid to accept from the award.

It's also advisable to first consider the direct expenses that will be owed to UNI (tuition, fees, room and board) and make sure enough aid is accepted to cover those expenses. When determining the actual amount of financial aid to accept, remember to factor in savings or out-of-pocket dollars your family may contribute. A cost calculator will accompany your student's online Award Notification and can be used to help determine how much your student will need.

It may sound obvious, but students and parents should only borrow what they need. Financial aid is available to assist in covering indirect expenses (books, transportation and personal expenses). You and your student may realize you may not need to accept the entire offer to cover these costs, especially if it means additional loans. Eligible loan dollars that aren't initially accepted are always available throughout the remainder of the academic year if needed.

Time to reserve rooms for next year
It's not too late for students to reserve their room in the residence halls for next year. Current residents have first choice of available rooms until new student assignment are made in May. The proposed rate increase for 2010-11 is the lowest in 31 years. Student who live on campus have social and academic advantages and benefit from the convenience of all the services that are provided as part of the housing plan. They also have a higher grade point average and are more likely to graduate.

The majority of students living in the residence halls are on the 2-Year Advantage plan which features a rate freeze for two years. This option is available through Aug. 6. Students can complete the residence hall contract online: www.uni.edu/dor

Updating online directory
If your student has worked hard enough to make the UNI Dean's list, you want to make sure that news gets shared. Students who made the grade, but whose name wasn't on the list in their local newspapers, might have restricted their directory information.

You can check this by visiting the UNI Online Directory at http://www.uni.edu/directory and searching for his or her name. If your student's hometown or local address is not listed, the university is barred from making that information public. Dean's and graduation lists are generated by hometown. Students can update their directory information by logging-in to MyUNIverse > My Personal Records > Update My Personal Information.

Free Tax Preparation
UNI accounting students are providing free income tax assistance on Mondays and Wednesdays from 5 to 7 p.m. through April 14, in CBB 223. No appointment is necessary. For more information, call the UNI Department of Accounting at (319) 273-2394.

Did You Know? - Sustainability at UNI
UNI's second forum on sustainability will take place April 22, the 40th anniversary of Earth Day.

The UNI c.a.r.e. (creating a responsible environment) Web site has a new look and more sustainability-related resources, including maps with campus recycling locations, tips and ways to get involved. Check it out at www.uni.edu/energy.

Many departments and programs at UNI are changing how they do business in order to make the university a "greener" environment. 

In 2009, UNI Dining Services purchased $748,404 in local foods, including eggs, dairy, herbs, flowers, fruits, apple cider, honey, vegetables, beef and pork. This is a 2.3-percent increase from 2008. Local purchasing reduces transportation emissions, supports the local economy and provides farm-fresh quality. 

Dining Services recycles cardboard, plastic, glass, paper, tin and grease rather then sending these items to the landfill. Dining purchases in bulk, has switched to dry beans from canned to cut down on packaging waste, and has reduced disposable, single-use service item usage by switching to china and glass.

Don't dump it -- donate it!
Does your student have usable household items he or she doesn't want any more? When it's time to move out, consider donating to local charitable organizations.

UNI will hold its second-annual Panther Pick Up during the final week of April and the first week of May when many UNI students are moving out of residence halls and apartments. 

During Panther Pick Up, St. Vincent de Paul, Goodwill and The Salvation Army park trucks at convenient locations around campus and College Street. They accept clothing, dishes, furniture, carpet and other useable household items. Agency staff determines whether or not they can accept certain items. Metal items not accepted can be recycled on campus.

Specific times and locations and further details about Panther Pick Up are available at www.uni.edu/pantherpickup.

UNI IN THE NEWS:

NCAA Tournament

UNI's participation in the NCAA tournament resulted in unprecedented media coverage for the university.  Stories have appeared in media in all 50 states, as well as Thailand, Argentina, Iran and China.  Major media coverage includes The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, U.S. News & World Report, ESPN and Yahoo France.

Two of the top 10 Google searches on Saturday, March 20, were Northern Iowa at No. 3 and Ali Farokhmanesh at No. 9.

Facebook posts, comments and likes increased 833 percent.

Monday, March 22, there were 45,934 visits to the UNI home page (a normal Monday would be approximately 36,000 visits).

COLLEGE FACTS

College of Humanities and Fine Arts
The Department of English Language and Literature (in partnership with the College of Education) educates and prepares more English/language arts teachers than any other institution in Iowa. CHFA educates and prepares one out of every four English/language arts teachers in the state.

The UNI School of Music has the largest number of music-education graduates teaching in the state of Iowa.

UNI's Department of Theatre has produced 80 percent of drama teachers in Iowa.

Etched in stone
Graduating from the university is a milestone. Commemorate your son or daughter's graduation from UNI with an engraved brick in the UNI memorial garden. It's a great, permanent way to recognize your student.

http://www.uni-foundation.org/page.aspx?id=lotw36p27

Summer camps
UNI is offering a variety of summer camps for students in grades K through 12. These camps are a great way to showcase UNI to future students. Please share this information with interested K-12 students. For a complete list of summer camps, visit www.uni.edu/camps.

KEY DATES
May 3, finals week begins

May 7, semester ends

May 8, Commencement, UNI-Dome

Aug. 23, fall semester begins

Summer Freshman Orientation Dates:
June 7-8, June 10-11, June 14-15, June 17-18, June 21-22, June 24-25,
June 28-29, July 1-2 and July 8-9

UNI PARENTS ASSOCIATION
All parents/guardians of UNI students are automatically members of the parents association, which works as an advocacy group. Benefits include e-newsletters each semester and a parents' booth at orientation. Contact Jon Buse, UNIPA liaison at (319) 273-2897 or jon.buse@uni.edu with questions. The parents association also supports the Parents Fund, which funds student scholarships and activities on campus.

Get involved -- join UNIPA Advisory Board
The UNI Parents Association advisory board is an advocacy group for UNI students and their parents. Members get the opportunity to share their opinions and insight with UNI staff and faculty. It's a great opportunity to hear and be heard.

UNI Parents Association

118 Gilchrist

University of Northern Iowa

Cedar Falls, IA 50614

(319) 273- 2332