Parent Newsletter March 2011

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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. 

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EDITOR'S NOTES

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NEWS

Important changes to Commencement
This spring, three Commencement ceremonies will be held in the McLeod Center. The schedule is as follows:

7 p.m., Friday, May 6: the College of Education and Continuing Education and Special Programs

10 a.m., Saturday, May 7: the College of Humanities and Fine Arts and the College of Natural Sciences.

2 p.m., Saturday, May 7: the College of Business Administration and the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

A reception for the graduates, their families and UNI personnel will be held in the UNI-Dome following Commencement. Having three ceremonies will allow sufficient time for each group of graduates and their families to attend the event and return home at a reasonable hour. The ceremony change will also avoid conflicts with parking and the Saturday morning ROTC commissioning.

Spring 2011 degree candidates must complete the graduation application and Commencement RSVP by 5 p.m., Friday, April 15, to be included in the Commencement program. Students can complete these at http://www.uni.edu/registrar/students/current-students/graduation-commencement-rsvp. For more information, visit
 http://www.uni.edu/registrar/spring-2011-commencement-story.

Student Information System and Parent Portal undergo changes
Changes are being made to the Student Information System (SIS) that will allow third-party users, such as parents or spouses, to access student records through MyUNIverse. The current Parent Portal will be retired after all of the system changes have been made.

Between now and August, which is when the SIS update will be completed, students need to set up third-party accounts in the new system for each person they want to have access to their information. Students should also retain their existing third-party accounts, since some records will continue to be accessed through the Parent Portal (/parents/) until they are migrated into the MyUNIverse third-party portal. For updates, visit http://www.uni.edu/its/support/article/916.

Changes to fall 2011 U-bill 
Changes to the fall 2011 U-bill are being made to coincide with the new Student Information System, mentioned above. Electronic bills will be created on the first of every month and will be due on the 20th. Therefore, the first bill for fall semester will be issued Aug. 1 with a due date of Aug. 20. Students will continue to receive an e-mail notification when their bill is available. Students can also continue to allow parents and other third parties to access their U-bill by creating a third-party account.

At the beginning of fall term, students need to read and acknowledge the university's billing terms and conditions, which will provide an update on the billing process and procedures. When students log in to MyUNIVerse, they'll notice an alert via the Student Center tab reminding them to complete this step.

Students who want to take advantage of UNI's tuition payment plans need to complete an online payment plan agreement, which will be available on MyUNIverse via the Student Center tab beginning July 1. UNI will no longer automatically enroll students in payment plans. The university will provide a three- and five-month payment plan, as well as extended plans offered through an outside vendor.

Other U-bill changes include more frequent application of financial aid, increased frequency of refunds and changes in the assessment of late fees. Complete details about these changes and other student account policies can be viewed at http://www.vpaf.uni.edu/obo/student_accounts/ beginning June 1. If you have questions, please contact the Office of Business Operations at 319-273-2164 or student.accounts@uni.edu.

Family Weekend date change
Please note that the date has been changed for Family Weekend.  The new dates are Sept. 23-25.  Details on activities will become available this summer.

UNI awarded STARS Gold rating for sustainability efforts
UNI has received a rank of "gold" by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) for its environmental focus through the use of the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Ratings System, or STARS.

STARS is the most comprehensive, transparent, and meaningful framework for colleges and universities to gauge relative progress toward sustainability.  It's designed to provide a framework for understanding sustainability in all sectors of higher education.   STARS offers bronze, silver, gold and platinum ratings.  No institutions have received a rating higher than gold at this time. 

Concert Chorale to perform at Carnegie Hall
The School of Music's Concert Chorale has been invited to perform Festival Te Deum by renowned composer Dr. David Childs. The chorale will present the world premier of Childs' work on Sunday, March 20, in the Isaac Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall in New York City. The chorale will return to the stage later in the concert to perform a 20-minute set of its own repertoire. While in the Big Apple, students will have the opportunity to tour the city, attend a Broadway performance and perform for area high school students.

Best-selling author to lecture at UNI
Dan Buettner, New York Times best-selling author of "Thrive" and "Blue Zones," will speak at 7 p.m., Thursday, April 7, in the Commons Ballroom. Buettner, who has been featured on "Oprah," "The Today Show," "Good morning America" and NPR, will lecture on "The Blue Zones: the Secrets to Vitality."

Panther Pick up
As the end of the semester approaches, students start to think about moving out and moving home. Rather than pitching stuff, students are encouraged to contribute usable items - including running shoes, mattresses, carpets and books - to charitable organizations. In addition, students can recycle futon frames and other metals. Panther Pickup is a project that finds a new life for old stuff.  Visit the Panther Pickup website (http://www.vpaf.uni.edu/energy/energy_sub/pantherpickup.shtml) to find details of what items can be recycled and see the collection timetable.

2010 graduate report now available
UNI Career Services has posted the annual graduate report that includes salary data, post-graduation information by major and top employers at http://www.uni.edu/careerservices/gradreport/docs/2009-2010.pdf.

UNI Fact Book Available

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OPPORTUNITIES

Funding available for study abroad
Up to $250 is available to students majoring in College of Natural Sciences programs and College of Humanities and Fine Arts programs who want to study abroad. CNS students can apply at www.cns.uni.edu/StudyAbroadFunding.doc; CHFA students can apply at http://www.uni.edu/chfa/students/study-abroad-funding.html. This award is not affiliated with the study abroad program. Applications must be submitted by Thursday, March 31, for summer programs; Saturday, April 30, for fall or academic-year programs; and Wednesday, Nov. 30, for spring programs.

Volunteer Tuesdays
On Volunteer Tuesdays, students give back to the community in a variety of ways, such as working at the Northeast Iowa Food Bank, visiting seniors at a retirement home or making blankets. Registration is now open at http://www.uni.edu/maucker/leadership/ for the following dates and activities: March 22: Cedar Falls Lutheran Home; March 29: Aspire; April 5: Family and Children's Council; April 12: Northeast Iowa Food Bank; April 19: Cedar Valley Arboretum. For more information, contact Steffoni Smith at steffers@uni.edu.

EVENTS

2011 Dates to Remember

View a complete list of UNI events.

March 12: Spring break begins
March 21: Classes resume
May 2-6: Finals week
May 6-7: Commencement, McLeod Center
Aug. 22: Fall semester classes begin
Sept. 23-25: Family Weekend *NOTE NEW DATE
Oct. 8: Homecoming
Nov. 21-27: Thanksgiving break

RESOURCES FOR STUDENTS

Students can file income taxes fast, free, online 
Electronic filing of income tax returns (eFile) is fast, easy and environmentally friendly. eFile is free for most students, including active military, those age 25 or younger and anyone who earns less than $30,000 per year. For more information, visit http://www.iowa.gov/tax/

Free tax help available
UNI accounting students are offering free income-tax assistance on Mondays and Wednesdays from 5 to 7 p.m. in 223 CBB. Assistance is offered through Wednesday, April 13, and no appointment is necessary. Filers are encouraged to arrive by 5:30 p.m. to allow sufficient time for the accounting students to complete the returns. For more information, call the UNI Department of Accounting at 273-2394.

Options to help lower college expenses
The Office of Student Financial Aid offers the following suggestions to help you and your student pay for college:   

  1. Complete the 2011-2012 FAFSA
Use the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to apply for federal, state and institutional aid. Students can apply at www.fafsa.gov using UNI's school code 001890. If you or your student needs help completing the FAFSA, or if you want to schedule an appointment, contact the Office of Student Financial Aid at 319-273-2700.
  2.  Review the award notification 
Award notifications for the 2011-2012 academic year should be available in early April for families that have already submitted a FAFSA to UNI. Both current and new students will receive an e-mail when their award is available for viewing in MyUNIverse. New students will also receive a postcard when their award is available for viewing.
  3. Report off-campus scholarships 
If your student receives scholarships from outside sources (e.g., community organizations, high schools, churches, employers), these sources must be reported to the Office of Student Financial Aid. Scholarship checks can be sent to UNI and will be credited to the student's university account. For more information, call 319-273-2700 or e-mail fin-aid@uni.edu.

New mentoring website launched
The Provost's Committee for Competitive Scholarship Mentoring helps prepare and support students pursuing national scholarships and fellowships. Students are mentored as they prepare, apply and interview for awards. Visit /competitive-scholarships/ to familiarize yourself with the resources offered by UNI. If you have questions, contact Jessica Moon, committee chair, at jessica.moon@uni.edu.

Overcoming test anxiety and procrastination
Test anxiety and procrastination often occur hand in hand. Students can receive practical suggestions on decreasing test anxiety and stopping procrastination from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., Thursday, March 24. The how-to session will be held at the UNI Counseling Center on the second floor of the Health Center. Call 273-2676 to reserve a seat.

UNI PARENTS ASSOCIATION

Did You Know You're a Member of UNIPA? 
As a parent or guardian of a UNI student, you're automatically a member of the UNI Parents Association (UNIPA), a university advocacy group that represents students and their parents. UNIPA also functions in an advisory role to UNI administrators, faculty and staff on matters that relate to the academic and social experiences of UNI students. Learn more by contacting UNIPA liaison Jon Buse at 319-273-2332 or jon.buse@uni.edu.

UNI PARENTS ASSOCIATION

UNI Parents Association 

118 Gilchrist

University of Northern Iowa 

Cedar Falls, IA 50614 

(319) 273-2332