UMass Amherst Parent Checklist
o FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)
Be sure to complete the FAFSA forms through their website, www.fafsa.gov, for the academic year. This is required to receive any financial aid awards including the John and Abigail Adams tuition waiver. The FAFSA must be completed each year.
o New Parents FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act)
FERPA is a federal law protecting the confidentiality of student’s records. In order to obtain information about your student’s bill, financial aid, and housing, you must be given permission from your student. The FERPA waiver can be filled out by your student through SPIRE to designate up to 4 people who can discuss their information with the university offices.
o New Parents Authorized Payer
Your student can sign you up to be an authorized payer, giving you access to their bills, payments, and UPay account. This can be done through QuikPAY under the ‘Authorized Payers’ tab on the left hand side.
o UPay Payment Plan
This interest free payment plan gives you the option to pay your bill on a monthly basis. There is a $55 enrollment fee and the deadline to sign up is the first day of classes.
o New Parents Excess Express
If your student has a positive balance on his or her bill, the balance can be direct deposited into the bank account of his or her choice through Excess Express. Talk with your student about how to handle possible excess and sign up in SPIRE.
o Make Adjustments to Your Bill—Waivers and Meal Plans
There are some waivable fees that appear on each bill. Talk with your student about whether or not you will waive the MassPIRG and Child Care fees.
Your student may also want to adjust his or her meal plan, which will change the charges on the bill. View Meal Plan options here www.umassdining.com/meal-plans/residential-meal-plans/ and have your student make any adjustments in SPIRE.
o Health Insurance Waiver
If your student is covered under your health insurance plan, they may be able to waive the fees for the university insurance. This waiver is located in the lower right hand corner of the SPIRE login page at www.spire.umass.edu.
o New Parents Immunizations
All entering students need to submit proof of immunizations. Details are available online at www.umass.edu/uhs/immunizations. Forms must be submitted by the end of the add/drop period or a hold will be placed on your student’s SPIRE account preventing course registration for the next semester.
o New Parents Consent to Treat Minor Patients
If your student will enroll at UMass Amherst before his or her 18th birthday, you will need to file a Consent to Treat Minor Patients form with University Health Services. The form is available here: www.umass.edu/uhs/accesstocare/forms/
o New Parents My Student Body and Student Health 101
All students entering at the freshman level need to complete the My Student Body online alcohol education course. Remind your student to take the course before they move to campus and get too busy! For more visit www.umass.edu/uhs/cadap/msb/
Students can learn more about college health issues through an online magazine called Student Health 101. Both My Student Body and Student Health 101 have companion sites for parents who want to learn more! http://readsh101.com/go2umass-pp.html
o New Parents Emergency Notification System
Students can enroll themselves in UMass Amherst Alerts on SPIRE to receive emergency text messages. Details on how to sign up are available here www.umass.edu/alerts/textmessaging.php The text messaging service is only available to students, faculty, and staff to allow for timely distribution in an emergency.
Parents will be alerted of any on-going emergency situations through the Office of Parent Services email list. To enroll in the parent email list visit www.umass.edu/parents/enroll/
o Residential Life—Planning for Move-In
Students living on-campus need to plan carefully for move-in. Students can find important information such as video tutorials for how to pack for move-in; how to make a reservation; and information on the Luggage program for out-of-state families on the Residential Life website.
o Technology at UMass Amherst
While the university does not require students to bring a computer to campus, most students do. To help your student make sure their computer meets our minimum standards, visit www.oit.umass.edu/general/parents-guide-technology-umass-amherst
Staying In Touch
o Communication and Break Plans
Communication has become instant and while text messages and emails are quick and convenient it’s also important to have regular telephone calls or video chats where you can really hear how your student is doing. Before you send your student off to UMass be sure to have a conversation about how often you want to hear from each other.
It’s also important to know that the residence halls close for several breaks during the year: Thanksgiving, Winter, and Spring Break closing information is posted online www.housing.umass.edu/assign/hallopenclose.html Make sure you touch base with your student about his/her plans for the various breaks to minimize surprise expenses for plane and bus tickets!
o New Parents Enroll with the Office of Parent Services
If you didn’t attend Parents Orientation, be sure to sign up with the Office of Parent Services to receive regular emails about important dates, campus happenings, and talking points to share with your student. Sign up here.