Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some frequently asked questions. If you don't find the answer you need, please call our office at (413) 577-4444 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Health, Safety, and Well-Being
Mail and Packages
The university is made up of nine schools and colleges and undergraduates are able to select from more than 80 different majors. In order to graduate from the university all students need to declare a major, maintain minimum GPA of 2.0, complete at least 120 credits, and satisfy the university's General Education requirements. Students select courses for the fall semester starting in April and courses for the spring starting in November. Instructors, Departmental/Faculty Advisors, Advising Deans, Academic Deans, the Registrar's Office, and the Learning Resource Center are among just some of the resources for students to call on with their academic questions. As parents we know you have many academic concerns as well. Below are some of the most frequently asked academic questions from UMass parents:
- How does my student know who his or her advisor is?
- My student is having some trouble in a class, how can he or she find a tutor?
- Will I receive grades or progress reports for my student?
- How can I receive proof of my student's full-time status?
Undeclared students can meet with an advisor through Undergraduate Advising. To make an appointment with an advisor call (413) 545-2191.
Declared students should contact their academic department as each handles advising slightly differently. For more information, see Academic Advising.
Learning Resource Center (LRC) on the 10th floor of the W.E.B. DuBois Library offers free tutoring to all university students in a wide variety of subjects. Visit the LRC website to check the tutoring schedule and learn more about their other resources.
Due to the Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act (FERPA), grades are released only to the student. FERPA also restricts the release of financial information. The university does not issue progress reports prior to the release of semester grades. It is each student's responsibility to keep track of their own progress by following the grading criteria set forth in each course's syllabus, which is issued during the first class meeting. More information about FERPA can be found in the Code of Student Conduct.
Proof of student enrollment may be obtained by contacting the Registrar's office at 413-545-0555.
University billing information and costs of attendance are available through the Office of the Bursar. For assistance financing your student's education Financial Aid Services is a great starting point. Here are some of the most frequently asked financial questions:
- What is FERPA?
- When are bills posted and when are they due?
- How do I make a deposit to my student's UCard Debit Account?
- How do I submit scholarship information to Financial Aid?
FERPA stands for the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, a federal law also known as the Buckley Amendment. FERPA allows present or former students at educational institutions access to educational records kept on them, as well as basic protections of privacy of their records. The law applies to educational records, which are defined as those records that are directly related to a student and maintained by an educational agency or institution. A copy of FERPA can be found in the Code of Student Conduct.
Billing notifications are emailed in July for the fall semester and in December for the spring semester. The university no longer sends paper invoices so we recommend that your student sets you up as an authorized payer in QuikPAY. Students should go to the Finances section of their Student Service Center in SPIRE and click on View/Pay Bill. Your student will enter your name and email address, then assign you a log on and a temporary password. QuikPAY will send you an email with a link in the text which will bring you to the QuikPAY site; you will enter the temporary password and select one of your choice. In this site you can view current and previous invoices as well as make payments online. There is no charge for an e-check, but fees do apply if you use a credit card.
Parents can make a deposit to a UCard Debit Account online with a credit/debit card or by mailing a check to the UCard Office. For more information visit the How to Make a Deposit section of the UCard Web site.
If you receive educational financial awards - including scholarships, grants, waivers, or educational loans - through sources other than the Financial Aid Office, you must report them. If after receiving a UMass Amherst financial aid award letter you are granted one or more additional awards, Financial Aid Services may be required to adjust your need-based aid. In most cases the additional aid will be applied towards your remaining need before your loans, work-study, grant, or scholarship aid will be reduced. You can report outside financial aid awards by filling out the form on the reverse side of your award letter and returning it to Financial Aid Services.
The staff in University Health Services, the Center for Counseling and Psychological Health, Disability Services, and the UMass Amherst Police Department work tirelessly to keep our students, staff, and faculty safe and well. In this section you'll find the answers to commonly asked questions about health and safety:
- What if my student gets sick while on campus?
- If my student is sick, how will she get meals?
- My student is feeling anxious/depressed/overwhelmed. Where can he get support?
- What is HIPAA?
- What services are in place for students with learning, physical, and psychological disabilities?
- Is there a public safety department at UMass?
- Are there help phones available?
- What if my student doesn't want to walk across campus alone?
- What notification systems are in place in the event of an emergency?
University Health Services (UHS) is open convenient hours to serve your student with 24/7 telephone triage services available. For current clinic hours, see www.umass.edu/uhs. The Triage Advice Nurse can be reached at 413.577.5229 and will help students who aren't feeling well determine whether they should care for themselves, make an appointment to be seen at UHS, go to the UHS walk-in clinic, or go to the hospital. Students who need to miss class should refer to the attendance policies for their courses and notify their instructors as soon as possible.
If your student is sick during the semester, Dining Services can provide a sick tray with chicken soup, gelatin, ginger ale, etc. Students should call the dining commons manager closest to their hall and tell the manager they need a sick tray. A friend will need to take the student's UCard to the dining commons and pick up the tray. A meal will be deducted from your student's meal plan.
The Center for Counseling and Psychological Health provides short-term counseling, crisis intervention and stabilization, behavioral medicine, support and therapy groups, medication management and an eating disorders clinic. Students can call 413.545.2337 from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m Monday-Friday for a telephone triage appointment. Emergency services are available after hours by calling 413.577.5000.
HIPAA stands for the Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act of 1996. HIPAA is also known as the Kennedy-Kassebaum Act. It calls for:
1. Standardization of electronic patient health, administrative and financial data;
2. Unique identifiers for individuals, employers, health plans and health care providers;
3. Security standards protecting the confidentiality and integrity of health information.
More information on patient rights, responsibilities and privacy is available here:
Disability Services provides direct services to people with all types of disabilities. They provide information and referral on issues of accessibility, as well as training and staff development to the university community. Some of the services they provide are Access Assistants, Alternate Formats for Printed Course Materials, Alternate Types of Exams , Assistive Technology, Captioning Services, Extended Time on Exams, Modification of Graduation Requirements, Note-Taking Services, Paratransit Services, Readers/Recorded Books, Reduced Course Load, Sign Language Interpreters and Oral Transliterators, and Tape Recorders. To learn more about these and other services provided, visit their website.
The UMass Amherst Police Department takes a community policing approach to public safety. The department operates 24 hours per day providing patrol, investigation, specialized and emergency response, as well as crime prevention and educational services. Officers are also a familiar presence in the residence halls, working closely with staff and security to maintain a safe environment.
There are approximately 110 HELP phones located at the entrance to all residence halls and throughout the campus. The phones are yellow with blue lights for maximum visibility, and anyone can call for help at the touch of a button. In case of an emergency your student can go to the nearest HELP phone, press the red HELP button, and a police officer will be sent to that location immediately. The HELP phones can also be used to report suspicious activity, unusual behavior, or hazardous situations to the police. In addition, you may use the HELP phones for routine police business (545-2121) and to make local calls.
There is a free walking escort service during the academic year for all members of the UMass Amherst community and campus visitors. Walking teams of students with mobile radios are available for safe escort across campus every night from 7:00 p.m. - 3:00 a.m. To access this escort service, your student can call 413-545-2123.
UMass Amherst Alerts are a combination of notifications including emergency text messages, outdoor sirens, emails, the UMass homepage, the emergency closing phone line, and local media outlines. These alert systems are used to make the campus community aware of any emergencies or conditions that pose an immediate or imminent threat.
Even if your student prefers to communicate with friends through text messages and social networking sites, real mail from home is always a welcome surprise! Here are most frequently asked questions about how to get letters, goodies, and forgotten items into their hands:
- I would like to mail something to my student in the residence halls, how do I address it?
- How are packages delivered to students who live on campus?
- I would like to send a gift package to my student, how would I go about doing that?
Mail should be addressed to your student as follows:
Name of Residence Hall, UMass Amherst
Residence Hall Street Address, Room #
Amherst, MA 01003 - (4-digit extended ZIP)
An alphabetical listing of residence halls and addresses can be found here.
Details on package delivery are available on the Residential Life website.
University Dining Services has a variety of gift package options. More information on their Gifts From Home, including an online order form is available here.
There are many opportunities for you to contribute to the university community and support your student at the same time. Here are the answers to the most frequently asked questions from parents concerning their involvement with UMass:
- I'm the parent of a new student, is there anything for parents to do during my student's orientation session?
- What can I do to be a university advocate?
- I would like to make a donation to the University of Massachusetts Amherst, how can I go about doing that?
I'm the parent of a new student, is there anything for parents to do during my student's orientation session?
New Students Orientation offers a Parent and Family Program that runs concurrently with the new student orientation sessions. More information can be found here.
The UMass Amherst Advocacy page shares information to help you stay informed about current issues, connect you with your legislators, and learn about opportunities to advocate for UMass.
I would like to make a donation to the University of Massachusetts Amherst, how can I go about doing that?
Please contact the Office of Development at 866-450-UMASS, they are happy to speak with you! The Parents Fund website also has valuable information about giving to the university.