Office of Student Affairs and Campus Life

August 10, 2016

Greetings from the Office of Parent Services!
The 2016–2017 academic year is around the corner, and we can’t wait for your student to arrive on campus! This email contains Move-In reservation information as well as To Dos for new and returning students. With you and your family well prepared, we hope you can relax and enjoy the remaining days of summer!

Before your student arrives this fall…

Enrollment verification
Students and families who need verification of full-time enrollment at UMass Amherst for insurance coverage, financial aid, or other purposes can request it through SPIRE's Student Center. Using the 'Other Academic' drop-down menu, your student should select 'Enrollment Verification,' and follow the instructions. For questions, contact the Office of the University Registrar, (413) 545-0555.

Fall semester bills
Fall semester bills are due August 19. All financial information is posted on SPIRE and bills can be viewed and paid online through QuikPAY. Paper invoices will not be mailed. Visit the Bursar's Office website for more information.

Living at UMass app
Download the "Living at UMass" app for iPhone and Android before move-in. There will not be printed maps available this year, but all of the maps you need are found in the app. It's packed with important information, including reservation instructions, a detailed parent/caregiver checklist, and weather and traffic updates. Search "Living at UMass" in the Apple App Store or Google Play.

Move-In: reservations, boarding passes, and other information
Beginning on August 15, every student with an on-campus housing assignment must complete a move-in reservation and print their boarding pass for Fall 2016 Move-In. Residential Life's Move-In web page has the information you and your student need, including the reservation schedule, video tutorials, guides and checklists, and driving directions.

Luggage Program for International and Out-of-State Students
International and Out-of-State students are able to mail belongings to campus before arriving to campus. For more information, please go to the Residential Life Luggage Program page.

Student health insurance
Students taking five or more credits in a semester are automatically enrolled in the Student Health Benefit Plan (SHBP) and charged on the semester's tuition bill. Students may be eligible to waive the plan; the deadline to do so is September 19. SHBP information, waiver eligibility guidelines, and instructions are on the University Health Services website; a link to the online waiver process is also posted on SPIRE.

Student employment
The Student Employment Office (SEO) website is a great place for undergrads to find part-time and seasonal job opportunities. Students beginning their first job at UMass Amherst must complete several forms and provide specific types of identification before starting work. Students with questions should contact SEO.

UMass Amherst alerts and emergency contacts
Check with your student to ensure they've enrolled in UMass Amherst Alerts, the campus emergency text messaging system. Subscribers receive immediate updates on ongoing emergencies and campus closures, with instructions on staying safe. It’s quick and easy to sign up: from the SPIRE menu, choose UMass Amherst Alerts > Cell Phone Info.

Also encourage your student to supply emergency contact information. On SPIRE, go to Main Menu> My Personal Information> Emergency Contacts. Students should check their UMass Amherst Alerts and emergency contact information once a semester to make sure it's up-to-date.

For families of new students…

New Student Immunization Program (NSIP)
College students must have certain immunizations, and submit documentation to the university, before coming to school. Learn what's required at the University Health Services website. Students who've completed necessary immunizations should log into the UHS patient portal to enter their information before the end of the add/drop period, Monday, September 19.

All first-year students, including transfers, must take and pass MyStudentBody, before arriving to campus, to meet the federal Drug-Free Schools and Community Act mandate. The required online course includes separate modules covering alcohol use and illicit and prescription drug use. Students received an email shortly after their Summer Orientation date with instructions on logging into Moodle and completing the course. Information is also posted on the course website.

Did you know that summer is the perfect time to talk with your student about underage drinking? Studies show that the average first use of alcohol by young people in the United States peaks in June and July. This website gives you tips and information on how to start a conversation.

YIS: Your Intervention Strategies
All new students must also complete YIS: Your Intervention Strategies - Preventing Sexual Assault, Relationship Violence and Stalking before arriving to campus, in order to meet federal mandates of the Campus Sexual Violence (SaVE) Act. YIS is also accessible through Moodle. To complete the modules, all new students, including transfers, need to log into Moodle using their NetID and password, select Summer NSO Follow Up Course, and click on the Action Items section. For questions and technical or other difficulties accessing and/or completing YIS, contact New Students Orientation at or 413-545-2621.

Transcripts and test scores
All first-year students must send an official final high school transcript to Undergraduate Admissions by the beginning of the semester, if they haven't already. Those who do not will have a hold placed on their record, preventing them from registering for spring courses. Transfer students and any other new students who took college courses elsewhere must send official, final transcript(s) if they were enrolled in courses in the spring or summer.

Students may earn advanced standing and/or credit based on their AP or SAT II scores. Official score reports must be sent to UMass Amherst’s admissions office to receive credit. Students may have already requested this when they took the test; if not, they should go to the College Board website to make arrangements. Undergraduate Admission is located at 37 Mather Drive, Amherst, MA 01003.

Amazon@UMass Amherst
As many of you know, Amazon@UMass Amherst is our official online bookstore. Depending on the course, students can purchase or rent textbooks online and take advantage of free one day-shipping, or free one-day pickup at the Amazon@UMass Amherst location in the Campus Center. Here's what students need to know before ordering:

  • Students can activate their free Amazon@UMass benefits on the Amazon site.
  • Amazon does not accept the UCard debit account as payment. Do not deposit funds to your student’s UCard account for book purchases; use a debit card, credit card, or another form of payment accepted by Amazon. You’ll find more information on the UCard website.
  • Students living on campus should order textbooks after moving in; they won't be able to ship to residence halls or the mailroom until then.
  • Although is the university's official online bookstore, some instructors may require students to buy custom course packets, which may not be available on Amazon@UMass Amherst. In that case, the instructor will provide specific instructions via SPIRE on where to purchase and pick up materials.
  • Required course materials are listed on SPIRE. Students should log into their SPIRE account to view their class schedule and requirements.

University Helpline
The University Helpline provides students with answers to a range of basic questions, including billing, financial aid, student health insurance, class registration, meal plans, parking, and more. Helpline staff can only provide student-specific information directly to the student, unless they've designated an authorized payer and/or completed a FERPA privacy waiver. Learn more about authorized payer on the Office of the Bursar website. To reach the Helpline, call (413) 545-6900, Monday – Friday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., until September 2. You can also follow them on Facebook for useful tips, important dates, and more.

2016-2017 Hall Opening and Closing Information
With the expansion of Thanksgiving Break to a full week, we would like to remind all parents and caregivers of Residence Hall opening and closing times for the 2016-2017 academic year. Please use the following dates when planning travel arrangements for your students.

  • Thanksgiving Break: Halls close on Saturday, November 19 at 10:00 a.m., halls reopen on Sunday, November 27 at 10:00 a.m.
  • Winter Session Break: Halls close on Thursday, December 22 at 6:00 p.m., halls reopen on Sunday, January 22, at 10:00 a.m.
  • Spring Break: Halls close on Saturday, March 11 at 10:00 a.m., halls reopen on Sunday, March 19 at 10:00 a.m.
  • May Closing: Halls close on Thursday, May 11 at 8:00 p.m.

Important dates

  • August 15: Move-in reservation begins
  • August 19: Fall bills due
  • September 2: First-year Move-In, 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
  • September 3: Transfer Move-in, 8:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
  • September 3-5: Fall NSO for new and transfer students
  • September 4: Returning student Move-In, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • September 6: First day of classes
  • September 19: Last day to add/drop classes, waive the Student Health Benefit Plan, and submit immunization records

Links to UMass Amherst Websites
Welcome Weeks
University Health Services Patient Portal
Residential Life Student Services Calendar
Student Employment Office
University Health Services

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact the Office of Parent Services, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. We're more than happy to assist you.

In case of a campus emergency, always follow the university's main web page at The website will display a distinctly colored stripe at the top containing pertinent status updates and information related to ongoing emergencies.

Jeanne Horrigan, Director
Office of Parent Services

Treating Our Parents as Partners

Knowlton Hall
691 North Pleasant Street OFC
University of Massachusetts Amherst
Amherst, Massachusetts 01003-9399

Phone: 413-577-4444 • Fax: 413-545-9631
Office of Parent Services Website
UMass Amherst Parents on Facebook