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August 2016


Creating an Inclusive and Welcoming Campus Climate

LeeAnn Melin, Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Student Initiatives, OUE

Over the summer, we experienced tragic events across the country in Orlando, Louisiana, Texas and our own campus backyard. As fall semester begins, these events may be weighing heavy on the hearts and minds of students, some more than others. As advisors, the individual relationships you create with students are an opportunity to support them and demonstrate the caring community in which they belong. Although the listening places and spaces created in response to these events have passed, the work of creating an inclusive campus environment requires daily effort. Your interactions with students (and colleagues) make a difference.

Look for opportunities this coming year to engage in equity and diversity conversations with other advisors through AAN and central advising training initiatives. Please encourage students to reach out to the Student Counseling Services for additional support. The Campus Climate website provides up-to-date information about initiatives, resources and news of our collective future work to improve the campus climate and grapple with questions of equality and justice.

Orientation Update and Thank You

Lisa Gruszka, Associate Director, OFYP

New Student Orientation has gone great this summer! Thus far, Orientation & First-Year Programs (OFYP) has checked-in 5,251 new freshman, 1,287 new transfer, and 5,725 of their parents. Coming up in August, we have 3 first-year orientation dates where we expect to see 641 students (of which, 322 are international) and 7 transfer dates with 992 students. By the end of summer we expect to see our highest number of students and parents/guests in orientation history, serving over 14,000 people through orientation! Thank you for all you've done this summer to support new students.

The Freshman Orientation Evaluations have been very positive with 85% of students reporting having a positive orientation experience, and 94% felt they left orientation understanding what was expected from them academically. Nearly 90% of transfer students reported the amount of time they had with their academic advisor was just right and they understood how their previous coursework transferred to the U of M.

We look forward to ending our orientation season as strong as we started. We know the success of these programs could not happen without the more than 50 departments and countless advisors that devote time each day to support our programs and support student transitions. Thank you to each of you for your work!

Join ISSS in Welcoming International Students!

Alynda Her, Immigration Check In Coordinator, ISSS

International Student and Scholar Services welcomed approximately 1,900 new international undergraduate, graduate, professional, and non-degree students to campus last fall. We are expecting around the same number of international undergraduates to attend this fall. Out of this total, 699 of these students were undergraduate students. This update will outline the services ISSS provides to incoming international undergraduates.

All newly admitted international students will have an AI "Determine Visa Status" registration hold. To temporarily lift this hold for fall registration, new undergraduate students will need to complete the following requirements:

  1. Complete the online International Student Preparation Course (IPREP), previously called the Global Gopher Online Orientation. This tool helps new international students prepare for their arrival at the University by learning about expectations and requirements. Completion of IPREP is required prior to participation in the mandatory Immigration Check-in.
  2. Attend Immigration Check-in during their New Student Orientation. ISSS staff will review student immigration documents for accuracy and verify arrival in SEVIS (federal government database).

The AI hold will not be permanently removed and will still show up on a student's MyU account after Immigration Check-in. To permanently remove this hold, students will need to attend NISS, a mandatory half-­day program for Freshmen and Transfer Students held in mid­‐October.

ISSS is also excited to host Global Gopher Events, a series of events which aim to welcome students and prepare them for life at the University of Minnesota. Please see our website for more information.

Welcome Programs Are Around the Corner…

Jenny Porter, Associate Director, OFYP

Orientation & First-Year Programs hosts welcome programs for new students to ensure a seamless transition to the U and begin to develop their sense of belonging. Students select events to create a schedule that best meets their individual needs. By engaging in these programs prior to the start of the semester, students will be ready to focus on coursework as they start their U of M career.

Welcome Week (August 31-September 5, for new first-year, first-time students)

New students engage in a variety of campus traditions, academic programs, and social events during Welcome Week. Students will have an opportunity to take the Class of 2020 M photo during Pride & Spirit, receive a Class of 2020 tassel at Convocation, meet classmates during College Day Activities, learn to ride the Campus Connector, and explore the Twin Cities using Metro Transit.

New Student Convocation is the official University welcome to the Class of 2020.

It is a celebration of University tradition and the spirit of academic excellence and community. President Kaler and Provost Hanson will address the class, and students will also hear from a recent alum and a faculty member.

To experience the tradition, view Convocation online at at 9:45 a.m. on Thursday, September 1. Transfer Welcome Days (September 1-4, for new transfer students)

Transfer Welcome Days are the official welcome event for new transfer students.

Students mingle with new transfer students, participate in workshops, attend the opening football game, hear from current transfer students, meet professional staff, learn about campus resources and student groups, as well as get answers to last-minute questions.

Registration is now open for Transfer Welcome Days. Please encourage students at Orientation to sign up for this great opportunity!

Download the U Minnesota app and Class of 2020 and New Transfer Student guides for details related to these programs.

Enrollment and Financial Aid eligibility

Tina Falkner, Director, Office of Student Finance

It will come as no surprise to academic advisors that enrollment matters. It matters for degree progress, matters for loan deferment, and it really matters for maintaining eligibility for many types of financial aid. Enrollment requirements vary by financial aid program (e.g., Minnesota State Grant, Pell, Direct loans, etc.).

Prior to the first disbursement of financial aid, which typically occurs 10 days prior to the start of the term, student enrollment is reviewed and aid is adjusted accordingly. Student enrollment is reviewed and aid is adjusted again at the end of the cancel/add period. At this time, additional aid may be paid if classes were added or aid may be reduced if classes were dropped. If aid is reduced, a student's account will be billed for any aid that a student is no longer eligible for.

Please direct students to One Stop for guidance if they are considering making changes to their enrollment after the drop/add period.

Minnesota State Grant and the federal Pell Grant program have unique enrollment requirements which are important to understand. They are described below.

The MN State Grant

The Minnesota State Grant award listed on a student's Financial Aid Award Notice is the maximum amount that the student may receive each term based on 15 credits of enrollment. If a student registers for fewer than 15 credits, the award will be reduced or pro-rated based on actual enrollment. Students may still receive Minnesota State Grant if they have at least 3 credits. A student will typically lose $394 per credit.

An example based on one semester for a student with 12 or more credits:

  • 15 credits = $2,989
  • 14 credits = $2,575
  • 13 credits = $2,188
  • 12 credits = $1,794

State grant awards will be adjusted to a student's actual enrollment before it is disbursed to the student's account. At the end of the second week of each term, a student's credit level will be reviewed. If it has changed, the state grant for the term will change.

If a student withdraws from a class or classes after the cancel/add period, the state grant award will be reviewed and adjusted according to the Office of Student Finance's refund policy. Typically, if a student will receive a refund after withdrawing from a class, the state grant award is reduced by the amount of the refund. The student will most likely NOT receive the refund.

Students are eligible to receive the Minnesota State Grant award the equivalent of 8 semesters of full-time attendance at any post-secondary institution.

The Federal Pell Grant

The Pell amount listed on the original financial aid offer is based on the assumption of full-time enrollment for the school year. The Pell grant will be adjusted to the following enrollment levels:

  • Full time: 12+ credits
  • ¾ time: 9 – 11 credits
  • Half time: 6 – 8 credits
  • Less than half time: 1 – 5 credits

An example based on one semester:

  • 12 credits = $2,833
  • 9-11 credits = $2,125
  • 6-8 credits = $1,417
  • 1-5 credits = $721

Enrollment will be reviewed for the final time each term at the end of the cancel/add period. At this time, the Pell grant is final and cannot change for the term, even if a student adds credits throughout the term.

Pell Grant eligibility totals 12 semesters or roughly the equivalent of 6 full time years of attendance at any post-secondary institution.

Loan Programs

Students must be enrolled for at least 6 credits to be eligible for Ford Federal Direct student loans.

Federal Perkins Loans and University Trust Fund Loans require a minimum of 12 credits for disbursement.

Gift aid

Most grant and scholarship programs, including U Promise, require full-time (12 credits) enrollment.

Advising Toolkit Update

Katie Russell, Office of Undergraduate Education

The Advising Toolkit has been updated recently to include video recordings of the Advisor Orientation Training presentations from June 2016.

Resources are added to the Advising Toolkit on an ongoing basis. Please email if there is a resource you would like to see added to the toolkit.

Welcome New Advisors!

Help us welcome future new advisors across campus by submitting their information. New advisors will be mentioned in a future Advising Update and invited to join the new advisors group.

Fill out the New Advisor form >>

Claire Drevis

Claire Drevs

College of Biological Sciences,

Claire recently graduated with her master's from Marquette University, where she held assistantships in academic advising and experiences in orientation and career services.


Financial Support Available

Ned McCully

College of Biological Sciences,

Ned recently graduated from the University of Minnesota's CSPP program, holding an assistantship with SASS and also working with the McNamara Student Center.

Financial Support Available

Aayla Anderson

International Student and Scholar Services,

Aayla recently served as Counseling Practicum Student in International Student and Scholar Services while completing the University of Minnesota's CSPP program.

Financial Support Available

Robert Day

McNamara Academic Center,

Robert returns to the University after serving as Football Academic Advisor at Kent State. Previously, he worked as the U of M's Football Academic Intern.

Financial Support Available

Sandy Schinetsky

McNamara Academic Center,

Sandy joins the University after serving as Tutor Coordinator in the University of Michigan's Academic Success Program for Student-Athletes.

Financial Support Available

Kaelyn Friese

University Honors Program,

Kaelyn previously served as the Student Relations Director at St. Cloud State University.

Mark Your Calendars! Campus Events that Promote Student Engagement

Student engagement is a great way to enhance student sense of belonging and overall learning and development. Mark your calendar for the following events for students exploring engagement opportunities.