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Uconnect Parents and Family Association Newsletter - February 2014

 Uconnect

U and the President

Richard GieseIt’s hard to believe that, in only a few months, we will be bidding farewell and best wishes to the Class of 2014. We will watch as these exceptional students cross the stage at Commencement and firmly grasp the degree that they worked so very hard to earn. As we continue to prepare our students for success upon graduation, it’s good to know that we have an outstanding record of producing alumni who are making an impact in the world. I would like to take this opportunity to share just a few examples with you.

  • Marcus Smith ’88, a top performing equity portfolio manager for MFS Investment Management, was recently featured in CNN’s Money Magazine Investor’s Guide for his success with outperforming foreign stock benchmarks over the past 10 years.
  • Zak Suhar ’13, one of our most recent graduates, landed a fantastic job right out of college, working for Google as an associate account strategist – small and medium sized businesses sales.
  • Antoinetta “Toni” Gonzalez-Collins ‘07 is putting the extensive hands-on experience she received at Mount Union to good work as a sports commentator for ESPN.

It’s clear to see that these alumni are achieving great heights in their respective fields. Armed with a Mount Union education, they are making their way and experiencing great success. I could share hundreds of success stories, but it reallyboils down to one statistic – 98%. Among members of the 2012 graduating class, 98% of those self reporting started a degree-required career or were accepted to graduate school, all in an average of 20 days after graduation. Mount Union’s history of graduate success is one of the many reasons that that University was ranked #1 in the Great Lakes Region for return on investment by collegefactual.com

It’s never too soon to begin thinking about the future, and I hope you will encourage your student to take full advantage of the many career development opportunities that we offer on campus. At the University of Mount Union, we are committed to preparing our students for success after graduation. Our exceptional alumni are a testament to the type of experience we provide, and they truly illustrate that a Mount Union education is a proven investment.

Sincerely,
Dr. Richard F. Giese
President of the University of Mount Union

U and Students

President Giese to Step Down in 2015
During last weekend’s Board of Trustees retreat, Dr. Richard F. Giese announced that he will step down as president of the University of Mount Union at the close of his current contract on June 30, 2015.

Inclement Weather Policy
WeatherThe University of Mount Union closes only in times of emergency. If weather conditions warrant limiting its activities, a decision will be made by the President or Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the University to not operate classes, offices or both. In the event of severe weather, the decision to totally or partially close the University will be announced to local television and radio stations by 7 a.m. on the day of the closing as well as sent via campus email and text.

Dean’s List
Students who complete at least 12 semester credit hours of graded work and receive a 3.550 grade point average are eligible for the Dean’s list, provided they meet the following criteria:

  • None of the 12 credit hours may be a repeated course or taken as a Pass/Fail or Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory grade.
  • All grades must have been graded at a “B” (3.000) or above.
  • No grade of “U” (unsatisfactory) may have been earned.
  • Grades of “I” (incomplete) or “IP” (in progress) make a student ineligible for the Dean’s List. Once the work is completed, the student may be named to the supplemental Dean’s List for the semester if all other conditions have been met.
  • Grades of “AU” (audit) or “W” (withdrawn” do not disqualify otherwise eligible students.

Once the Dean’s List has been compiled, a member of the academic affairs staff will send an email to all students who have been named to the Dean’s List. The student can also locate that information on Mount Union’s iRaider portal site under the tab “My Academics.” After the Dean’s List has been posted, the Office of Marketing will send announcements to area newspapers based on the student’s zip code. This is not a guarantee that your local paper will print the information, but it is released to them. If your student would prefer that this information not be provided to newspapers, they must stop in the Office of Marketing and complete an opt-out form.

March 22: M Club Reverse Raffle and Silent Auction
All Raider athletic fans are invited to participate in an evening of fun at Skyland Pines in Canton, OH. Tickets are now available - only 175 raffle tickets will be sold. You do not need to be present to win! M Club is now accepting auction donations, and proceeds benefit current Raider athletic programs.

April 4-5, 2014: Save the Date for Little Sibs Weekend!
This is a great time for little siblings, cousins and family friends to visit Alliance with their big “sib!”

During this weekend, the Raider Programming Board, in conjunction with several other campus organizations, provides many fun and exciting activities for sibs and kids of all ages!Throughout the weekend, we’ll have more than 20 activities including a bounce house, build-your-own stuffed animal, coloring contest, movie night, gaming contests and more! Registration and the complete schedule of events will soon be available on the Little Sibs Weekend webpage, so check back soon!

If you have questions or need more information, please feel free to contact Lindsey Laret, assistant director of student involvement and leadership, at (330) 829-2764 or laretlm@mountunion.edu.

We hope to see you in April!

April 12: National Day of Service
ServiceAlumni, family, friends and parents are invited to participate in Mount Union’s National Day of Service by organizing or participating in a project in their geographic area based on what best fits the needs of their community. Contact the Office of Alumni Engagement with project details and check the website throughout the spring for planned projects. Pittsburgh and Cleveland have projects scheduled - are you interested in coordinating a project in your city?

Student Access to Online Networking Program with Alumni
The Office of Alumni Engagement and the Office of Career Development have created a web-based program to connect students with alumni for career mentoring (advice, shadowing, internships and more). Students may search for alumni by name, occupation, job title, company or city and state. Additionally, the program provides students with a resource for successful contacts with alumni now and into the future. We invite you to encourage your student to register for the program Exceptional Connections.

Job FairUpcoming Job and Internship Events

  • NOTED: Thursday, March 27 from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. at the John S. Knight Center in Akron (Teacher’s Job Fair)
  • MyCareerLink: Thursday, April 3 from 2 - 5 p.m. at the University Center in North Canton (For Stark County Colleges)
  • Mock Interviews: Tuesdays during the spring semester from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. at the Office of Career Development in HPCC 113 (Pre-Registration Required)

Commencement Activities
Congratulations to our upcoming 2014 graduating students and their parents. CommencementA packet full of information will be sent in late February to students plus a copy sent to their home address for parents. Details including dates, tickets, reservation forms and more are included. Information is also available online on the University Marshal page.

Student Financial Services
As the 2013-2014 Academic Year comes to a close, the Office of Student Financial Services offers the following reminders.

  • The last day to apply for a Federal Stafford or Federal Parent PLUS loan for the 2013-2014 Academic Year is Friday, May 2.

Get a head start on the 2014-2015 Academic Year (which begins in May). Summer school is considered to be a part of 2014-2015.

  • Interested in financial aid for summer school? Contact our office about the possibilities after you schedule your classes.

FAFSA REMINDERS

  • You can now file the 2014-2015 FAFSA online at www.fafsa.gov. We highly encourage you to first file your taxes, and then use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool embedded in the FAFSA. This tool allows the IRS to transmit your 2013 Federal Tax Return data directly onto your 2014-2015 FAFSA. This reduces the number of errors as well as the amount of documentation our office will request from you.
        • Note: Federal taxes can be processed beginning January 31, which means the IRS Data Retrieval Tool will not be able to pull your tax data until your taxes are processed. If you file your taxes electronically, the tool will be available for use two to three weeks after the date of submission.
        • Not everyone is eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. You will not be able to use the tool if you are self-employed or if you filed ‘married-filing separately’.

FINANCIAL AID AWARDS FOR 2014-2015

  • Our office begins evaluating returning students’ aid awards in mid-April for those who have filed the FAFSA. Financial aid awards will be available online beginning May 2014.
  • Keep in mind returning students do not get a paper aid award mailed to them unless otherwise requested. Your student will get an email notification that their award is ready to be viewed online.
  • Check the ‘Missing Documents’ section of the aid award to see what needs to be turned in to our office.

LOANS FOR 2014-2015

  • Students and parents who choose to borrow loans to help with the educational costs are required to reapply each year. Forms for the Federal Stafford Loan and Federal Parent PLUS Loan will be available on our website by April. Private loan applications can be filed on our website under the PRIVATE LOAN tab.
  • NOTE: Credit decisions for Federal Parent PLUS loans are only good for 90 days, so we recommend waiting to apply until after May 28, 2014.

STUDY ABROAD/INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCES

  • Many of our students are either spending the semester abroad or are participating in an international experience with one of their classes. We are very excited that our students have this opportunity! Keep in mind that our office is a resource to you and we can assist you in finding loan options to help finance these trips.

OFF CAMPUS or COMMUTING (for Juniors and Seniors)

  • In collaboration with the Office of Residence Life, students who wish to live off campus for the upcoming year are required to meet with a financial aid staff member. The purpose is to determine if any of the student’s need-based financial aid will be reduced due to moving off campus. We will use the 2014-2015 FAFSA results to calculate the estimate, so it will be important for you to file early. This will allow us to provide the most accurate information to you so that you can make an informed decision about whether to live on or off campus for the upcoming year.

GRADUATION REMINDERS

  • If your son or daughter borrowed a Stafford loan during their undergraduate education, they will be asked to complete EXIT COUNSELING online at www.studentloans.gov. We will send email reminders to them 1 month prior to graduation.
  • www.nslds.ed.gov is a great place to track all federal loans. Your son or daughter can view the total amount borrowed and which companies are servicing their loans.

SATISFACTORY ACADEMIC PROGRESS FOR FEDERAL FINANCIAL AID

  • Federal regulations require the University of Mount Union to establish satisfactory academic progress (SAP) standards for federal financial aid recipients. We will review the following three areas annually: cumulative grade point average (GPA), completion rate and maximum time frame. This only impacts federal funds such as Federal Pell Grant, Federal Perkins Loan, Federal Work-Study (FWS), Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) and Direct Loans (Stafford and Parent PLUS Loan) as well as financial aid from the State of Ohio. Details of the policy can be found online in the Undergraduate Catalog on page 10. You can also contact our office with questions. Our next review will be May 2014.

OFFICE INFORMATION
The Office of Student Financial Services is located in the lower level of the Gartner Welcome Center. You can contact the office at finaid@mountunion.edu or 1-877-543-9185.

Home Away From Home: Residence Life at Mount Union

Is Your Son or Daughter Apartment or House Hunting?  A couple of things they may want to keep in mind:

  1. The University of Mount Union Residency Requirement states that all freshmen and sophomores must live on campus unless they are commuting from home (their parents or legal guardians’ address).  In keeping with our mission and tradition of being a residential college, this policy is enforced.  Since we are a residential University we ascribe to the belief that the residential experience can significantly contribute to a student's overall collegiate experience. Therefore, the Office of Residence Life strives to provide residential communities that focus on the living and learning process that is at the core of our College mission to prepare students for meaningful work, responsible citizenship and fulfilling lives. In accordance with those beliefs, all full-time students, prior to their junior year, are required to live on campus unless a Petition to Live Off Campus Prior to Junior Year is submitted to and approved by the Office of Residence Life.   On that petition form, students must indicate why they should be excepted and provide documentation or a detailed explanation for that reason as well.  Exceptions may be made for students prior to their junior year for the following reasons:
    - Students who are living with their parent(s)/guardian(s) in their permanent primary residence within 45 driving miles of the University of Mount Union.
    - Married, divorced, widowed or custodial parent.
    - 22 years of age or older, prior to September 1 for that academic year.
    - Possession of a Baccalaureate degree from a four-year college.
    - Served and discharged from the Armed Forces.
    - Medical or financial hardship. 
  2.  Because a student’s housing status can affect their financial aid award, all students including juniors and seniors planning to commute or live off campus will be required to complete a Residency Status Update Form to verify their housing situation with the University. If their housing status changes, they should expect that their financial aid will likely change, also. In accordance with this policy, students will be asked to contact the Office of Student Financial Services to find out how this change might affect your financial aid award.
  3. Alliance zoning laws stipulate that no more than 2 non-related people may live at the same address. In some cases, however, depending on the location and historical use of the rental property the occupancy restriction may allow for up to 4 non-related people at the same address.  Students are advised to contact the City of Alliance Zoning Inspector at 330-823-5122 before signing any leases to insure that they are in compliance with the law.

Understanding the Room Lottery Process
It’s only a few weeks into the semester, but it’s that time to begin thinking about where your students want to live next year.  They will select their room in an online process called Room Lottery.  The deadline to sign up for the room lottery or not will be February 14.

If your student is graduating, moving into a fraternity or sorority, planning to move off campus, or studying abroad, etc., they will need to indicate that they are not planning to participate in the lottery.  Remember, if your child is going to be a sophomore they are required to live on campus.  They can complete the online Petition to Live Off-Campus prior to their junior year (by Feb 14), but these aren’t often granted.

All other students will indicate that they are planning to participate in the room lottery process.  At that time, they will agree to the housing contract.  Once they have indicated that they are going to live on campus, they can begin to request and confirm roommates in the system.

A few important things for you and your student to know:

  • All students will be assigned a lottery number based on their number of completed credit hours, GPA, and participation in the honors program.
  • The rooms will be assigned in 2 phases:
    • Apartments and Townhouse Lottery (Monday, March 17)
      • Only Juniors and Seniors are eligible to live in the Townhouses and Apartments. 
      • Students must in a matched roommate group of 4 to be eligible for this part of the lottery.  The 4 students in that matched group’s lottery numbers will be averaged and then the groups will select units in that order.
      • NOTE: If a group of four students want to get into an Apartment/Townhouse and three of them are juniors/seniors and one student a sophomore, they will not be able to get into them because the sophomore does not qualify for Apartment/Townhouse style housing and will pull their overall score down. Those other three seniors or juniors will need to find another person who is of junior or senior status to live with in order to get into the apartments unless, they are willing to move into the suite-style halls or split up and join another group.
      • Not all of the students who apply for the Apartments/Townhouses will get into them.  A waiting list will be kept in that order if any additional rooms open during the summer or over next winter break
  • Residence Hall Lottery (Wednesday – Friday, March 19-21)
    • Students need to think about who they will want to live with or if they want a single room (for an additional $500 per semester), and what building they want to live in next year.
    • Students who were qualified for the Apartment/Townhouses and didn’t get in, need to have a back-up plan.  This plan might be breaking up their original group to form a new one. This is especially the case if some group members decide to move off campus if they don’t get an apartment or if there would have been sophomores that want to include in their suite.

The Residence Life Staff will be holding hall meetings with your students immediately after spring break to discuss this process and walk them through it. Should they have any further questions or concerns we are happy to make an appointment to talk with them individually. They can call us at (330)823-7288 or e-mail us at reslife@mountunion.edu.  

Harriet FletcherU and Mount Union

Harriet Fletcher International Travel Award, Fall 2013 Recipients

The Center for Global Education (CGE) is proud to offer its study abroad participants scholarships to increase their opportunities while traveling and learning abroad. Although studying abroad can lead to lucrative job opportunities down the road, the up-front costs can be substantial. For this reason, the CGE is working to create scholarships for Mount Union students. One scholarship is the Harriet Fletcher International Travel Award. The Harriett Fletcher International Travel Endowed Fund was created in 2011 with an estate gift from Harriett M. Fletcher ’40. Distributions from this fund are provided to Mount Union students for international travel.

Several students applied for this scholarship last fall, and the competition was intense. In December, it was announced that freshman Kathleen Esarove, who will travel to the University of Pau in France, and junior Sarah Croley, who will study at Kansai Gaidai University in Japan, were the recipients of the award. They each received $500.

Office of Business Affairs

Thanks to all the parents who have returned their Payment Calculation Worksheets. It is much appreciated. The Office of Business Affairs want to make sure you are aware of dates that will be of importance to you and your student this spring:

  • Payment Calculation worksheets should have been turned in before the start of the fall semester. If you have not returned them, please do so now.
  • Billing statements for the spring semester were sent home the second week in December. This bill was due January 3, 2014.
  • Late charges were assessed to all accounts with outstanding balances after the due date of January 3. The late fee is equal to the lesser of $70 or 2% of the outstanding balance due.
  • All accounts will be reviewed for current status. Accounts not current will be placed on hold status. The hold status will not allow registration or viewing of grades. Transcripts will not be released to any account in hold status.
  • Registration dates for fall 2014 semester are March 24 – April 4. Our office hours are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Should you have any questions or concerns, do not hesitate to contact us at 1-800-992-6682 extension 4137 or 6557.
  • You no longer need to have access to your student’s Self Service account to make an online payment. Please log on to www.mountunion.edu; click on the Parents and Families tab; then click to “make a payment.”

U and the Parent Association

When you and your student chose the University of Mount Union, your entire family became a part of the Mount Union community. Over the years we’ve seen increased participation from parents so we’re seeking to find new ways to connect and keep you as parent updated about what’s going on at Mount Union.

The Uconnect email newsletter for parents is sent in September, November, February and April of each academic year.

As members of the Parent Association, you are also invited to attend events near the University and around the country. Visit the Mount Union Alumni website for details on all things alumni including more upcoming events.

The Mount Union Fund

The Mount Union Fund invites you to partner in our mission to provide students with a truly exceptional college experience. To make a gift, or to learn more about the impact of The Mount Union Fund, visit our website.

Athletic Events

Check the athletic website for team news and sport schedules. We invite you to campus to cheer on a team or attend a game if they are travelling to a location near you.

Important Dates

  • March 1 – Spring Recess begins
  • March 10 – Classes resume
  • April 18 – Good Friday, no classes
  • April 22 – SCHOLAR Day, Honors Convocation
  • April 28 – Last day of classes
  • April 30 – Final exam period
  • May 1, 2, 5, 6 – Final exam period
  • May 10 - Commencement

Magazine and Dynamo

The Mount Union Magazine and student newspaper, Dynamo, are wonderful ways for parents to stay connected with what is happening on campus. Visit the website to read the latest issue of the magazine and Dynamo.

Gifts to Go

Mount Union’s food service provider, AVI Fresh, now offers “Gifts to Go” available for parents and the campus community to send to someone on campus. Gifts range from a giant cookie to say hi, a birthday cake to well wishes and more. Click the link to view the gifts available plus send a greeting to your student!

Looking to volunteer?

There are a few opportunities parents have to volunteer:

  • Become involved with Mount Union Women! Mount Union Women was founded in 1933 to support the education of women. Any female graduate or friend of the University may be a member. The organization has active chapters in Alliance and Canton/Massillon that work the concession stands at home football games and host programs throughout the year to raise money for scholarships. Numerous scholarships are awarded each year to deserving female students at Mount Union. Contact the Office of Alumni Engagement at alumni@mountuion.edu indicating your interest.
  • Participate in M Club events. M Club is the alumni varsity letterwinner association that holds several events throughout the year to support current Raider athletic programs. All Raider fans are invited to its annual Reverse Raffle and Silent Auction and summer Golf Outing.