Parent E-Letter

Purdue University Calumet Parent/Supporter End of the Semester Tasks

CLAS LogoThe end of the semester is here! With your student finishing up with their classes, they may be ready to take a break and enjoy the holidays with family and friends. Here at The Center for Learning and Academic Support (CLAS), we encourage students to take this time to recover from the semester, but there are still a few tasks for them to work on to stay on track for GRADUATION. YOU can help them with a few of these tasks. To break the ice, have an OPEN DISCUSSION about your student’s GRADES. Then, file YOUR TAXES to help your student complete the FASFA. Lastly, discuss and help your student CHOOSE or CHANGE THEIR MAJOR.

Let’s Talk About Grades: How to Have THIS Conversation with Your Student

Discussing your student’s grades may be a natural process or it can be awkward, but talking to your student about their grades is important. Remember, in college, parents/supporters do not receive the grades of their students. Your student has ultimate responsibility for their grades, so it is up to you to ask your student about their grades. Discussing grades is helpful for your student because it allows for them to brag about their success and to collaborate with you on what they can learn from their grades and experiences that semester.

Here are a few suggestions to help you SET THE TONE to discuss your student’s grades:

  • Set aside time and have a REAL DISCUSSION. Go out to lunch. Do not simply ask how their grades are in passing. This will result in a passing answer such as, “they are fine.”
  • If your student’s grades were awesome this semester (A’s and B’s), then CELEBRATE this victory with them!
  • If your student’s grades were not as good as expected, talk with your student what they can do during the next semester to IMPROVE their grades.
  • Ask your student what they did that was HELPFUL and NOT HELPFUL this semester.
  • Ask your student what campus RESOURCES they have used to help them. Did they meet with the instructor during their office hours? Did they use the academic resources provided by the campus, such as supplemental instruction, tutoring, or the Writing Center?
  • Remember to be an ACTIVE TEAM MEMBER with your student throughout their college experience.

By having an open and collaborative conversation with your student about their grades, you can create a safe space for your student to explore the many options and resources that college offers. For more resources, check out the Student Academic Support section of the Center for Learning and Academic Success website.

File Your Taxes: Help Your Student Pay for College

With a new year comes the season of filing taxes. While taxes do not legally need to be filed until April 2015, it may be in the best interest of your student for you to file your taxes as soon as you can. This is because of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which is a federal document to be completed by your student each year BEFORE MARCH 10TH. The purpose of this document is to gain access to government provided student scholarships, grants, and loans. Even if your student has their tuition paid for, it is always a good idea to apply to FAFSA. The student does not have to accept all or any of the loan money that is offered, if they choose. All students who attend college and are U.S. citizens may apply, and the student will need to file their taxes from the previous year in order to do so. For example, the student will use their 2014 filed taxes for the upcoming FASFA application. What is your role as a parent? If your student is still considered your dependent for tax reasons, your student will also need to provide your tax information.

What/When/Why:

  • Filing your taxes, as soon as possible, allows for your student to COMPLETE FASFA before the priority deadline of March 10th.
  • The FAFSA is a government application that can provide your student with GRANTS, SCHOLARSHIPS, and LOANS that will help them pay for college.
  • Even if your student does not need help with paying for college, it is always nice to have a SAFETY NET for unexpected life changes throughout the semester (loss of employment, health issues, etc.).
  • For more information, check out the Purdue University Calumet FINANCIAL AID website and the FAFSA website.
  • When completing the online FAFSA, the SCHOOL CODE for Purdue University Calumet is 001827 (some parents/supporters miss this code)
  • Purdue University Calumet will hold a FASFA COMPLETION EVENT in February. Check with Financial Aid in January for the exact date and time.

How to Help Your Student Chose or Change Their Major.

Your student may currently be enrolled at Purdue University Calumet as an undeclared major, may be working toward becoming accepted into their chosen major, (such as nursing), and/or be in the process of changing their major. Students need to make this decision before the end of their first academic year to remain eligible for financial aid. To start this process, your student will need to contact their advisor and start the CHANGE OF DEGREE OBJECTIVE (CODO) process. The staff at CLAS or any campus Advisor can help your student work toward this next step in their education.

What/When/Why:

  • The CODO process is a process performed by your student in order for them to change their major from their previous major or from being undeclared.
  • We suggest that your student start this process throughout WINTER BREAK during their FIRST YEAR as the changes will be made official the following semester.
  • Your student will not know their full COURSE REQUIREMENTS to GRADUATE until they have successfully completed the CODO process.
  • Your student will need to show that they are working toward a degree in order to continue to receive FINANCIAL AID.

Check out the Academic Catalog and Degree Maps with your student for an overview of all the majors that Purdue University Calumet offers. The catalog also breaks down the requirements for each major and the classes provided by the major. Remember, the Center for Learning and Academic Success office is here to help your student. They can always contact us at 219/989-3227.

Chancellor’s Message

Being your student’s parental partner

By THOMAS KEON

Female graduate with her parentsI have listened to many student graduation speeches over the years and have spoken with countless graduates filled with pride about what they celebrate on graduation day. I have heard stories about favorite professors, life changing learning experiences and an eagerness to put degrees to work to make a difference in our world.

Throughout those stories, I also tend to hear something else—the appreciation graduates have for caring, understanding and even questioning parents. Within the lives of college students, parents are important influencers. 

No grades, but…

Though parents do not earn the passing marks that lead to their sons’ or daughters’ degree, in various ways they contribute to those marks. Though parents do not stay up all hours of the night studying, they do tend to put in a lot of long hours cooking, laundering and performing other gestures of sacrificial love on behalf of their students. And though parents are not responsible for completing class projects, turning in papers or preparing for a team presentation, they do take on responsibility of supporting their students’ efforts in whatever way they can.

A college education is truly a partnership. Students, of course, do the heavy lifting of learning. But in the background are parents who willingly do everything they can as contributors to their students’ success. A partnership also means asking difficult questions, providing a shoulder to lean or cry on, or just offering an encouraging word of reassurance.

Being there

Parental partners do not have all the answers, but they can and do muster up amazing amounts of support. Whatever else you can do for your sons and daughters as students, there is nothing more important than being there for them.         

At Purdue Calumet, nearly 70 percent of our enrollees are first generation students. That is, pending their persistence and ability to succeed to graduation day and receive their diploma, they will become the first members of their family to earn a degree.

Counting on you

Arguably, the highlight of our Purdue Calumet Commencement Exercises is the emotional outburst expressed by family members when their loved one’s name is announced as a Purdue degree recipient.

It is a day you, too, will cherish with overwhelming pride. As a parental partner, you can help make it happen. Whether he and she yet realize it, your son and daughter are counting on you.

Sincerely,

 

Thomas L. Keon

Chancellor    

 

Spotlight

Spotlight on…Financial Aid

Graduation Cap on top of moneyWe know there are questions upon questions upon questions about the financial aid process. The good news, at this point, is that the FAFSA process has been completed, and your student knows the status of his/her financial aid award. Whether in the form of grants, loans, or even the opportunity to participate in our work study program, your student is gearing up to focus on one thing: education.

We’d like to provide you answers to many of the popular financial aid questions being asked. But before you read below the Q & A, with Tanika House, Assistant Director of Student Financial Services, we want you to take a moment. Think about your student’s education—and not think about education cost as a burden. Think of it as an investment. The money spent on education is truly an investment in your student’s future.

 

Q: Though I am a parent, I do not have access to my student’s financial records. How do I know if my student is handling his/her financial aid correctly?

A:  Many parents call wanting to know all the financial aid details. We only can provide general information. If login is needed to accept and/or decline awards, or if additional documents are required for processing, this information can be shared with you.  However, specific dollar amounts cannot be discussed over the phone. We are restricted from doing so by terms of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Please understand that we must comply with FERPA standards. That expressed, parents who present to us a signed consent from their student allows us to provide some additional information. We can discuss with you the parameters of obtaining this information.  

 

Q: If my student accepted a loan, does he/she have to accept the full amount?

A:  Students do not have to accept the full amount of a loan for which they have been granted approval to receive. But understand that the student is responsible for repaying the full amount accepted. To avoid surprises, please encourage your student to use their loan prudently in response to their educational needs only for the academic year.

 

Q: What is the process for staying up-to-date with my student’s financial aid?

A:  All updates to a student’s financial aid status are communicated via their MyPUC account. We no longer mail any information, as we have gone green!

Parents can call and check on the status of their student’s financial aid. To continue to receive their financial aid, students must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements http://webs.purduecal.edu/ofasa/files/SAPPOLICY.pdf. Should a student fail to satisfy eligibility requirements (GPA, completion rate, time frame) and, thereby, have his/her financial aid discontinued, the matter will be discussed with the student only. Please keep the lines of communication open with your student!

 

As you know, your student may need information from your tax statements for annual FAFSA filing. Content of the completed FAFSA form determines the amount of financial aid for which your student qualifies. Open and continual lines of communication with your student throughout his/her higher education years will go a long way in enhancing the financial aid process and helping your student succeed.   

Focus on…

Commencement: Getting Your Student There

Graduation. Commencement. Receiving a Degree!

It may seem a far way off to many of our students, but in reality—and as something we all know—time flies!

The process of getting your student walking at the Commencement ceremony may seem arduous to think about (especially as he/she is just beginning or completing his/her first semester), but keeping the mindset of reminding your student that graduation is the ultimate goal of his/her Purdue Calumet experience and “right around the corner” is a worthy message of reminder.

 

Talk. Conversations about your student’s upcoming semester or current classes do not have to focus just about grades. Find out areas in which your student may excel, or just have conversations about some of the coursework.

Listen. Maybe your student is not interested in discussing coursework. Perhaps he/she is more interested in campus life. Many times, students prefer not to discuss grades, or become fearful of being judged if a course/semester does not go exactly as planned. Listening to your student’s desires, fears, and concerns can keep you in the loop of his/her feelings.

Learn. Finding out what your student’s interests are can be the building block for future conversations. Think of it as a first step to “learning” or becoming educated about what your student is experiencing as a student at Purdue University Calumet.

 

Student Corner

Shaky hands

By: JESSICA VAN KLEY; English Writing major in the class of 2016

Student using a tabletHeart pounding and hands shaking I entered; my eyes darted around for an empty seat at this new student orientation I was told to attend.  I finally found a seat at a table of strangers, who to me seemed calm, cool and collected, as opposed to my startled, sweaty and scattered demeanor.  While attempting to listen to the speakers and not let my shaking hands drop my cup of water, I heard that we could always talk to our advisors if we had any questions. This was a terrifying notion to me.

A few weeks into my freshmen year I had started to grasp the basic layout of the campus, which meant pretending to tie my shoes in front of the campus maps less and less.  I even built up the confidence to talk to classmates outside of class.  But aside from small personal victories, which meant pretending to tie my shoes less and less, I also started to talk to my professors and advisors. This was a far greater accomplishment than knowing how to get to the library. 

My professors and advisors helped push me through my freshman year.  My professors helped me decide on a major and realize that it is alright to take a semester or two to make that decision.  My advisors helped me pick out classes that would be appropriate for my decided major. And my GNS 103 instructor, a freshman experience course most freshmen attend, helped open my eyes to what “being a college student” is like.  Teaching us the basics of the school website, purduecal.edu., we learned how to register for classes online through MyPCStar, how to look up different classes with the online course catalog and even how to look up what careers a chosen major opens up for you.

GNS 103 also allowed me to explore the campus on more than just an academic level.  We were encouraged to explore campus events and even look out for different Purdue Calumet programs and clubs, like The Chronicle, our student paper, which is always on the lookout for reporters.  The Honors Program, a part of campus life that I was already involved in, was another opportunity freshmen were encouraged to explore and possibly pursue application, not to mention the dozens of other organizations that the campus offers, from ROTC to the clusters of sororities and fraternities.

With all of these resources at my disposal, I finally made it through my first year of college. I finished with a 3.93 GPA and hands that were a little less shaky, thanks to the advice from professors and advisors who were more than willing to make time to talk to me. I learned to use campus resources and shake off my anxiety of speaking to professors and advisors. I learned that making it through college in four years is a goal that most dedicated students can achieve.