Frequently Asked Questions
We receive many phone calls and email messages, so we've compiled a list of the questions we are most frequently asked. For your convenience, the questions are divided into categories. Just click on the question and you'll be directed to the response.
Of course, you are always welcome to call us with questions using the Parent Helpline at 301-314-8429 or via email at email@example.com.
- What should my student do if a scheduled exam conflicts with a family vacation, reunion, etc?
- Who helps students with physical or learning disabilities?
- How can I get information about my student's academic progress/grades?
- What is FERPA?
- Does my student need a meningitis vaccination?
- What types of services are provided at the University Health Center?
- What are the fees for services?
- Does the Health Center accept my family's health insurance plan?
- What about the UHC Pharmacy? Will they accept my family's prescription plan?
- Does the University require that students carry health insurance?
- What happens in an emergency?
- Will you tell me if and when my son or daughter is ill?
- Can my student move into the residence hall early?
- What if my student has a conflict with his or her roommate?
- How and when can students change roommates if things haven't worked out well?
- Can students store their belongings over the summer?
- My student lives on campus. Will his or her belongings be covered if they are stolen or damaged?
- How can my student get an apartment off-campus?
Safety and Transportation
- Theft seems to be pretty common. How can my student keep their belongings safe?
- Is there a safe alternative to walking alone on campus during night or early morning hours?
- My student doesn't have a car? How can he or she get around?
What should my student do if a scheduled exam conflicts with a family vacation, reunion, or another event? back to the top
Missing an exam or assignment due to a family vacation is not a valid excuse for absence. University policy excuses the absences of students only in the case of an illness (self or dependent), religious observances, participation in University activities at the request of University authorities, and compelling circumstances beyond the student's control. Students must submit the request in writing and supply appropriate documentation, e.g. medical documentation. An instructor is not under obligation to reschedule assessments or give a student a make-up assessment unless the failure to perform was due to an excused absence. Students with written, excused absences are entitled to a makeup exam at a time mutually convenient for the instructor and student.
Who helps students with physical or learning disabilities? back to the top
Students should contact Disability Support Services at 301-314-7683, or visit their office located in 0126 Shoemaker Hall. DSS will make arrangements with the student to obtain the required documentation and to determine and implement appropriate academic accommodations. Typically, individuals with medical or psychiatric conditions will be asked to provide documentation from a physician. Individuals with learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder will be asked to provide a full psycho-educational test report.
How can I get information about my student's academic progress/grades? back to the top
You can get this information by talking to your son or daughter. If your son or daughter is 18 years of age or older, the University cannot release any records, including academic information, to a third party-which includes parents or guardians. The University is bound by the regulations set forth in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
Parents often express interest and concern for their student's academic progress. Our hope is that students will maintain open communication with their parents and/or family members regarding their academic progress and other important issues. We encourage you to discuss these matters with your student. Often, students and parents find it helpful to agree upon methods of communication before classes begin. Coming to an agreement and establishing expectations for communication fosters trust and mutual responsibility.
One convenient approach is to ask your student to give you a Parent PIN to access the University's Testudo website. Using the PIN you can access your student's grades, class schedules, account balances, and unofficial transcripts.
What is FERPA? back to the top
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 (commonly referred to as the "Buckley Amendment") is designed to protect the confidentiality of education records and to give students access to their records to assure the accuracy of their contents. The Act affords students certain rights with respect to their education records.
A student's rights begin when the student registers and attends his or her first class. The privacy protection FERPA gives to students is very broad. With limited exceptions, FERPA regulations give privacy protection to all student education records. Examples of student records entitled to protection under FERPA include grade reports, transcripts and most disciplinary files. This protected information cannot be released to any third party, including parents, without signed and dated written consent from the student.
For additional information about FERPA and the University's policies, we encourage you to consult the University of Maryland "Parents Guide to Student Privacy Rights," located on the Student Honor Council website at www.studenthonorcouncil.umd.edu/ferpa.html.
Does my student need a meningitis vaccination? back to the top
If your student is living in a residence hall on campus, the answer is yes. Maryland law requires that every student who resides in the on-campus residence halls be vaccinated against meningococcal disease. A student may be exempt from this vaccination requirement if he or she (or parent/legal guardian in the case of a minor), after having been advised of the risks of the disease and the availability and effectiveness of the vaccine, signs a written waiver stating that he or she has received the information and has chosen not to be vaccinated against the disease. For more information, call the University Health Center at 301-314-8114 or visit their web site at www.health.umd.edu.
What types of services are provided at the University Health Center? back to the top
The University Health Center (UHC) is a fully accredited ambulatory health care clinic offering a wide variety of services including: urgent care, a walk-in clinic, x-ray and laboratory services, a pharmacy, an allergy clinic, HIV testing, international travel clinic, physical therapy, women's health services, orthopedics, immunizations, health education, massage therapy, acupuncture, substance abuse programs and counseling, and mental health services.
What are the fees for services? back to the top
Students will be charged a $15 fee for most visits with UHC providers. Additional fees are charged to see a specialist and for certain procedures such as x-rays, laboratory tests, allergy injections, physical therapy, massage, some health education programs, and medications dispensed through the pharmacy and medical units.
Does the Health Center accept my family's health insurance plan? back to the top
No. The University Health Center is not a participating provider with any insurance company other than United Health Care student health insurance plan. Clients are directly responsible for payment of fees that are incurred. Upon signing a release form, students can receive a coded claim form from the UHC insurance office to submit to insurance companies for reimbursement. The UHC does not bill insurance companies except for the UHC sponsored plan. Students are encouraged to check with their insurance companies to see what services might be covered.
What about the UHC Pharmacy? Will they accept my family's prescription plan? back to the top
Yes, the UHC Pharmacy is a participating member of most prescription card insurance plans.
Does the University require that students carry health insurance? back to the top
Yes. Beginning fall 2009, health insurance will be mandatory for all newly admitted freshmen and transfer students registered for 6 or more credits (graduate students are not required to complete a waiver). Detailed information can be found at the Health Centers website www.health.umd.edu.
What happens in an emergency? back to the top
The University Health Center will arrange for students who need emergency care or hospitalization to be transported for treatment to a nearby hospital, usually Washington Adventist Hospital or Prince George's Hospital Center. The Health Center assumes no financial responsibility for care provided off campus. That is why it is important for students to have health insurance coverage.
When closed, students should call 911 for emergency assistance for life threatening situations. For non-emergency situations the student can wait to come to the University Health Center first thing the next morning.
Will you tell me if and when my son or daughter is ill? back to the top
You will only know if your student sought care at the University Health Center directly from him or her. All services provided to students are confidential. All communication between a student and his or her clinician are also strictly confidential. A confidential medical record is established and maintained for every patient who receives care. Separate records are maintained for the Mental Health Service, Substance Abuse Programs, and Anonymous HIV testing. Issues of privacy and confidentiality are covered thoroughly in staff and volunteer training.
If your son or daughter is 18 years of age or older, information cannot be released to you without permission. Information is released only with the student's written permission, upon a court ordered subpoena, or in a life threatening situation.
Can my student move into the residence hall early? back to the top
Students who need to request an early arrival should contact the Department of Resident Life Assignments Office at 301-314-2100.
What if my student has a conflict with his or her roommate? back to the top
Conflicts are not uncommon, especially for students who have never had to share space with another person. It is important for roommates to establish an agreement early on regarding privacy needs, hours of sleep, study habits, television/stereo/computer use, sharing of personal property, visitors in the room, and overnight guests. Students who establish an agreement and maintain clear lines of communication are often more successful in their ability to live together.
We know that you want you son or daughter to be happy and that your instinct is to step in to help. One of the most important things to remember when speaking to your student is that you are only hearing half of the story. Listen with an open mind, and encourage your son or daughter to work through the dispute. If he or she needs extra support, the Resident Assistant, Resident Director and Community Director are all trained to mediate roommate conflicts and challenges. Your student should contact his or her Resident Assistant to begin the mediation process.
How and when can students change roommates if things haven't worked out well? back to the top
Every room change must be approved in advance and in writing by your student's Community staff. No room changes are allowed until September 15 for fall semester and February 9 for spring semester, at the earliest. This is called a "Room Freeze." Interested residents may request room changes by visiting their Community Office or www.resnet.umd.edu starting September 8 for fall and February 2 for spring. "Freezes" let Resident Life "take attendance," move any students out of their temporary assignments and move in students who have been waiting off campus. Room assignments also are "frozen" November 3 through the end of fall semester and March 8 through the end of spring semester.
The best opportunity to change buildings or change rooms is between semesters. This is because of the vacancies caused by residents who graduate, transfer, make room changes or for other reasons leave their assignments at the end of the fall semester. There is a December 1 deadline to turn in Spring Room Change Request forms, available after November 3 in Community Offices, in the lobby of Annapolis Hall and at www.resnet.umd.edu. Approved room changes are reported by mail starting December 5. Requests are processed in Priority Number order. If approved to move, students must vacate their fall semester room before departing campus in December. Your student may move into his or her new spring semester room in December only if its fall resident has vacated by the time your student needs to leave for the break. Otherwise, the move into the new room will occur in January.
Can students store their belongings over the summer? back to the top
Students should make arrangements with a local facility for summer storage. The UPS Store and MailBoxes, etc. in College Park usually offer special pricing for students.
My student lives on campus. Will his or her belongings be covered if they are stolen or damaged? back to the top
Neither the University nor the Department of Resident Life will be able to reimburse any individual for any theft, loss or damages to personal belongings because of fire, flood, water leak, etc. We advise you to check your current homeowner's or renter's insurance policy to ensure it will cover your student's belongings while they are at the University.
How can my student get an apartment off-campus? back to the top
Off-Campus Housing Services has a number of resources to assist students with finding an apartment off-campus. They maintain a database of available apartments and they also provide a roommate finder service. Visit the Off-Campus Housing Services web site at www.och.umd.edu.
Safety and Transportation
Theft seems to be pretty common. How can my student keep his or her belongings safe? back to the top
Most thefts are crimes of opportunity and occur because students leave their belongings unattended (e.g. leaving their laptop sitting on a table while they step away for a few minutes) or because they neglect to lock the door of their residence hall room. Students should never leave anything unattended or unsecured.
Is there a safe alternative to walking alone on campus during night or early morning hours? back to the top
Students, male or female, should never walk alone at night; they should be accompanied by a friend. The University's Department of Transportation provides several transportation services intended to assist students and employees while moving throughout campus during evening and overnight hours. These include fixed bus routes throughout campus, which operate until 3:30 a.m., seven nights per week during the fall and spring semesters, as well as N.I.T.E. (Night Intra-Campus Transportation Express) Ride. NITE Ride is a curb-to-curb, on-demand transportation service that operates seven nights per week from 5:30 p.m. until 7:30 a.m. when the university is open. To request a ride, students simply call 301-314-NITE. Additional information about transportation is available on the Department of Transportation web site at www.transportation.umd.edu.
My student doesn't have a car? How can he or she get around? back to the top
No car? No problem. The University's Department of Transportation operates an extensive (and free) shuttle service throughout campus, which also includes connecting service to the College Park Metro Station. Students can also use our private Zimride Rideshare Community to find and share rides with other students by signing up at zimride.umd.edu. Additional information about transportation is available on the Department of Transportation web site at www.transportation.umd.edu.