Frequently Asked Questions

Current FAQs

When is University Housing Move-in day and how should we plan for it?

Students receive an assigned move-in date along with their housing assignment. Students may arrive any time after 8 a.m. on or after their scheduled move-in day and house events begin that evening. Be sure to enjoy the day and take in the moment. Remember to tell your students that you are proud of what they have accomplished! For more details on preparing for move-in, visit University Housing’s website.

How does the off-campus housing move-in/out process work?

Every year on August 14 and 15, thousands of students move in and out of apartments and houses throughout downtown Madison. This is an exciting and busy time. Below are some ideas to share with your student to help the process go smoothly, including ways you can be supportive of your student during this important transition.

  • Organize and pack in advance. Students may want to consider moving the bulk of their possessions out early, if possible.
  • If a moving truck is needed, reserve it well in advance. Some students choose to pool resources and split the cost of a larger truck and/or share personal or family vehicles.
  • To make move-in day check-in go more smoothly, students should try to have all paperwork and payments for their property owner or management company taken care of ahead of time.
  • Setting up any utilities in advance will help avoid long waits.
  • Students who find themselves with 12 to 24 hours between when they need to move out of one apartment/house and into their new one may find it helpful to talk with their property owner or management company. Sometimes they are able to negotiate this time to be earlier and/or later.
  • Students appreciate the help of friends and family during this time. Offer to provide a vehicle, storage, or lend a helping hand.
  • Stay positive about your student’s housing decision. Expect that your student’s new home may not be perfect as another person has likely just moved out of the residence your student is moving into.
  • Encourage your student to keep property safe and secure by not propping open doors or leaving valuables unattended.
  • Encourage your student to thoroughly complete a check in form upon move-in and keep a copy for his or her records.

I am filling out my 529 College Savings Plan. What is the estimated 2014-2015 cost of attendance?

The cost of attending UW-Madison varies among students. Visit the Office of Student Financial Aid website to see the actual costs used for an undergraduate for the 2014-15 academic year.

Additional Campus FAQs

FAQs by Topic

Academics

How will my student be successful and stay involved if he or she is commuting to the university?

At UW–Madison, most students choose to live on or near campus and typically stay in Madison on the weekends. Therefore, students who commute to the university may face added challenges, in addition to the adjustments all students experience when transitioning to college. Parents can support their students by encouraging them to take part in the clubs, organizations, work opportunities, and campus and community activities available to all students. It’s important that your student spend time on campus when he or she is not in class. Attending athletic events and performances, studying in the libraries, and spending time in the Madison community will help your student feel connected. It is also important to remind your student that he or she is a student first. Allowing your student quiet time to study at home, adjusting household responsibilities (particularly during exam times), and encouraging your student to take advantage of academic support will help your student stay focused on college.

Where do I find information about graduation?

The Secretary of the Faculty coordinates Commencement here at UW–Madison. Their webpage hosts the schedules, attire information, parking details and other general information that you may find helpful as your student prepares to graduate.

My student is sick and missing classes. What should he/she do?

If a student misses classes due to illness, injury, family emergency, or some other reason, it is the responsibility of the student to notify his or her instructors as soon as possible. Your son/daughter should contact his or her professors to let them know of the situation and to develop a plan for making up the work. Accommodations and make-up procedures are at the discretion of the faculty member. The Division of Student Life will not send notice of absence to instructional staff unless the student is unable to do so.

My student is struggling with his academic schedule and not sure what classes to take for next semester. What is the best way to seek advising?

Students who are struggling with their academic schedule or in need of academic counseling should seek the help of their advisor. Each student is assigned to an advisor upon enrollment. Undeclared students are assigned an advisor in the Cross-College Advising Office. Once a student declares a major, he or she will be assigned an advisor in that major. Students should connect with their advisor when they have a question about their academic choices on campus. There may be times when they are feeling perplexed by the overwhelming opportunities presented to them on campus or generally unclear about what they’re supposed to be doing. This is a good time to connect. As a general rule, it is best to see an advisor early. The registration period is the busiest time of the semester for advisors and it can be difficult to get an appointment. Students should evaluate their classes and assess how the semester is going in October, and meet with an advisor before the busy period starts. It’s important to plan ahead. A student may send the advisor an e-mail if there is a short or simple question. Regardless of the reason for seeing an advisor, it’s best to not let any situation get out of control.

How do I see if my student made the Dean’s List?

The Dean’s List is among the ways that UW–Madison recognizes the academic excellence of its students. At the conclusion of each semester, high-achieving students are included on the list and generally receive a letter of recognition from schools or colleges. The honor is also noted on student transcripts. To make the list more accessible to students and parents, the Registrar’s Office hosts a searchable website of honorees at registrar.wisc.edu/deans_list.htm. To be eligible for the Dean’s List, students must complete a minimum of 12 graded degree credits during that semester. Each school or college sets its own GPA requirements to receive honors. Due to privacy laws, questions about a particular student’s eligibility for the Dean’s List should come from the student, and should be directed to the academic affairs section of the dean’s office in the school or college in which the student is enrolled. Questions about the website or eligibility can also be directed to deanslist-registrar@em.wisc.edu. In addition to the new website, University Communications sends notices of Dean’s List honorees to local newspapers across the state and country. Please note that a student must have a valid home address on file with the university for this information to reach a hometown newspaper. To change hometown listings, students should log in to the Student Center module of My UW–Madison at my.wisc.edu and select the Personal Information tab. Announcements are typically sent to the largest-circulation newspaper in the student’s home zip code and take several weeks to process after the end of each semester. University Communications also sends a similar list of graduation announcements. Questions about newspaper publishing schedules are best directed to newspapers. However, resends or problems related to newspaper distribution can be directed to jplucas@wisc.edu.

Careers

How does my student find a campus job?

Students who would like to find work on or off campus during the semester should follow these basic guidelines:

  • Be proactive! Check the Job Center every day; new jobs are posted daily.
  • Explore the “Links” tab, found on the Job Center homepage. Certain departments post job openings on their own site before posting them on the Job Center.
  • Students who are eligible for Work Study should indicate that on applications, resumes, or cover letters.
  • Remember, campus jobs are constantly becoming available, but the best time to search is at the start of a semester.
  • Consider volunteering on campus. A volunteer position can lead to a job in that area.

Financial

How much money should my student put in his/her Housing Food Account?

The average student uses about $600 per semester on his/her Housing Food Account. However, it is recommended that students begin with $300 in their account. Students will automatically receive a refund for a Housing Food Account if the balance is $20 or greater at the end of the year. Balances that are less than $20 will be transferred to Campus Cash. Any money remaining in the Campus Cash account will automatically carry forward from semester to semester.

We are preparing our tax return and want to know how to obtain the 1098T form.

You will need to make arrangements with your student to obtain the 1098T form, which contains important tax information related to the payment of tuition and other educational expenses. Since tax reporting can change as the tax season progresses, please visit the FAQs for Tax Reporting web page provided by the Bursar’s office. Students access the form using these steps:

  1. The university now provides access to the 1098T tax forms electronically. Students should have received an e-mail from GetMyDocument (1098@eforms.uwsa.edu) on or around January 8, which lists a website link and instructions for viewing and printing their 1098T forms. Please encourage your student to watch for this e-mail and to follow the instructions for retrieving this tax form.
  2. If students do not receive the e-mail, they can access and download their 1098T tax form by going directly to https://www.getmydocument.com and following the instructions for logging in and securely accessing their data. If they have trouble accessing their 1098T tax form, they can call 800-756-4311. Representatives are available Monday–Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. CST.
  3. Students with questions regarding the data included on the form can call the Bursar’s Office at 608-262-3611, or e-mail: tuition@bussvc.wisc.edu.
  4. If students do not download their 1098T form by January 20, it will be mailed to the same address as their tuition bill.

Health

What are some safe, healthy and fun ways for my student to be involved on campus?

One of the greatest things about UW–Madison’s large student population is the number of options that are available on campus. There are over 850 student organizations on campus to get involved in.  Some of these organizations are academic-based and provide excellent ways for your student to network and become more involved within their field of study, such as the Institute of Industrial Engineers, the Sports Business Club, or Women in Medicine.  Encourage your student to check within his or her academic department to see what organizations they offer. Other student organizations are interest-based such as the Figure Skating Club, Hoofers Club, or Optima Dance.  Encourage your student to utilize organizations as ways to explore new interests and continue activities he/she may have been involved with in high school. There are exciting events happening on campus and in the Madison community every day. Encourage your student to learn more by visiting the Events Calendar, which lists activities happening on campus, and the Greater Madison Convention & Visitors Bureau website, which highlights all there is to see and do in Madison.

How do I receive information in the event of an emergency?

The Parent Program will send an email notice if there is something critical happening on campus. The email will include what the situation is, what campus is doing about it, and how you can support your student. (If you are not a member of the Parent Program click here to sign up.)

How do I receive information about my student’s health care?

The privacy of health care information and medical records for university students that are maintained by University Health Services (UHS) is protected by a federal law, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and several state laws. The protections of FERPA and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which also protects the privacy of personal health information, are very similar. In compliance with these laws, as a general policy, UHS does not disclose information to family members or others without the consent of the student. However, in an emergency situation, UHS will exercise its professional judgment to determine if family members, usually parents, should be informed of the situation. If you want information about non-emergency health care situations, it is best to work through your student, asking him or her to give UHS permission to speak with you about a health concern. And, while UHS needs written consent to formally release medical records, usually a phone call from the student can grant permission for the UHS staff to speak with you.

What is the best way to contact my student in case of a family emergency?

Parents, guardians, or other family members often find it difficult to contact students in times of crisis, such as medical emergencies or the death of a family member. All emergency inquiries should be directed to the University Police Department, at 608-262-2957. Every effort will be made to contact the student about the emergency situation.

How does my student sign up for WiscAlerts?

Signing up for WiscAlerts text messages is simple and takes just a few moments. Students can enroll by logging into the My UW Portal, navigating to the Services tab and looking for the WiscAlerts logo. Parents are not able to sign up for Wiscalerts but will be notified by the Parent Program if there is critical campus information.

Out of Class

What are the benefits of joining a student organization?

Get involved on campus.  SOO connects students with involvement opportunities, including more than 800 student organizations, undergraduate research opportunities, volunteer service opportunities, sports clubs, music groups, internships, and social fraternities and sororities. Build leadership skills. Develop skills in communication, team building, conflict resolution, leading effective meetings, delegation, social justice, and more. Develop confidence. Focusing on self, developing confidence and motivation while working within groups.

What if my student is having a hard time finding a job?

Students who are facing troubles finding work on or off campus should follow these basic guidelines:

  • Be proactive! Check the Job Center every day as new jobs are posted daily.
  • Explore the “Links” tab, found on the Job Center homepage. Some departments post job openings on their own site before posting them on the Job Center.
  • If your student is eligible for Work Study, he or she should indicate so on his/her application, resume, or cover letter.
  • Remember, campus jobs are constantly becoming available but the best time to search is at the start of a semester.
  • Consider volunteering on campus. A volunteer position can lead to a job in that area.

My student is interested in Greek Life. How does fraternity and sorority recruitment work?

Fraternity recruitment takes place during the first three weeks of the fall semester. Through a wide variety of events, students will have the opportunity to find the right fraternity for them. After recruitment is about two-thirds over, chapters will begin to give out “bids.” A bid is an invitation to join a fraternity as a pledge/new member. Once your student has signed a bid, he has committed to pledging that house, and cannot sign another bid until being released from the first. If your student is interested in learning about the opportunities fraternity life has to offer, he should complete an online contact form. This form does not oblige a student to join but allows a student to receive information about upcoming events and activities. Sorority recruitment is a mutual selection process that introduces potential members to the sorority community and its many aspects. Recruitment takes place during the first two weeks of the fall semester. Students who are interested in rushing a sorority may go online and fill out the electronic registration form. Once recruitment is over, a student has the choice to pledge the chapter she received a “bid” from. A bid is an invitation to join the sorority as a new member. Pledging is a period where students learn about the sorority’s history and rituals. More information about fraternities and sororities can be found on their website.

My student is interested in finding a spiritual community. Where could he or she find this information?

To view religious organizations on and around campus, visit WIN, the Wisconsin Involvement Network. Additionally, your student can find information about spiritual wellness on the UWell website.

My student is having a hard time meeting new people at school. What advice do you have?

Many students have a difficult time adjusting to college. It can be especially hard for students who are not used to being away from home. Your student’s house fellow is a great resource. House fellows are trained in helping students adjust to college. Your student should continue to build a relationship with his or her house fellow. The Division of Recreational Sports has many opportunities to get involved and meet other students through their Intramural Sports Program, with opportunities for beginner to veteran athletes. Another way for students to feel more connected on campus is to join a student organization. The Center for Leadership & Involvement (CfLI) is located on the second floor of the Red Gym at 716 Langdon Street. The CfLI website lists over 850 different organizations. The Wisconsin Involvement Network (WIN) allows students to identify, organize, and coordinate their out-of-class involvement experiences. Getting a job on campus is also a great way to feel connected and meet other students. Most campus jobs are flexible to accommodate a student's schedule. The Student Job Center website lists both university and non-university positions. UW–Madison is a vibrant place, and there are many exciting events happening on campus each day. Encourage your student to learn more by visiting the Events Calendar. Connect to campus via social media. UW–Madison maintains active Facebook and Twitter accounts that highlight all of the interesting events, activities and happenings related to the university. From leadership roles to volunteering to social organizations, there are countless ways for students to explore their interests through various involvement opportunities.

Send a Smile

In addition to the items on the Send a Smile page, what are some ways I can let my student know I am thinking of him or her?

Students often appreciate staying updated about the activities they were involved in during their high school years. Sending newspaper clippings that feature the soccer team, Science Olympiad, or other hometown happenings can be a great addition to a letter. Healthy snacks are also a great thing to send your student. Reminding students to eat well, get a good night’s sleep, and keep up with exercise will help them throughout the year, especially during busy academic times. Sending snacks students can share is a great way to encourage new friendships. A quick email or text message is another great way to stay connected. Sending your student a quick note saying “have a great day” or “good luck on your exam”  means a lot. For more suggestions, visit the Send a Smile page.

What are the best times to send my student something during the year?

It’s always a great time to let your student know that you are thinking of him or her. There are few key times during the year when students appreciate an extra reminder. In October students experience their first semester of midterms and papers. This can be a busy time for students — hearing from home can help keep spirits high and stress low. In December students may be feeling a great deal of pressure as they are finishing papers and preparing for final exams. This is an ideal time to send words of encouragement or a care package. In February extended periods of cold temperatures and winter months may leave students feeling a little restless. This can also be a great time to remind your student that spring is fast approaching. March brings another wave of midterms and papers, and words of encouragement are appreciated. In May stress levels tend to increase as students complete papers and projects and take final exams. This is a great time of the year to send your student something to help him or her finish strong.

Transportation

How does my student get a bus pass?

All UW–Madison students are eligible for the Associated Students of Madison (ASM) bus pass, which provides unlimited, free access to all city routes. The campus bus routes 80, 91, 82 and 84 are free to everyone, including students, staff, and visitors.