The Backpack: A news source for parents and families of students at Northern Arizona University The Backpack
Graduate in 4 Years and Save Graduate in 4 Years and Save
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Vol. 8 No. 8 | October 25, 2011

The Quest to Graduate in Four Years

Many times, you will hear college graduates talk about their college experience as the best four years of their lives. In reality, many students are taking five, maybe even six years to graduate with a bachelor's degree. We have many programs in place to help students stay on track and save money, such as The Pledge and Finish in Four. These programs are designed to assist students in identifying an academic program and plan, then making sure they understand the financial cost of fulfilling that program.

Graduating in four years saves money!

Not only will you and your student save on cost-of-living (meals, lodging, incidentals) and tuition dollars, but also the long-term savings through lower student loans after graduation.

The Pledge guarantees the same tuition rate for eight consecutive semesters. For example, freshman Arizona residents who entered this fall will pay a tuition rate of $8,009 per year through the 2014-2015 academic year. If students need to continue on for a fifth year, they will be charged the tuition rate that fall 2012 freshmen pay. If a sixth year is necessary, students will be charged the same rate as the class entering in fall 2016. This amount has not been set, but consider the difference in what it will cost to finance that fifth or sixth year for your student!

Our goal is to make sure students are both attempting and earning 15 credit hours each semester in order to graduate in four years. Most programs require at least 120 credits* to graduate. Here's the math:

15 credit hours x 2 semesters per academic year = 30 credit hours
30 credit hours x 4 years = 120 credit hours

*Some degree programs require more than 120 credits for graduation.

October 28 is the deadline for students to drop individual courses. Visit our Parent and Family University blog for some information that your student should consider before dropping a course.

2012-2013 Housing Reapplication for Current On-Campus Students

It's almost time for 2012-2013 housing reapplication, and there are several exciting changes to this year's process!

We anticipate having enough housing availability for 2012-2013 to accommodate current students who want to continue to live on campus.

  • Students in non-Freshman Connections halls will be guaranteed their current room for next year. After that, students will be able to choose a new room in the same hall.
  • Current residents in all halls will have the opportunity to choose a room in a different hall before new incoming students get to choose a room.
  • Our brand-new housing portal will allow students to choose a specific hall, room, and roommate(s) online and in real time.
  • If your student is looking for a new roommate, our new roommate matching system is available through the housing portal. When students apply, they'll be asked a series of lifestyle questions. Our system displays the best-matched potential roommates based on responses.

The Reapplication process will open November 1 for applications.

Specific information and dates regarding room selection will be sent to your student's e‑mail account this week. For more details, visit our Reapplication webpage.

Internships: Getting Some Real-World Experience

How does a student gain a better understanding of the career field he/she would like to enter? By participating in an internship! Internships provide students with first-hand work experience, networking, as well as the ability to determine if it is truly the career field they are interested in pursuing. Some students may earn an hourly wage, stipend, and/or academic credit while completing an internship.

The Gateway Student Success Center staff will assist students in creating and editing resumes and cover letters as they begin to apply for various opportunities. Application deadlines vary, so students should begin their search as soon as possible. You may also direct your student to the appropriate staff in his/her academic department.

Scholarships for Education Abroad Opportunities

The Center for International Education is now welcoming applications from undergraduates for the Global Learning Research Scholarship (GLRS). The goal of GLRS is to fund research activity that engages with at least two of the three themes of global learning. Have your student learn more about the scholarship and apply by visiting the Center for International Education online.

You Asked, We Answered!

Q: I would like to get a better understanding of my student's academic progress. How do I go about doing that?

A: The simplest way for you to understand your student's academic progress is to simply have a conversation with him or her. Encourage your student to be open and honest about class progress. Students in 100 and 200 level courses should have midterm grades posted on LOUIE at this time. Even if you have a signed FERPA release form on file, the university will not mail a copy of your student's grades.

Q: What is the best way to send mail to my student?

A: Mail and packages sent through the United States Postal Service should be addressed to your student's PO Box. Packages sent through UPS, FedEx, or DHL, can be sent directly to your student's residence hall. Check out the proper addressing formats and more on the Postal Services website.

Event Highlights

  • International Film Series, "The Battle of Algiers," Wednesday, October 26, 7 PM, Liberal Arts Building

  • NAU Women's Volleyball vs. Sacramento State, Saturday, October 29, 7 PM, Rolle Activity Center

See a complete listing of university events on the official university calendar website. More Flagstaff event highlights can be seen at ShowUp Flagstaff and Flagstaff Happenings. More travel, dining, shopping, and event information is available from