The Backpack: A news source for parents and families of students at Northern Arizona University Let's Be Real About Finances
Let's Be Real About Finances Let's Be Real About Finances
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Vol. 10 No. 17 | November 26, 2013

Parent to Parent

by Shannon Clark, Parent and Family Services Coordinator

When I started college as an 18-year-old undergraduate student about 30 years ago, I was able to wait tables at a local restaurant and make enough money in tips to pay almost all of my tuition and living expenses. I wasn't an exception. Most of my peers were doing the same thing: working their way through college.

How times have changed.

College is expensive; there is just no way around it. Even if students are able to work and earn some of their own money, it is likely they are also paying for their education through a combination of family support, scholarships, grants, and loans.

At this point in the school year, you may be thinking that your student's university expenses are taking a bigger toll on your family budget than you had originally hoped. We want to be sure we have provided you with every bit of information and access to all available resources to ensure that your student is able to continue his or her progress at NAU and graduate within four years.


Have 5 minutes? Please Take The Family Weekend Survey

Please take a moment and complete our Family Weekend Survey. Whether you attended this year or couldn't make it, we would like to know how to make this weekend better for you.


Shannon Clark, Parent and Family Services Coordinator

Let's Be Real About Finances

Northern Arizona University takes your investment in higher education seriously and is committed to providing you with an excellent--and affordable--university experience. That is why we have been recognized as one of the best public education values in the nation. Because attending the university still reflects a substantial financial investment, here are some quick tips and additional resources if you are feeling the higher education pinch.

  • Plan ahead. The total estimated expenses provided on your student's financial aid award letter is real. Your student may be able to reduce it slightly through being frugal, but assume that number is an accurate estimate of the total cost to attend the university.
  • Complete the FAFSA even if you do not expect to receive federal support. This is necessary for other funding considerations.
  • Consider applying for a PLUS loan (Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students).
  • If you are denied a PLUS loan, your student may be eligible for an additional unsubsidized loan.

It's not all on your shoulders. Have your student do his or her part.

  • Encourage your student to carry a full load of at least 15 credits per semester to increase the probability of him or her graduating within 4 years.
  • This is the time to start researching and applying for scholarships.
  • If your student isn't working already, perhaps he or she could work 10 or so hours a week to help with incidental expenses.
  • If your student was awarded Federal Work Study, apply now for a position on campus.
  • Be sure your student is checking his or her "To Do List" on LOUIE. This prevents surprises!

For more detailed information about Financial Aid and Scholarships you may visit their website. If you or your student would like to meet with an advisor, please contact the Financial Aid Office by calling 1-855-628-6333. Advisors are also available to assist during walk-in hours at the Gammage Building (bldg #1) between 9 AM and 4:30 PM Monday through Friday.

Thanksgiving on Campus

The vast majority of students tend to leave campus for the extended holiday weekend. As a result, fewer dining locations will be open and with different hours of service. If your student will be staying on campus over Thanksgiving Day, the Hot Spot will be the one dining location open on campus, serving brunch from 10 AM to 1 PM and lunch with a Thanksgiving Dinner "to go" option available from 1 to 4 PM.

Friday and Saturday, the Hot Spot will serve both lunch and dinner during designated times and the 1899 will be open for dinner from 4 to 9 PM. Starbucks will be open from 8 AM to 3 PM as well.

On Sunday, things begin to return to normal with Einstein's and Cobrizo re-opening. The Hot Spot will be open from 10 AM to 8 PM and Starbucks will be open through late night. The DüB and The Coupe open up for dinner on South Campus and the 1899 will also be open for dinner.

It's also important to note that meal plans will be pro-rated for Thanksgiving week. Following is the number of meals allocated for weekly meal plans from Sunday, Nov 24-Saturday, Nov 30:

19 meals/week: 11 meals
14 meals/week: 8 meals
10 meals/week: 6 meals


Parents, sign in to My Student Body to learn more about this complete alcohol, drug, and wellness program at Northern Arizona University.

Passcode: nauparent

Event Highlights

See a complete listing of university events on the official university calendar website. More Flagstaff event highlights can be seen at Flagstaff 365.