Parent Connect Newsletter

February 2023

Randall M-J Edouard, Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students
Randall M-J Edouard, Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students

Dear parents and families,

Now that your students are settled back into their Binghamton routine — classes, homework, jobs, friends, clubs, etc. — I would guess that many of you may be experiencing a bit of relief, knowing they’re back on track toward their academic, personal and professional goals. You may have some level of anxiety, as well. And that’s to be expected. After all, it’s been a tough few years and our Binghamton students have a reputation for setting — and achieving — ambitious goals.

Expectations of success and achievement — whether internally or externally motivated — are often accompanied by pressure and fear of failure. It’s no secret that young adults’ mental health has taken a hit over the past three years, but they’re not alone. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, anxiety affects 40 million adults in the United States. It’s been hard on all of us.

I encourage you to keep this in mind when you ask your students about their grades, progress toward an internship or securing a research experience. Our own anxieties, even if at the root they’re completely unrelated to the subjects of these conversations, have a way of filtering through to our students. They know when we’re stressed, and that can compound their own uncertainties, leading to feeling overwhelmed and paralyzed.

You know your students best and can determine what degree of gentle check-ins or reminders will motivate them. I am just suggesting that we be conscious of focusing on building them up and celebrating their accomplishments and be careful of letting our own worries end up becoming a hindrance to the great success we know they’re capable of.

Sincerely,

Randall M-J Edouard, EdD ‘22
Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students


Major announcement during President Harvey Stenger’s State of the University Address

President Harvey Stenger annually delivers a State of the University address. This year’s address included a major announcement of an anonymous endowment of $25 million to support undergraduate student scholarships, and an additional $12.5 million from the same anonymous donor to support scholarships for graduate students pursuing master’s degrees in the arts. Both scholarship programs will begin in the fall semester of this year.

Watch the president’s State of the University address.

Read more about the scholarship programs. 

There’s no place like home … except maybe here

The 2023–24 returning student housing process is now open. Students who wish to return to on-campus housing must participate in this process to secure their housing. The process consists of two parts — registration and room selection. Registration and group formation is going on now. Students can log on to the housing portal to complete their housing application and begin to form their groups. Room selection takes place March 8–17. 

As students consider housing options, they should keep the following important things in mind:

  • This process is different from the new student process. It is important that students take the time to understand how the process works.
  • Selecting a room in this process is a binding agreement and obligates the student to on-campus housing for the entire academic year. Once a student selects a room they will not be released from the University Housing Agreement unless they are participating in a study abroad program or are not enrolled at Binghamton for the fall semester.
  • While students who want to continue living on campus are typically able to do so, housing is not guaranteed to returning students.

Find more information on the Residential Life website.

On-campus Student Employment Fair connects students with jobs and internships

Binghamton University employs hundreds of students across campus to do all sorts of important tasks, including managing social media accounts, teaching fitness classes, driving buses, analyzing data and so much more. Students who work on campus have the opportunity to gain work experience that looks great on a resume while also connecting with their campus community and earning an income. This semester, the Fleishman Career Center is launching the new Student Employment Initiative, which seeks to create more jobs for students and also elevate the experiences and skills that students gain through these positions.

To make it easier for students to find on-campus positions, the Student Employment Initiative is hosting an On-campus Student Employment Fair from 11 a.m.–3:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 23  in Old Union Hall. This event is open to students of any major or class year who are interested in learning more about on-campus openings for summer 2023 and the 2023–24 academic year. Encourage your student to stop by this fair and see if there are any positions that interest them.

Students are advised to also attend the Preparing your Application Materials for a Part-Time Job workshop happening directly after the fair (3:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23 in UU-111). In this session, Fleishman Career Center staff will teach students how to create a high-quality job application to help them apply to any part-time job, on or off campus.

Student Transition and Success Team

Here are a few ways for your student to get assistance from our professional and peer success coaches and other resources:

Grad Fest 2023: Commencement one-stop shop

If you have a student who is graduating, it’s time to start thinking about Commencement! Binghamton University is hosting Grad Fest, a one-stop shop to help students get everything they need before Commencement.

Grad Fest will be held from 11 a.m.–2 p.m. and 4–6 p.m. Wednesday, March 8, in the UU-Mandela Room. At Grad Fest students will be able to purchase their cap and gown, obtain ceremony and ticket information, notify campus of family members needing accommodations, take a picture with Baxter and so much more, all in one convenient space.

Bus systems offer free, safe and warm transportation for students

Students can stay warm this winter by utilizing real-time tracking applications for both Off Campus College Transport (OCCT) and Broome County (BC) Transit. Both bus systems provide transit service to students at no cost with the swipe of their University ID.

OCCT and BC Transit have GPS tracking devices linked to applications that display where the buses are at all times and how far they are from any given stop location. This allows students to plan for bus arrival and spend less time in the cold. For OCCT service, students can download the free ETA SPOT application to their phones. For BC Transit service, students can download the free DoubleMap bus tracking application.

OCCT also offers a campus shuttle that loops around main campus, stopping at multiple locations. The campus shuttle is displayed in the ETA SPOT application for real-time tracking information. 

For more information on transit services, visit the Transportation and Parking Services website. 

February engagement highlight: Fraternity and Sorority Life

With each new semester, students can discover a range of groups available to join on campus, like our diverse array of fraternities and sororities. 

From professional organizations, to cultural, social and multicultural groups, Binghamton University offers 44 University-recognized fraternities and sororities for students to explore. Each organization has its own history, traditions and major events, as well as a distinct philanthropy, such as the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Children's Miracle Network Hospitals, American Cancer Society and many more. 

The sororities and fraternities at Binghamton offer members countless service, growth and leadership opportunities to improve themselves — and our University community — while fostering diversity, leadership, scholarship and service. To learn how to join a fraternity or sorority at Binghamton, students can explore the Fraternity and Sorority Life website.

Applications open for 2023 Student Awards Gala

Binghamton University’s Division of Student Affairs is excited to host the annual Student Awards Gala again this spring! We're dedicated to honoring and recognizing the outstanding achievements of our students who shine in and out of the classroom, who lead by example and who have made significant contributions to the University community.

Nominations for this year's awards open this Monday, Feb. 20, with all application materials due Friday, March 24. Applications can be completed on B-Engaged. We encourage all students to apply and/or nominate a fellow student for the award that best fits their accomplishments! 

For the complete list of awards, additional information about applying and more, students should visit the Student Awards Gala website.

Strengthen body and mind with fitness

Finding balance is an important aspect of the college (and life) experience. A membership to the FitSpace fitness center can help students develop healthy habits that strengthen their bodies — and minds — outside of the classroom. FitSpace, located in the East Gym, is filled with a wide variety of equipment and knowledgeable staff to support all levels of activity and physical fitness.

Staff certified in personal training are available to help gym-goers with questions about form or using the machines. Equipment includes cardio machines (e.g. treadmills, ellipticals, powermills, assault runners, arc trainers), selectorized strength equipment, over 30 free weight stations and a functional training area with elements like battle ropes, TRX bands, monkey bars and punching bag.

A fitness membership also includes access to group fitness classes. Classes target cardiovascular fitness, muscle toning and strengthening, flexibility and mind-body wellness. Our enthusiastic and dedicated group fitness instructors provide a safe, fun and effective class aimed at educating your students about total body fitness, health and wellness.

The facility is open from 5:45 a.m.–11:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.–8 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m.–10 p.m. Sunday. It’s conveniently located on the main campus for students to exercise in between or after classes, with a campus shuttle stop nearby.

To learn more and to purchase a fitness membership, visit Campus Recreation online. 

Win your student a prize in BUDS Facebook contests

Social media platforms have quickly become a cornerstone to present-day communication; making it quick and easy to get information and engage. Binghamton University Dining Services (BUDS) is excited to connect with our Bearcats and their families through Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok.

Students and their families are encouraged to follow us on social media to stay up to date on all things BUDS: new menu items, upcoming events, closures, birthday giveaways and — new this semester — Facebook giveaways!

You can enter to win your student a special prize in our monthly Facebook  contests each month. Prizes will range from a dozen cookies, to a $25 C-Store Shopping Spree and even a Finals Survival Kit. Make sure to follow us and keep an eye out for the first Facebook giveaway post, coming mid-February!

Financial Aid and Student Records are here to help!

For all servicing options, hours of operation, document submission upload instructions, and much more, visit the following websites:

Document submission: All documents can be uploaded securely through the myBinghamton portal. Click on Financial Aid and Student Records Document Submission (available links section on the left side of the page).

2023–24 FAFSA application

FAFSA filing news! The 2023–24 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) became available Oct. 1, 2022. You can file your FAFSA online.

Students/parents will report 2021 tax information on the 2023–24 FAFSA. Reporting accurate tax information is simple with the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, which ensures accurate and streamlined FAFSA filing. 

2022-24 New York state aid

To apply for New York state aid, students must complete a New York State Student Aid Payment Application. This application provides a single conduit for applying for payment of all state grants, scholarships and awards, which includes TAP, Excelsior (requires initial separate application as well) and STEM (requires initial separate application as well). Students and parents have the option to link directly to the application from the FAFSA submission confirmation page or complete the application by going to the N.Y. State Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC) webpage. Note that students must be studying full time for most NYS grants and scholarships.

All aspects of the TAP application and applications for their respective awards must be complete for the awards to be sent from the HESC. 

Student Debt Relief suspended until further notice, no longer accepting applications

For information about the Biden-Harris administration's Student Debt Relief Plan, refer to the Federal Student Aid (FSA) webpage.

Student loan payment pause extended…again

No payments are required and no interest is accruing on federal student and parent loans (even if students are not in repayment) at this time. Per the Department of Education, “The student loan payment pause is extended until the U.S. Department of Education is permitted to implement the debt relief program or the litigation is resolved. Payments will restart 60 days later. If the debt relief program has not been implemented and the litigation has not been resolved by June 30, 2023 — payments will resume 60 days after that.”  For more information, visit the Federal Student Aid website.

2022–23 Parent PLUS Loan — another option for funding your student's education

Parents can apply online using their FSA username and password. For more general information about Parent PLUS loans, visit the financial aid PLUS loan webpage

Proxy access available for financial aid information

"Proxy access" is the ability students have to grant others access to view their financial aid information in BU BRAIN. For more information about proxy access and instructions for students, visit the proxy access webpage

2023–24 financial aid award notification timeline

Financial aid award notifications for the 2023–24 academic year (fall 2023 and spring 2024) will be emailed to returning students with a valid FAFSA on file beginning mid-March 2023.

Scholarship reminder

Students who received a renewable scholarship based on “demonstrated financial need” in 2022–23 must file their 2023-24 FAFSA no later than March 1 in order to meet the conditions to have their scholarship renewed. Email reminders to the students affected were sent in December letting them know the deadline of March 1. If you are not sure if a scholarship is renewable, students can check by clicking on the scholarship in their award offer found on the Financial Aid tab of BU BRAIN. Details pertaining to their specific scholarship and any terms or conditions for renewal can be found there.

Education Abroad for summer 2023 or fall 2023

Is your student considering education abroad? If yes, once accepted to an education abroad program, we encourage financial aid applicants to meet with a financial aid counselor to discuss costs and funding options. Students must submit a copy of the program acceptance letter and a detailed program cost sheet. For more information visit the Financial Aid webpage.

Loan repayment

Graduating seniors were sent an email notification in mid-December about loan repayment information if they borrowed federal loans as an undergraduate student. 

To learn more about federal repayment information and options, check out the Department of Education’s loan repayment, loan consolidation, and loan forgiveness webpages

Note: If your student will be continuing their education in graduate school, loan repayment may be delayed based on the type and terms of the loan(s). Students should contact their loan servicer and/or private lender for more detailed information and to keep them informed of enrollment plans.

Important information for N.Y. state college graduates:  The NYS Get on Your Feet Loan Forgiveness Program provides up to 24 months of federal student loan debt relief for eligible students.

Student Records

For more information visit the Student Records website.

Spring 2023 semester important dates

  • Jan. 17–May 4, 2023
  • Change of grade option deadline is 4:30 p.m. Friday, March 17.
  • Course withdrawal deadline is 11:59 p.m. Friday, March 17.

Spring 2023 proof of enrollment

Proof of enrollment for spring 2023 will be available online through the National Student Clearinghouse in the first week of February. Students can access this through their BU Brain account. Click Student tab, then Student Services Tools.

Graduating seniors — applications for degree

Currently enrolled undergraduates intending to graduate in spring 2023 must complete the online Application for Degree (AFD) available on BU Brain in order to receive their degree. Students must submit an AFD by March 15 at the latest to be included in the spring commencement program.

Students completing coursework at another school in spring 2023 must email degree@binghamton.edu to complete their Application for Degree.

If you have difficulty locating or completing the Application for Degree on BU Brain, email degree@binghamton.edu.

University Withdrawal for the spring semester

After the spring 2023 semester has begun, students seeking to withdraw completely from the University must complete the University withdrawal form. The semester withdrawal form is required for students who wish to drop ALL courses and who want their academic record to indicate in good standing. The deadline to withdraw from the spring semester is 4:30 p.m. on the last day of classes, Thursday, May 4.

DegreeWorks Audit

Students should review their DegreeWorks audit to ensure their spring 2023 courses are meeting degree requirements. 

Clear holds

Be sure to clear all holds that may prevent registration. Holds can be viewed online through BU BRAIN.

Lost IDs

Students can request a replacement ID card through my.binghamton.edu or send us an email (using their official Binghamton University email account — emails from other accounts cannot be processed) with their name and B-number to idcard@binghamton.edu.

  • There is a $20 fee for all replacement ID cards, which will be assessed to the student’s bill in Student Accounts.
  • Students will need a photo ID to pick up their card. Acceptable forms of ID include: driver’s license, passport, high school or other university photo ID.

Official expedited electronic transcripts are available

In addition to free official paper transcripts, we offer official expedited electronic transcripts. There is a $5 charge per recipient for the expedited service. More information about electronic transcript service is available online.


Parents: Follow us on social media, just for you!

Follow Binghamton University Bearcat Families Facebook page and @binghamtonfamily on Instagram to receive daily news and information from Binghamton University, as well as win fun prizes just for parents!

Visiting Binghamton?

If you're planning a trip to Binghamton, visit the Visiting Binghamton section on our website or the Greater Binghamton Convention and Visitors Bureau for information on what to see, where to stay and where to eat while you're here.

Update parent information

Keep your contact information updated in our parent database. If your address, phone or email has changed, send a note to families@binghamton.edu to let us know. And if you're looking for more from us, check out some of our pages targeted directly to parents and guardians:

Calendar of events

How to unsubscribe

If you no longer have a need to receive this newsletter, you can unsubscribe by sending a message to families@binghamton.edu.