OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

Parents & Families Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What resources are available to me as a parent of an OSU student?

As a parent of a current OSU student, our office and many others across campus are here to serve you as much as we are here to serve your student. Many offices such as the New Student Programs and Family Outreach (NSPAFO) office and the Admissions office have websites dedicated to parents. Also, if you call University at 1-800-291-4192, you can be connected to a number of campus offices who are always happy to answer your questions.

What is FERPA, and why does it make it so hard for me to obtain information about my son/daughter?

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974, also known as the Buckley Amendment, is a federal law regarding the privacy and confidentiality of student records at a state-supported institution of higher education. FERPA, and the corresponding Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS) 351.065, and Oregon Administrative Rule (ORA) 580-013-0005 of the State Board of Higher Education afford students certain rights with respect to their educational records. Refer to the OSU Registrar's office for more information regarding FERPA and other information regarding the confidentiality of student records at the Registrar's office.

How do I work with my son/daughter to obtain information regarding their housing and dining?

Please talk with your student and develop a communication plan for sharing information. Students who wish to allow identified individuals access to specific housing and dining information may do so by completing the Information Release Form. This form expires 90 days after submission to University Housing and Dining Services.

How do I make sure my son/daughter is assigned to housing they want?

We work hard to assign students to housing accommodations they selected on their housing application. However, depending upon the date the application is completed, and the popularity of their preferred halls with returning students, we may be unable to assign students to one of their top choices. If a student has a requested roommate, we work to accommodate the roommate request before any hall or programmatic requests. If your student is unhappy with their room assignment, they are encouraged to contact our office at any time during the summer assignment process to request to be placed on a waiting list for an assignment change. Summer assignment changes are contingent upon space availability within all the halls.

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I am not sure how your "Roommate Matching Network™" works. Could you please explain the process?

Our housing application has a search tool called the Roommate Matching Network™ that allows students to take control of choosing their roommate based on their individual criteria of an "ideal" roommate. When students fill out their housing application online they will answer a number of questions regarding their living preferences. Students have the option to search for potential roommates using the answers to the "yes, no, no preference" profile questions, or their own keywords. Using this search feature, students are able to find and connect with a student, and potentially forge a relationship and roommate match. Students who do not wish to find their own roommate will be assigned with someone based on their building preferences and their answers to the "yes and no" profile questions.

Can you help me understand the housing and dining charges on my son/daughter's account? What exactly am I paying for?

On the bill your student will receive via email the housing charges are broken up into two charges. The room costs and the meal plan cost. The room cost will appear on the bill similar to this- UHDS-West Dbl. The room cost is what you are paying for your room. This includes electricity, phone, extended basic cable television, high speed network internet access, water, garbage, general hall and bathroom cleaning, and other housing related expenses. This also includes money used to put on programs and activities and to operate the Residence Hall Association (RHA) or Inter Cooperative Association (ICA). The meal plan cost will appear on the bill similar to this- Dining-Board Plan. This is for dining on campus. This includes money on your meal plan (money you can spend on meals), as well as other fixed dining costs. The fixed costs go towards paying for the types of food available, hours the dining centers are open, staffing, utilities for the dining center and other dining related expenses.

There are many different fees assessed to all students attending Oregon State University each term. Here is an explanation of some of the most common charges:

Building Fee A fee assessed each term to all students attending Oregon University System colleges and universities. The funds are pooled on a statewide basis from which building projects are funded for non-instructional buildings. These projects include recreational and student union types of buildings.

Counseling/Health Services Fee Assessed to all students each term. Rates are established on each campus and vary, depending upon such factors as enrollment, level of service offered to students, and operating costs of the facilities. The fee entitles the student to avail him or herself of the health care and counseling services offered at the University. It is required as a prerequisite to purchasing student health insurance. The fee is not health insurance.

Technology Fee A fee assessed each term to all students designated for technology-oriented projects providing services to students. Funding has made possible the expansion of student computer labs on campus and provided access to the computer center, web and email.

With the exception of the building fee, all fees above are initiated on each campus. The State Board of Higher Education sanctions all fees. All fees are mandatory for all OSU admitted students in accordance with Board policy. Authority has been granted institutions for summer session only to waive fees for services not available to the student.

Matriculation Fee The Matriculation fee covers the cost of pre-enrollment services offered by OSU. These include, but are not limited to, the following: Open houses, orientation programs, and special advising services for transfer and distance education students. This fee is charged only once, during the first term a student is enrolled in OSU courses.

When are bills due? Where are they sent?

OSU no longer sends account statements through the mail. Students will receive a billing notification through their ONID email. Payments can be made online through eBill, or at the Cashier's Office.

What is the $45 housing application processing fee for? Can this amount be refunded? Is the $45 a part of the advanced tuition deposit (ATD)?

The $45 housing application processing fee pays for the receipt and processing of a students housing application. This fee is only assessed to students who have a room and board contract with us for Fall 2013 and is assessed with those charges on their OSU student account at that time. The advance tuition deposit (ATD) is a deposit toward the first terms tuition costs, and does not include the housing application processing fee. 

It seems that my son/daughter is having a hard time adjusting to college. How can I help them through this process?

It is often a tough transition time for both students and parents during the first year of college. OSU has an excellent service through University Counseling and Psychological Services. University Counseling and Psychological Services provides a variety of services to help students address the challenges and difficulties they face. These services are designed to help students understand themselves better, create and maintain satisfying relationships, improve their academic performance, and make healthy and satisfying career and life choices. Your student can make an appointment with any of the counselors on hand - the sessions are free (covered by OSU student fees).

My son/daughter is not getting along with his/her roommate. What should I do?

Have your son/daughter connect with their Resident Assistant (RA) to fill out a Roommate Contract with their roommate. This informal contract will offer each student boundaries and expectations that they can lay out for each other, and agree to adhere to. If the situation progresses past a point of reconciliation or mediation, we do allow students to make a room or building change. They can do this by contacting their Resident or Cooperative Director and obtaining a Room Change Form. They will need to work with their Service Center to identify a new placement and complete the room change process.

I haven't heard from my son/daughter in a few days. Should I be worried?

It depends on whether or not several days between contacts with your student is abnormal. Many new college students are exploring new boundaries and communication patterns with parents or family members can often change during this time. It may be helpful to set up a plan of communication with the time, method and frequency that you are both comfortable with. If you are concerned about your student, we are able to do a wellness check to ensure they are safe, and ask them to contact you. Please contact the central housing office (541) 737-4771 if you are concerned with your student's well being.

My son/daughter is not happy in his/her current living environment. What can I do?

Have your son/daughter follow these steps to talk about a possible room change. The first room change for students is free of charge. Your student will work with their Resident Director to fill out a room change form and will then work with their service center to find a better living environment for them on campus.

My son/daughter is running out of money on his/her food card. How can I add more money?

Your student can conveniently add money online through the OSU Orange Rewards program or in person at the ID Center.  Your son/daughter can give you access to add money online.

How can I find out if my son/daughter has gotten into trouble in the halls?

If a student has violated a University regulation or a UHDS policy, we are obligated to keep that information private. We can not release that information to those without a direct "need-to-know", the press or parents. The best way for you to learn about how well your student is doing at OSU is from conversations with him or her. Many students do not feel comfortable telling parents about alleged violations. If you ask about their behavior choices, it may help to provide an opportunity for the student to share about issues in the hall (whether they were caught or not).

It is important to know that if a student is documented for an alleged violation, we do have a due process for addressing that report. You can read more about this process, our conduct philosophy and behavior expectations in the UHDS Policy Guide.