Release of Information | Campus Emergency | Death in Family | Student Illness | Computers | Health Services | Health Insurance | Advice | Athletics | Roommates | Safe Walk | Jobs | Cars | Bus Service | International Students | Services for Students with Disabilities | Birthday Cakes | Bookstore | Privacy | Academic Performance | Research | Yearbooks
Q: What type of information can the Dean of Students Office provide to me about my son or daughter?
We are bound by federal law -- the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) -- to protect student privacy. We cannot violate confidentiality or provide information that violates this law, which protects the privacy of student educational records and gives students (over the age of 18 years or attending an institution of higher education) the right to access and correct their records. In addition, information contained in the educational records, beyond directory information, cannot be shared without the student's written consent.
The University will contact parents/guardians in most instances of health emergencies, serious accidents, or other serious medical or psychological conditions, including those that arise out of alcohol or other drug overdose when it has been made aware of such incidents. The student’s consent to speak with parents/guardians is sought whenever practical. The University will, however, continue to rely on the judgment of its staff when assessing each situation to determine when to notify parents.
For nonemergency situations in which students are seeking medical or psychological treatment, including treatment for substance abuse, the campus respects client/provider confidentiality in accordance with established state and federal laws. In such instances, communication with parents/guardians is only with the permission of the student, who must sign a “Release of Student Information” form. These are available upon request.
In general, the University does not communicate with parents/guardians regarding matters of student conduct. However, when dependent students are involved in a series of minor violations or a single serious violation, communication with parents/guardians may occur through the sanctioning or other administrative process.
Learn more about FERPA.
Q: What do I do if there is a death in the family?
Most faculty and staff are understanding when a student is absent due to a family death or emergency. Our office can contact professors and other appropriate personnel and offices to notify them of your student's absence. We require documentation (for example, an obituary or funeral announcement) to verify the reason for your child's absence.
Q: What if my son or daughter is injured or becomes seriously ill?
As in the case of a family emergency or death, the Office of the Dean of Students can notify professors and other appropriate people of a student's absence due to injury or illness. Our office requires documentation (for example, a doctor's note or letter from a primary-care provider) to verify your child's injury or illness. If the injury or illness requires the student miss a significant number of classes, medical withdrawal or cancellation of registration may be necessary and our office will facilitate that process.
Q: Where can my son or daughter get help with computer challenges?
Information Technology Services hires and trains students to be residence hall consultants. Called 'Res Cons' for short, they help students with personal computer concerns. Each of the 'pods' -- areas where University computers are available for student use -- also has staff who can assist students using machines there. The Help Desk at 607-777-6420 is another source of help for all campus computer users.
Q: What health services are offered at Binghamton?
The Decker Student Health Services Center is a nationally-accredited ambulatory care clinic offering primary medical care to students on a walk-in basis. Registered nurses, physicians, nurse practitioners, health educators, an alcohol/drug counselor and an HIV test counselor are available for students. There is no inpatient or overnight service, but referrals are made to local hospitals as needed. Harpur's Ferry, the student-operated ambulance service, provides emergency care and transportation "24-7" when classes are in session.
Q: Does the University require health insurance?
Yes. Full-time undergraduate students are enrolled automatically in the student sickness and accident insurance plan unless proof of alternate coverage is provided when requested. Although campus health services are prepaid by the health fee, off-campus medical expenses often are high. Without adequate health insurance, such expenses can hinder recommended medical treatment, undermine a good family credit rating, or even disrupt schooling. Because some managed care plans severely limit coverage for students not living at home, parents need to learn the coverage limits of their insurance carrier, including coverage for students studying abroad. Enrollment in the University-sanctioned student health plan may be a good investment for your family. The carrier is United Health Care, administered by Niagara National Insurance (800-444-5530).
Q: What resources are available for personal or career advice?
Academic advising offices in each school, the Career Development Center, the Discovery Program's mentoring and tutoring services, the Writing Center and EOP's Campos Robeson Tutorial Center all provide services that support student development. Helping students grow personally and academically are very important University goals. Please see the University Bulletin and student support services webpages for details.
Q: What is the status of the University’s participation in intercollegiate athletics?
The University’s 21 varsity teams compete in Division I of the NCAA. Many teams compete in the America East Conference, and have made excellent progress in the few years since joining "D1." Details of athletic successes and the academic profile of our teams may be found at http://www.bubearcats.com. The Events Center has added a great deal of class to facilities for athletic and other activities, including Commencement. If you haven’t seen it yet, be sure to visit during the next basketball season or sooner.
Q: How and when can students change roommates if things haven't worked out well?
If residents, working with their resident assistant (RA) or resident director (RD), find that differences among roommates cannot be ironed out, changes can be requested. Residents can place their name on a waiting list beginning on Monday of the second week of classes. Depending on space, changes can be made as early as the third week of classes. Living with a stranger may be difficult at first, but most students soon become friends, and learn much from each other. Some even become best friends. Review our Residence Life webpages for more information.
Q: Is there a safe alternative to walking alone on campus at night or during early morning hours?
The University's Safe Ride and Safe Walk Program provide a trained student or University Police staff member to escort students on campus. Students simply call 7-2393 from any phone on campus to gain assistance. A Safe Ride van also circles the campus from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. every night during the academic year. All students are urged to take advantage of this service if they do not wish to walk alone on campus. Additional information about University Police services may be found at www.binghamton.edu/police.
Q: Where can students without financial need find part-time employment during the school year?
The Office of Student Financial Aid and Employment helps students find jobs on campus and in the community. Go to http://bingfa.binghamton.edu for details, as well as information about scholarships and loans.
Q: Can students have cars on campus?
All students except freshmen who live on campus may park properly registered vehicles in appropriate spaces on the surface lots. Students should be careful to learn and follow parking regulations in order to avoid being ticketed for infractions. Freshmen who commute from homes locally may register a vehicle. Visit our Parking Services webpages for more information.
Q: How important is it to have a car for use during the school year?
Most students can make their way around the community by using the campus-based OCCT blue buses or the Broome County Transit buses, both of which provide several routes between the campus and the community throughout the day and evening. There is no fare to pay when riding either bus, as the transportation fee paid with tuition and other fees take care of costs. When traveling home for vacations, students may use the Ride Board in the University Union and locate another student driving to the same locale, or buy a ticket from ESCAPE, the student charter bus service. Also, Greyhound and Shortline bus companies have terminals in Binghamton. There is air service from the Binghamton Regional Airport, about seven miles north of the city.
Q: Where can international students turn if they have questions or concerns?
The Office of International Student and Scholar Services offers a very wide range of helpful services for students from abroad. The ISSS-BU listserv and the office's website are both extremely useful.
Q: Who helps students with physical or learning disabilities?
Services for Students with Disabilities provides a range of services and staff who both care about and advocate for students eligible for their services. Students with physical, learning or other disabilities are welcomed. You or your student may contact the office by phone at 607-777-2686 (Voice/TT) or visit the website for more information.
Q: Where can I order a birthday cake to be delivered to my son or daughter?
The Catering Department of Sodexo is happy to deliver cakes to students living on campus to celebrate a birthday or other important event. Just call Catering at 607-777-2925 for assistance. In addition, Sodexo offers "Gifts University" in conjunction with 800flowers.com to provide a wide array of gift items, including flowers, balloons, and gift baskets. You can get more information on both cake orders and Gifts University at www.BUdining.com.
Q: Does the bookstore mail gifts home?
Gifts may be ordered by phone or website and mailed to your home. If you purchase a gift for your student while he or she is on campus, he or she would pick up the gift at the Bookstore. The Bookstore website at http://binghamton.bkstore.com lists gifts and arrangements for purchasing them.
Q: How can I get information about how my son or daughter is doing in school?
Campus policy on student information provided to parents/guardians has been developed within the provisions of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Your best source of information about your student is your student.
Q: How do students perform academically at Binghamton?
We are delighted that 91 percent of our freshmen return for their sophomore year, 68 percent graduate in four years and 78 percent graduate in five years. Those figures are far above national averages for almost every group of colleges and universities. Students who work with academic advisers each year typically get the courses they need to graduate on time, and are able to take advantage of many options, including double majors, study abroad, etc.
Q: How can my student participate in faculty research projects?
A student's professors or an academic advisor, mentor or member of the dean's staff can direct a student to faculty whose research is in an area of interest to the student. Students need to be well-prepared in the subject area, whether history or biology or another, then register for independent study in that area. Students work one-on-one or in small groups with a professor and/or his or her research team. In Harpur College, 25 percent of all undergraduates conduct research through the independent study process.
Q: When do students get a yearbook photo taken and order a yearbook?
Photos are taken each fall in October or November, then taken again in January for those who missed the fall sessions. Students are reminded of the dates, and parents are notified by letter to remind them to encourage student participation. Yearbooks are handed out in person in May. About 1,000 seniors purchased a book last year.