Parent Connect monthly newsletter

April 2017

April Thompson

  Dear Parents/Families,

  I find myself saying the same thing at this time every year: Where         has the time gone? It amazes me how quickly the spring semester       flies by; perhaps it’s because everyone – students, faculty and staff     alike – has been so busy.

  And that’s one reason why we’re gearing up for Stress-Free Spring,     our annual program to help ease what is often a very stressful time for students. This year’s program begins Monday, May 1, and will run through the end of finals Wednesday, May 17. We’ll have a complete schedule of stress-free activities online soon, as you’ll learn in this newsletter.

We’re also excited for our soon-to-be graduating seniors, though it’s hard to see them go. After finals, we host nine Commencement ceremonies in just three days, making Commencement Weekend one of the busiest the campus experiences each year. If your student is graduating, you can find all you need to know about on our website, and some nuts-and-bolts information below.

Meanwhile, I remind you that we’re always here for your students. Our Case Management Team – which we call our CARE Team (Consultation, Assessment, Referral, Education) – stands ready to assist students at all levels of concern. To reach our CARE Team, simply contact my office at 607-777-2804 or


April Thompson
Associate Vice President and Dean of Students


President Harvey Stenger's Road Map Quarterly Report

Binghamton University President Harvey Stenger has released his quarterly report for the months of January through March 2017. Learn about Binghamton University’s activities and initiatives in his report and those of the vice presidents for academic affairs, advancement, operations, student affairs, research and the director of athletics, chief diversity officer and Binghamton University Foundation.


If you have a graduating senior, you likely have your plans set to come to Commencement. Be ready for a very special time with your student – and lots of activity! Binghamton holds nine ceremonies at the Events Center, starting with one for our doctoral and master’s students at the Graduate School ceremony at 3:30 p.m. Friday, May 19. We hold ceremonies for our professional schools on Saturday, and three ceremonies for Harpur College graduates on Sunday.

We’ll award four honorary degrees to: sports writer, broadcaster and television personality Tony Kornheiser ’70, who will speak at the 8:30 a.m. Harpur ceremony Sunday, May 21; Easter Island archaeologist Sergio Rapu Haoa, who will speak at the Graduate School ceremony; former senior vice president for America Online Geraldine MacDonald ’68, MS ’73, who will speak at the Watson School ceremony; and contemporary Jewish fiction writer Nathan Englander ’91, who will speak at the noon Harpur ceremony.   

Guests will also hear student speakers at each of the undergraduate ceremonies. We won’t announce them here, though, because some of the selected students plan to surprise their families!

The Commencement Committee has been meeting throughout the academic year to prepare for the pomp and circumstance of the weekend. For the complete schedule, frequently asked questions and all the details, visit the Commencement website

Stress-Free Spring

As the semester winds down, stress levels often ramp up, so the Office of the Dean of Students is again coordinating Stress-Free Spring. The de-stress events calendar will begin Monday, May 1, and run through the end of finals on Wednesday, May 17. Stress-Free Spring provides fun, interactive programming for our students to help reduce the high levels of stress associated with final exams, cope with and channel their stress in productive ways, increase their awareness of resources available to help them end the semester successfully and – most importantly – to see them happy!

Campus departments and student organizations are currently planning and submitting their events to the official calendar, which will go live April 28. When it goes live, the full events calendar will be available online. 

Inaugural Summer College for high-school students

This summer, Binghamton University launches Binghamton Summer College, a two-week program that provides an early college experience for academically talented, rising high-school juniors and seniors.

Scheduled to run from Sunday, July 16, through Friday, July 28, the experience will offer students a preview into what college life at a premier public university is all about -- in the company of other engaged students.

There are many reasons your students should apply. Opportunities include:

  • taking courses such as "Intro to Engineering," "Speech and Debate," "Behind the Scenes at the Museum" and many others, taught by distinguished Binghamton faculty
  • living in Binghamton's modern residence halls
  • meeting other talented high-school students
  • learning about the college admission process and financial aid

Applications are available now! The deadline to submit an application is Monday, May 1, but earlier applications are encouraged as programs have limited enrollment.

We hope you'll encourage your high-school students to spend some of their summer learning with us!

Senior Survey

Congratulations on being a parent or family member of an upcoming Binghamton University graduating senior! Your student will be faced with many details during these last few weeks of the semester. One of these is the University's Senior Survey.

Each semester prior to Commencement, Binghamton University surveys graduating seniors to collect information about their post-graduation career plans. This information helps us to better understand the career pathways of our graduating seniors which, in turn, helps us make decisions about resources, program improvements and trends.

Encourage your student to participate in the survey, which is sent to campus email addresses. It should only take three minutes to complete and those who complete the survey may be eligible to win one of many prizes!

Senior Days

Campus Activities is currently working with the Alumni Office, the Multicultural Resource Center, Commencement and the University Bookstore to plan "Seniors Days." Throughout the month of May, events and programs will be held for graduating seniors. The kickoff began earlier this month with a new event: Party 46.

Binghamton University was founded in 1946, so with 46 days left before graduation, seniors had the chance to win prizes, learn more about the history of Binghamton University and think through what they wanted to accomplish before the 46 days are up.

There are plenty of events leading up to Senior Days (May 18 and 19) – many just for seniors – including a Lavendar Graduation on May 4, Spring Fling on May 6, a Senior Sunrise run with President Harvey Stenger on the last day of classes (May 9), a Commencement Brunch on May 14, and more. The complete Senior Days schedule can be found online

Students: Seeking success through Summer Session!

Is your student looking to get ahead in his or her academic studies? Or to satisfy Gen Ed requirements? Will they need to make up a course? Or complete professional school pre-requirements? Would they prefer to explore special topics of interest or take that hard-to-register-for class? Whatever their academic goals may be, Summer Session can help students achieve them.

Binghamton University’s 2017 Summer Session offers a full range of online and classroom-based courses from May 30 through Aug. 8. Term 1 courses run from May 30 through June 30, and Term 2 courses run from July 5 through August. Other courses —those with variable length and variable start/end dates — are offered during Term 3.

Of particular interest are our perennially popular online courses, which students can take from home. Online courses are smart choices that reduce the cost of attending Summer Session, as students do not require on-campus housing to “attend” class. 

Additionally, faculty who teach online courses are carefully trained by instructional designers from the University’s Center for Learning and Teaching, promoting courses of the highest quality.

We invite you and your student to take a closer look at the Summer Session courses we offer; there are sure to be numerous courses among the many available that address his or her curricular needs. 

Once students find something that piques their interest, they can explore our pages on:

Financial Aid and Student Records

Did you file the 2017-18 FAFSA yet?

Students can complete the 2017-18 FAFSA online. Parents and students will use 2015 tax return information to apply. Be sure Binghamton’s school code – 002836 – is listed.    

Eligible students who have their 2017-18 FAFSA information sent to Binghamton University can expect financial aid award offer e-notifications beginning mid-April.

Important FAFSA news!

The IRS Data Retrieval Tool, which allows students and parents to transfer tax information directly to the FAFSA, is unavailable until the start of the next FAFSA season, according to the Department of Education.

When completing the 2017-18 FAFSA, manually input your 2015 tax information.

Still required to provide 2015 tax information?

Students and parents required to provide 2015 tax information must submit a 2015 Tax Return Transcript, if filed. Go online for instructions on obtaining a 2015 Tax Return Transcript.  

Summer 2017 financial aid

Students wishing to use their federal direct loans to help pay for their summer courses must be in good standing, have their 2017-18 FAFSA on file and complete a 2017-18 Summer Loan Request Form, which can be found on the forms page.

For information on how to finance summer session, visit our website

Parent PLUS Loan – another option for funding your student

The Parent PLUS loan is taken out by the parent of an undergraduate student to aid in paying for the student’s education. Learn more and apply for this loan online. Applications for 2017-2018 will be available May 1, 2017, and processing begins July 1, 2017.

Parent PLUS loan borrowers: Remember that there will be a 4.272 percent origination fee deducted from your loan before it is applied to your student's account. Make sure to account for this fee when you indicate the amount you would like to borrow on your application. If you select the exact amount of the account balance there may be a balance remaining even after your loan is applied.

Scholarship opportunity

Attention full-time students with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher who plan to return full time to Binghamton University for fall 2017 and spring 2018:You may be eligible to apply for a Binghamton University scholarship being offered for the 2017-18 academic year! The deadline to apply is Monday, April 24, 2017. Details and a link to the applications are available on the web.   

Proxy Access available for financial aid information

"Proxy access" allows students to grant others access to view their financial aid information in BU BRAIN. Have your student go online for more information on proxy access and how to setup their account.

Summer 2017 registration and advanced registration for fall 2017 now open

Students can complete the following online through BU BRAIN:

  • View the online schedule of summer and fall classes
  • Register for summer classes.
  • View their registration start time for fall 2017 and register for fall classes once their registration time has begun.
  • Note: students must clear all holds before any registration activity can take place.

Official expedited electronic transcripts now available! 

In addition to providing free paper official transcripts, we now offer official expedited electronic transcripts. There is a $5 USD charge per recipient for the expedited service. Learn about this new electronic transcript service online.

Residential Life

  • Residential communities' spring events

All of our communities have fun spring events planned to provide a much-needed break from winter. Have your student check their community traditions and the Residential Events calendar on our home page for upcoming competitions, dances, concerts and dinners. It’s a great way to de-stress before finals and make connections with friends and faculty for next semester. 

  • Residential Communities' Recognition Ceremonies

Is your student graduating in May? Don’t miss their Community Recognition Ceremony! Each area has its own, and it’s a great complement to the formal (and big) graduation ceremony in the Events Center. If you plan to attend, RSVPs must be completed by May 2, and can be found online.

  • Summer housing        

If your student requires housing on campus during the summer, we have housing available in the Apartment Communities. For more information, terms, rates and reservation, visit our website

Learn more about the Parents Leadership Council!

If you’re interested in supporting student success, creating engagement opportunities for families and philanthropy, we hope you’ll consider joining the Parents Leadership Council at Binghamton! This council is designed to serve as the link between Binghamton University and parents of our undergraduate students. Learn more about our current members or e-mail Morgan Appel Kenyon to find out how you can get involved! 

Get more involved now

Active and involved parents make a difference at Binghamton by offering charitable support. Parent giving to the Binghamton Fund continues to have a significant impact on the student experience, providing internships, research and networking opportunities, and other life-changing educational experiences for students like yours.

Your gift matters. Go online or contact the Binghamton Fund at 607-777-6209.

Parents-Facebook just for you!

Like the Bearcats Family Association Facebook page today so you can 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 e-mail has changed, send a note to 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

  • University's Academic Calendar
  • April 18: Classes resume
  • May 4: Lavender Graduation
  • May 6: Spring Fling
  • May 9: Last day of classes
  • May 10: Reading Day I
  • May 11-12: Finals
  • May 13-14: Reading Days II
  • May 15-17: Finals
  • May 18-19: Senior Days
  • May 19: Graduate School Commencement
  • May 20: Professional schools Commencement ceremonies
  • May 21: Harpur College Commencement ceremonies
  • May 30: Summer Session Term I begins

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Last Updated: 4/7/17