Parent Connect Newsletter

July 2021

Johann M. Fiore-Conte

Dear parents and families,

The long summer days of July typically signal the very beginnings of a new academic year as students begin arriving on campus for Orientation activities. This year is still a little different, but so much closer to “normal” than this time last year, as we prepared to launch an unprecedented semester. I know students, faculty and staff alike are relieved that all signs point to a return to the vibrant campus life we’re accustomed to and long for this fall.

Last semester was difficult for all of us as we continued to adapt and pivot in response to rapidly changing public health guidelines and uncertainty about the future. Our students forged ahead in their academic pursuits, focusing on what they needed to do — and adhere to — to get us to the end of the semester. Staff organized and ran on-campus surveillance and diagnostic testing centers, organized logistics and support for students in quarantine and isolation (over 900 students during the spring semester alone), and volunteered as COVID consultants, calling students to walk them through their options and provide resources to help them complete quarantine or isolation with as little additional stress as possible. These were just a few of the many supports in place for students.

On the academic side, faculty managed two modes of classroom instruction — in person and virtual, often within the same course — in support of student success. Parents and families were key to our student support team, and we appreciate the value and benefit that family partnerships bring in better supporting our students.     

We completed the semester successfully, some would say with flying colors, by working together, and we are anticipating the coming semester with hope and excitement. I would be remiss not to acknowledge that there will be new struggles as students return this year and we adjust to our “new” normal. Our students have experienced disruption to their educational endeavors, and many are left with unfulfilled expectations of what they thought the last year would bring. I want to assure you that we remain attentive and vigilant to the evolving needs of our students and will continue to support their health and well-being as we all move forward together.  

Thank you in advance for your partnership in this endeavor.

Johann M. Fiore-Conte, MS ‘83
Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Chief Health and Wellness Officer


The latest on vaccinations

Binghamton University is returning to a fully in-person semester for fall 2021, including all academic, co-curricular and research activities, with all vaccinated individuals able to return to in-person classes without wearing masks or socially distancing. 

Students received a message from President Harvey Stenger on Friday, July 9, that directed them to the University's fall 2021 guidance, which can be found online

Very important aspects of our guidelines involve on-campus housing and dining, and may require action from students:

  • Effective Sunday, Aug. 15, only vaccinated students will be allowed to reside on campus, with very few exceptions for students who request and are granted medical or religious exemptions from the COVID-19 vaccine. Note that the deadline for requesting an exemption is Friday, July 23. 
  • Non-vaccinated students will be required to use take-out service only in resident dining halls.
  • Non-vaccinated students will be required to wear masks indoors, unless eating or drinking while seated and socially distanced where practical, or while alone in their room.   

All questions concerning these guidelines should be directed to fall2021@binghamton.edu

In the meantime, the University strongly encourages all students to be vaccinated and to upload proof of vaccination to the Decker Student Health Services secure portal.

Any further updates on vaccinations will be posted to the Decker Student Health Services Vaccination Frequently Asked Questions page and will be communicated to students.

Register for Family Weekend: Sept. 24–26

Binghamton University is a student’s home away from home, and this year we are so excited to invite family members back to campus to make it theirs during Family Weekend! Share the Binghamton experience as you spend time connecting with your student, interacting with faculty and staff, and experiencing what makes being a Bearcat so special.

Family Weekend offers many specially planned events and activities, including open houses, residential community festivities, food, tours and so much more. Registration for Family Weekend opens today!

More information and the registration link can be found at the Family Weekend web page. We look forward to seeing you Sept. 24–26!

New outdoor exercise area coming for fall 2021

Campus Recreation is excited to announce the upcoming installation of the FitCourt near the Recreation Center at the East Gym. The FitCourt is an outdoor fitness area featuring seven functional training zones, where students can perform thousands of bodyweight exercises for a functional, full-body workout. Students will be able to exercise outdoors at their convenience and the area will be lit for evening use.

The grand opening of the FitCourt will take place during University Fest (UFest), scheduled for 11 a.m.–3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 28. Encourage your student to stop by UFest to learn more about the FitCourt, as well as Campus Recreation's other programs like Club Sports, Intramurals, Outdoor Pursuits and Fitness/Wellness. 

President's Summer 2021 Road Map Quarterly Report released

Binghamton University President Harvey Stenger has released his quarterly report for the months of April through June 2021.

Check out the report’s easy-to-navigate pages to learn about how Binghamton University’ is Re-aiming the Road Map, as well as activities and initiatives in his report and those of the vice presidents for academic affairs; advancement; communications and marketing; diversity, equity and inclusion; operations; student affairs; research; and the director of athletics and executive director of the Binghamton University Foundation.

Strelzyn-Witt A-OK Acts of Kindness Scholarship awarded

There are scholarships for athletics, academics and other accomplishments, but one scholarship in particular recognizes students who have made a positive impact on the community through kindness, compassion and caring acts. The Strelzyn-Witt A-OK Acts of Kindness Scholarship provides a substantial scholarship to one undergraduate student each year who shows acts of kindness as part of their normal way of living.  

Congratulations to this year's winner, Maeve Kelly. Kelly is currently studying nursing at Binghamton University and is an active volunteer for the Binghamton Rescue Mission and NoMa (North of Main) community center. Kelly believes building connections with others through kindness is an effective way to tear down barriers and help others feel seen, heard and respected. 

The Binghamton Rescue Mission is a non-profit organization that provides a residence for men who have experienced homelessness or are referred by local agencies. Through her leadership position in student government, Kelly organized multiple service trips with other students living in the Hinman community. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Kelly felt compelled to become more involved with NoMa, a community center located a few blocks from her residence in Binghamton. She volunteers every Saturday to help distribute soup and sandwiches for community members, allowing her to become more connected with her neighbors.

Do you know a student like Maeve Kelly? Students may nominate themselves or be nominated by a fellow peer, faculty or staff member of Binghamton University. Visit the Dean of Students website to learn more about the process.

Are you a Binghamton family from outside of New York state?

Roughly 25% of Binghamton University's domestic students come from states other than New York, whether just over the border in Pennsylvania or across the country in California. We understand that parents and family members of these students face some unique challenges, including fewer opportunities for visits, difficulty in transporting students back and forth for breaks and vacations, and fewer opportunities to volunteer for and participate in parent and family events. The Parent and Family Programs office offers an opt-in Out-of-state Regional Directory to provide a way for Binghamton parents and families to connect with other Bearcats in their state, region and hometown.

Interested in getting involved on our Parents Leadership Council?

Interested in getting involved at Binghamton at the leadership level? Parents of Binghamton students have an opportunity to join the Parents Leadership Council (PLC), whose members complement and support the University's strategic directives and initiatives by acting as advancement advocates for the Division of Student Affairs through private support and outreach. Members participate in quarterly Zoom calls and are invited to campus in the spring semester for an on-campus meeting and reception with President Harvey Stenger and other senior administrators.

If you have questions or would like to talk with a current PLC member, contact Linda Salomons, assistant director for parent and family programs, at families@binghamton.edu

Chosen name policy

Binghamton University believes in creating a welcoming space for all students. One way Binghamton has taken action to meet the needs of our students regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or background is through the chosen-name policy. Due to the critical role one’s name plays in a person’s identity, this policy provides students with the opportunity to indicate their chosen first name if different from their legal name. This policy does not require students or employees to have legally changed their names. Chosen names will be displayed instead of the legal name in University systems that do not have a legal requirement. This is just one way that Binghamton University strives to make all students feel at home. To learn more about the policy, visit the Student Records and Registrar Services website.

Financial Aid and Student Records is here to help! 

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

Document submission: All documents can be uploaded securely by visiting my.binghamton.edu. Click on Financial Aid and Student Records Document Submission (helpful links section on the left side of the page).

Summer 2021 financial aid

Financial aid sources for the summer are available for matriculated Binghamton University undergraduate and graduate students who are in good academic standing. Students enrolled for at least six (6) credits during summer session may be eligible to use Federal Direct Student Loans, Federal Parent PLUS Loans and Private Loans to help finance the summer session. Pell eligible students will receive the award automatically based on eligibility and enrollment.

The 2021 Summer Loan Request Form is now available here.

For more information about the summer session, visit their website.

For more information about financial aid for the summer, please visit their website.

COVID-19 emergency relief flexibilities extended

No interest is accruing on federal student and parent loans through Sept. 30, 2021, due to the COVID-19 emergency. For more information visit the Federal Student Aid website

Fall 2021 Excelsior Scholarship application

The Fall 2021 Excelsior Scholarship application opened on Monday, May 17. The application will close on Aug. 31. Current recipients do not need to file a new Excelsior application, but must file a New York State Student Aid Payment Application every year. . To review eligibility requirements and complete your application, visit the Excelsior Scholarship Program website.

2021–22 New York state aid

To apply for New York state aid, students must complete a New York State Student Aid Payment Application. The payment application provides a single conduit for applying for payment of state grants, scholarships and awards, which includes TAP, Excelsior and STEM. Students and parents have the option to link directly to the application from the FAFSA submission confirmation page or to complete the application by going to the NYS HESC website. Be sure to include Binghamton’s school code (0880). Note that students must be full-time, matriculated New York state residents who qualify based on income and academic requirements.

Students are strongly encouraged to speak with their academic advising office to ensure their fall 2021 coursework meets degree applicability requirements. For more information on the New York state guidelines regarding degree applicability, visit their website.

New York state grants and scholarships will begin posting as ACTUAL awards (instead of ESTIMATED) on student financial aid packages in mid-July. ACTUAL awards are based on information received from the New York state Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC).

Ensuring financial aid bill credit

The fall 2021 semester bill will be generated in early August. If there are any unsatisfied requirements for financial aid, this can prevent your student’s aid from crediting their bill. Your student can check if they have any unsatisfied requirements by logging into their BU Brain account and following the steps below:

1. Login to the myBinghamton Portal.

2. Click on the BU BRAIN Self Service icon on top of the page.

3. Go to the FINANCIAL AID tab, select ELIGIBILITY; choose the appropriate year when prompted for Award Year.

4. View STUDENT REQUIREMENTS.

Information about other common reasons for aid to not appear on the bill is available on the Financial Aid website.

2021–22 Parent PLUS Loan — another option for funding your student’s education

Parents can apply online using their Federal Student Aid username and password. For more general information about Parent PLUS loans, visit the financial aid PLUS loan web page.

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 web page.

Graduating seniors and loan repayment

Is your student graduating this spring and did they borrow student loans to help with educational expenses? Knowledge is power when it comes to repayment. Knowing what to expect, choosing the right repayment plan and staying on top of loan payments can help your student fulfill their financial goals. For helpful repayment tips and resources visit the Federal Student Aid website... and congratulations on your student’s graduation! 

NYS Get On Your Feet Loan Forgiveness Program

The New York State Get on Your Feet Loan Forgiveness Program provides up to 24 months of federal student loan debt relief to recent New York state college graduates who are participating in a federal income-driven repayment plan whose payments are generally capped at 10 percent of their discretionary income. Learn more and find the instructions to apply online.

Student Records

Summer 2021 important dates

  • Summer Session II deadlines: (July 12–Aug. 13)
    Add/drop deadline: 11:59 p.m. July 15
    Change of grade option deadline: 4 p.m. July 30
    Course withdrawal deadline: 11:59 p.m. July 30
  • Students must clear all holds before they can register.

For more information visit the Student Records website.

Graduating Seniors-Applications for Degree

Currently enrolled undergraduates intending to graduate in summer 2021 must complete the online Application for Degree available on BU Brain in order to receive their degree. Students completing coursework at another school in summer 2021 must email degree@binghamton.edu to complete the Application for Degree.

Fall Registration

Advanced registration for the fall semester closed at 11:59 p.m. on the last day of classes, May 18. 

Continuing students will be able to register with a time ticket based on earned credit hours when registration reopens during the add/drop registration period right before the semester begins in August.

Fall Proof of Enrollment

Fall 2021 proof of enrollment will be available online through the National Student Clearinghouse in September after the add/drop deadline, once fall enrollment records have been uploaded to the National Student Clearinghouse. Students can access this through BU Brain. Click Student tab, then Student Services Tools to print an enrollment certificate.

If you have an enrollment verification form that needs to be completed by the Student Records office, email the form to registrar@binghamton.edu and include your student’s name and B number. We will not be able to process these forms until the first day of classes (Aug. 24) or later. 

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.
  • ID Card distribution plans will be posted on the Student Records website.

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.


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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

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