Madison Family Newsletter: November 2022

Madison Family Newsletter: November 2022

Brought to you by the JMU Office of Parent Relations


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The Madison Family Newsletter is created each month by the Office of Parent Relations in partnership with many members of the JMU community. For more family resources, visit our website.

A Letter from Dr. Tim Miller

Hello JMU families,

I hope all of you are doing well and hearing great things from your Dukes.  For your November letter I wanted to provide a few reminders, updates and tips. I’m sure you are all looking forward to seeing your student over Thanksgiving break, so here are just a few things I wanted to share since there will only be three weeks left of the semester once they return.


If you’re not familiar with TimelyCare, I hope you will take a few minutes to learn about it and encourage your student to download it and register. Students can schedule 12 online visits with a licensed mental health provider for counseling as well as psychiatry if needed. There is also a 24/7 TalkNow service for any emergencies students might be facing. These are amazing free services we have added this year, and over 2000 students are using it already. 

Thanksgiving Break

For some of you, Thanksgiving will be your Duke’s first visit home (or at least the longest).  It’s a good idea to have some conversations about expectations before they arrive home. Most of them will sleep for 10-14 hours initially but once they wake up it’s important that they know what’s expected of them. This is the first break when all of their other friends who went away to college will also be home. This means they will often disappear to go find those friends and hang out. 

I want to encourage you to communicate clearly about your expectations regarding seeing family, being at a Thanksgiving meal, going to services as a family, etc. This first visit home is made a lot easier and less stressful for everyone if expectations are clear. Remember that they have been living a college life for several months now so the rules at home will feel very different. 

Picking up and Dropping off for Thanksgiving

I’ve seen some questions about what it will be like picking up and dropping off your Duke at their residence hall around Thanksgiving since there will be football games both Saturdays. Since we won’t find out what time the games will be played until 12 days prior it’s really difficult for us to predict what traffic will be like at this time, but we will adapt as needed once we get that information. Residence Life will share any updated information with you and your student. Please know that we will make sure you can get to your student, even with a busy game day happening at the same time.

Winter is Coming

And for those of you who aren’t familiar with the weather here in the Shenandoah Valley, it can start getting pretty cold so I recommend your student bring home some of their warmer weather clothes and swap out some jackets, sweaters, hoodies and whatever else they like to wear. While I know jackets and hats aren’t “cool”, getting the flu isn’t either. That reminds me, I recommend you also get them the flu vaccine while they are with you over Thanksgiving if they haven’t received it yet. We are already seeing lots of flu in and around JMU so getting this will help. 

Fire Safety

This fall we have already had two fires at off-campus houses that have displaced students. No one was injured in either incident, but that’s because we got very lucky. Please encourage your students to find their smoke detectors in their house and this weekend when the clocks fall back, they should replace the batteries and test them. If they don’t have smoke detectors encourage them to go buy some and install them. This is too large a risk to wait for a landlord to do their job. I have had two experiences recently where students were living with beeping fire alarms for weeks because they had never changed a 9-volt battery and didn’t understand how the fire alarms worked. Help them to know what a 9-volt is and show them how to change it so they can all be safe.

Dukes Weekly

Each Monday at 1 p.m. all JMU students are sent an email called Dukes Weekly. It contains information about upcoming events, volunteer opportunities, jobs on campus and other updates. If you’d like to check it out, we keep an archive on the Dukes Weekly website or you can sign up to receive it each week. Also, we have started to slip in some prizes in the Dukes Weekly and the students who identify the prize are entered into a raffle and this week we had our first $25 Starbucks gift card winner. Encourage your students to read the newsletter so we can communicate with them, and they can hopefully win a prize. 

I hope all of you have an amazing November and get the chance to gather with family during Thanksgiving. Jamie and I will be heading to our favorite place, the Outer Banks, that week and enjoying what I hope will be a quiet week. Every time we go we see some JMU folks so if you see Jamie, Duke Dog and me walking along the Duck Boardwalk, stop us and say hello! 

Take care everyone and Go Dukes!

Dr. Tim Miller

Vice President for Student Affairs

Helpful Information Regarding the Flu (influenza)

Submitted by: Dr. Anne Brenneman, Director, University Health Center

Influenza activity is high in Virginia and JMU is no exception. The following are some tips to share with your students:

  • When flu activity is high, the diagnosis is made on a clinical basis. Medical providers make the diagnosis when a patient has signs and symptoms of the flu including:
    • Fever
    • Headache and body aches
    • Fatigue
    • Upper respiratory symptoms (runny nose, sore throat, cough)
    • Occasionally nausea and vomiting
  • Flu testing is not recommended when flu activity is high.
  • In most people, influenza is a self-limited illness and is treated with rest, fluids and medicine to treat symptoms (such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen).
  • Tamiflu, the antiviral medication, is only recommended for patients with serious underlying medical conditions who are at risk for severe complications. Tamiflu is not typically prescribed for otherwise healthy college-aged patients.
  • Seek medical evaluation if you have any serious medical conditions, have trouble breathing, persistent vomiting or confusion.
  • To help prevent the spread of influenza wash hands regularly, cover your cough and stay home and away from others until fever-free for 24 hours.
  • Resources: UHC Influenza Self Care or CDC Influenza


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Reasons Financial Aid Awards Can Change

Submitted by: Brad Barnett, Associate Vice President of Access & Enrollment Management/Financial Aid Director, Financial Aid & Scholarships

When students are awarded financial aid funds in a semester, it’s important to keep in mind that there are situations when financial aid awards can be reduced or canceled. This applies even after funds are received. The majority of these situations will be triggered as a result of action taken by the student, and we’re providing a list of some of the most common reasons this occurs.

  • Changing Registration – Financial aid eligibility is based, in part, on the number of “’financial aid eligible” hours a student is taking during that enrollment period. If the registration changes, financial aid can also change. This is especially important to note during the add/drop periods of each term.
  • Failure to Begin Classes – Students receiving financial aid must begin attendance in classes for which they were awarded financial aid. If that does not happen, adjustments could be made to financial aid awards.
  • Receipt of Additional Aid – If a student receives additional aid that the Financial Aid Office was not aware of when the JMU financial aid package was created, then it might be necessary for some of the awards made through JMU to be reduced or canceled. This is called an “overaward” situation.
  • Failing Classes – At the conclusion of a term the Financial Aid Office will evaluate grades for students who received financial aid funds. In some cases, a failed class could lead to a reduction or cancelation of certain financial aid awards.
  • Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) – If a student is receiving financial aid under the terms of an Academic Plan associated with a SAP appeal, and if the student does not meet the terms of the plan, aid may be reduced or canceled.
  • Repeating Classes – There are limits on how many times a student can receive financial aid for repeating courses. If we discover a student has exceeded those limits, then financial aid awards may change.

While the items above do not represent an all-inclusive list, they do provide information on the most common reasons that cause a financial aid package to be modified. With that said, generally speaking, if students receive a financial aid package and complete all of the classes for which they registered, then the likelihood of the financial aid package changing during the term is significantly reduced.

You can learn much more about the rules associated with financial aid eligibility by reviewing JMU Terms and Conditions for Financial Aid – Consumer Information.

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Tip: Keep up with important dates and deadlines by bookmarking the Academic Calendar

Last Chance to Catch the Football Dukes at Bridgeforth this Fall!


Submitted by: Melissa Wyant, Assistant AD for Creative Services & Fan Engagement, Athletics

Are you headed into town to pick up or drop off your student for Thanksgiving break? Join us and your student at Bridgeforth Stadium as JMU wraps up the 2022 season with two home games around Thanksgiving! The Dukes host Georgia State on Nov. 19 and Coastal Carolina on Nov. 26 - limited tickets remain, so act now!

Campus dorms will be open through Sunday the 20th, and reopened early on Saturday the 26th. Get your tickets to the final two home games of JMU Football's inaugural FBS season now!

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Federal Loan Forgiveness

Submitted by: Brad Barnett, Associate Vice President of Access & Enrollment Management/Financial Aid Director, Financial Aid & Scholarships

The application for federal loan forgiveness is now available. You can find it at studentaid.gov, along with a link to details about the program and frequently asked questions (FAQ). The application is scheduled to be available until December 31, 2023.

As a reminder, JMU does not play a role in processing your application. According to the Department of Education, “StudentAid.gov has the latest information on the application process. If you need help filling out the form online or have questions related to your specific borrower situation, you can reach our contact center agents at 1-833-932-3439.”

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Psychiatric Services through TimelyCare

Submitted by: Nina H. Critz, LPC, Associate Director for Administration, Counseling Center

As you likely know, James Madison University has partnered with TimelyMD for students to have access to virtual mental health and well-being services for free through TimelyCare. You may not know that these services include access to Psychiatric services, typically within a few days. If your student may have a need for Psychiatric services, please have them contact the Counseling Center via email (counseling-center@jmu.edu) for their access code.

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Spring Course Enrollment Begins November 7

Encourage your student to know their spring course enrollment schedule for next week! 

See Course Enrollment FAQs

Talking College Wellness with your Duke – the Well Dukes Podcast is Your Resource

Submitted by: Veronica Jones, Associate Director for Health and Wellness Promotion, University Recreation

Not sure how to have conversations with your student about things like mental health, body image, substances or sexual health? Do you want more insight into how college students can cultivate wellness? Tune into UREC’s Well Dukes podcast!

Well Dukes is a health and wellness podcast that provides open conversations and information to students so they can lead a healthy and productive lifestyle. With each episode you'll hear conversations that we hope may change what students know, how they think, and what they do in regard to overall wellness.

Listen to the latest episodes of the Well Dukes podcast on all popular streaming platforms!

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It's Research Paper Season! How the Libraries can help your Duke.

Submitted by: Emily Blake, Communications & Marketing Coordinator, Libraries

If your Duke is too busy enjoying the cooler weather to be thinking much about the research papers that will be due in a few weeks, they might not realize how busy things are about to get. Please encourage your Duke to reach out to us in the Libraries as early as possible if they need help with finding sources, managing citations, or other aspects of a research project.

We are here to help! Your Duke even has a designated liaison librarian with specialized information and resources to help students in their major. Also, our online research guides give your Duke 24/7 access to the best resources for research in a particular field. If your Duke is feeling stress about research assignments, make sure they ask about their liaison librarian and research guides.

If they have any other questions, they can always ask the library!

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Travel for Winter Break - PA/NJ/NY

Submitted by: Amy Sfaelos, President, CollegeTransit, JMU '98

Soon we will transport over 150 JMU students home to PA, NJ and NY for Thanksgiving. A few short weeks later, we'll do it again for a much-deserved Winter Break. For those of you who have not made plans yet, let CollegeTransit take the headache out of getting your student to and from campus. We pick up from campus and deliver your child to designated locations in the northeast. They'll ride in a luxury motor coach with only other college students where they can sit back and relax. Please visit CollegeTransit.com for destinations and ticket information.

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Published: Thursday, November 3, 2022

Last Updated: Tuesday, November 1, 2022

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