Madison Family Newsletter: April 2024

Madison Family Newsletter: April 2024

Brought to you by the JMU Office of Family Engagement


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The Madison Family Newsletter is created each month by the Office of Family Engagement 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, 

Everything is blooming here, and by this weekend we will start seeing temperatures in the 70s! After the cold months of winter and the unpredictability of March, April is a great time for students to get outside and enjoy these last weeks of the semester.  

This is also the time of year when our students can sometimes overdo it with social events.  I want to encourage you to talk to your students about being safe and looking out for each other.  I know they feel like they have been cooped up “forever” and want to let loose but it’s important that they are careful.  Your voice matters in these situations, and they will listen to you so I hope you will take a moment and let them know your expectations and that you want them to stay safe. 


Parents of graduating students, here are some notes especially for you and your Duke: 

  • For questions about commencement, check out the Commencement website  
  • Working with the Student Affairs photography team, we’ve set up some times for seniors who may like a grad photo with me: 
    • April 22 | 5 – 6 p.m. | Around the Quad 
    • April 24 | 3:30 – 4:30 p.m.  | Around the Quad 
  • I’ll be sending them an email on April 9 with information about more fun ways to enjoy campus their last month here at JMU. 


Class Enrollment 
Class Enrollment begins April 5, it’s a good idea for all students to check their MyMadison to be sure there are no holds on their account and to take care of them ahead of time. This can be a stressful process, so taking care of these holds ahead of time can relieve some of that stress. Remind your Duke to have several back up plans and don’t focus on avoiding 8ams and Friday classes, but instead try to get the best academic schedule for their Fall semester. 

Madison Cares 

If you are concerned about your student (or any student), you can submit a Madison Cares referral. We will reach out to them and offer resources and support. This has been helpful to many students, and we want to reach anyone who needs help. It’s important to note that this is not a crisis hotline-if there is a life-threatening situation, please call the JMU Police Department at 540-568-6911. 

Questions to ask your student 

What is your plan for summer? 

Tip: even if you’ve asked this before, plans may have changed. It’s a good idea to confirm and adapt as needed.  This is an opportunity to discuss the need to take some classes this Summer based on a need to get ahead, catch up on some classes, or retake a class they didn’t do well in before. 

How are you feeling about the school year now that it’s almost over? 

Tip: this is a good time for reflection, and it’s not too late to try something new. April is full of events and chances to meet new people.  If they say “good” or “fine” when you ask this question, follow up and ask them about their plans for April and what they are looking forward to this month. 


Out of the Darkness Campus Walk | April 7 | noon 

The Big Event | April 13 | 8: 30 a.m. - noon 

Purple Reign: Music Festival | April 13 | 3 – 8 p.m. 

De-Stress Fest | April 25 | 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. 

Find much more on the Event calendar. 

As we close out the semester, encourage them to get out and enjoy all that JMU has to offer. There are many resources listed on our Health and Well-being website that are particularly suited for this time of year. And please remind them to stick together and look out for each other.  

Take care, 

Dr. Tim Miller

Vice President for Student Affairs

2024 Spring Commencement Information

Submitted by: Sarah Ciccone, Director, University Events 

2024 Spring Commencement Information is available on the website.

Important Notes:

  • Tickets are required for entry into the Atlantic Union Bank Center.
    • Graduates will be allotted six guest tickets.
    • The graduate must secure tickets and transfer them to their guests.
    • Ticketing will close on April 29th at noon.  
  • All ceremonies will be streamed virtually on JMU's website and social media platforms. We will not provide overflow seating areas on campus.

For commencement questions, email jmugrad@jmu.edu

Quick View of the Schedule

Learn More

Submit the 2024-25 FAFSA

Submitted by: Jessica Hopkins, Assistant Director of Compliance, Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships

If you have not completed the 2024-25 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) yet, you may do so at www.studentaid.gov

March 1st is a priority date, not a hard deadline and we encourage students to submit their FAFSA as soon as they are able to do so. Completing a FAFSA comes with no strings attached. The application is free and can be completed online at www.studentaid.gov.

Please note that meeting the priority filing date does not guarantee that a student will receive university or state grant dollars. The number of eligible students and the size of our annual funding allocations are significant factors in determining whether sufficient funds are available to award all those who qualify. We will offer awards as long as funds remain available to applicants who submit the FAFSA before or after March 1, 2024. 

We anticipate the process of sending 2024-25 Official Financial Aid Offers to returning JMU students to begin in early June. 

For more information on the new FAFSA changes, visit this portion of our website.

Learn More

Loan Repayment and End of Term/Year Deadlines

Submitted by: Colleen McAvoy, Associate Director of Loans, Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships

As the end of the 2023-24 year approaches, keep in mind that all types of Federal Direct Loans must be processed by the end of the spring term in order for funds to be disbursed. Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans must be accepted in MyMadison by May 8th and Parent PLUS Loan applications must be submitted by May 7th to guarantee processing. Private loans can take several weeks to process with times varying by lender, so please submit applications to lenders as quickly as possible to ensure processing by the end of the term. Graduating seniors and students considering reducing hours to less than half-time enrollment (6 hours for undergraduates) should prepare for repayment. All federal loans and many private loans come with a grace period, typically 6 months after graduating or enrolling in fewer than 6 credits per term. To ensure a smooth repayment process, take the necessary steps today to prepare.

Federal Student Loan Borrowers

First, get started at the FSA website, studentaid.gov. You’ll find loan repayment information such as:

  • How much you owe and how to calculate your monthly payment
  • Who your current loan servicer is and their contact information
  • Repayment plan options
  • How to get support from FSA and your loan servicer
  • Exit Counseling- an education tool providing details of all of the items listed above

Next, contact your loan servicer

  • Go to their website and create an account, if you have not already done so
  • Ensure your contact information is updated so your servicer can contact you easily
  • Link your payment information and set up automatic payments. This will ensure you never miss a payment and may allow for a slight interest rate benefit.

Private Student Loan Borrowers

Contact your lender(s). This is the company you originally applied with, and you will repay your loans through them or through their loan servicer. Some students may have more than one lender; repayment will be coordinated directly with each lender. Go to their website(s) and create an account, if you have not already done so.
This will allow you to:

  • Determine how much you owe and how to calculate your monthly payment
  • Learn when repayment begins and if you have any repayment options
  • Link your bank account information and set up automatic payments

It's important for both federal and private loan borrowers to keep in mind that not repaying their loans can have a significant impact on their credit and financial future. If you're facing or anticipating any repayment challenges, it's crucial to get in touch with your lender or servicer right away to discuss your options. By creating accounts with lenders, keeping your contact information updated, educating yourself on your loan totals and repayment options, and initiating conversations with your lender early on, you can position yourself for success when it comes to repaying your loans.

Learn More

Dining Dollars: Use It Or Lose It

Submitted by: Jenna (Maroney) Gray, Director of Student Engagement & Marketing, Dining

For those that have Dukes on a meal plan, just a friendly reminder that any unused Dining Dollars at the end of the spring semester, May 10, will not roll over. Encourage your students to use JMU Mobile ID or MyMadison to check their balance today.

JMU Dining has several opportunities to use it, not lose it!  If they’re short on time or you want to send a surprise, check out the Starship App.

For questions, contact JMU Dining at 540.568.6751 or email dining@jmu.edu.

Learn More

Fall 2024 – Spring 2025 Meal Plan Changes

Submitted by: Jenna (Maroney) Gray, Director of Student Engagement & Marketing, Dining

JMU Dining recently announced exciting new changes proposed for Fall 2024 – Spring 2025 Meal Plans. After conducting student focus groups and campus satisfaction analysis, we developed a program that allows for more flexibility.

If your Duke is ready to sign up early, it has rewards! Anyone who signs up in person at a tabling event Tuesday, April 16th – Friday, May 3rd can grab a t-shirt and get signed up for a 2024-2025 JMU Dining Coupon Book, valued at $60. Coupon books will be available for pick-up in early September. Pop-up tabling events will be held campus-wide, with the Meal Plan Crew at D-Hall, E-Hall, and Dukes Dining. 

Learn More

Move Out 2024 Information!

Submitted by: Sydney Wood, Social Media and Marketing Manager, Residence Life

Residence Halls will be closing on Friday, May 10, 2024, at noon for the end of the school year. Those participating in graduation will receive information via email from Residence Life about permission to stay until Sunday, May 12. We ask that all other students plan to move out of their residence hall within 24 hours after their last final exam; May 10 at noon is the final day.

Visit our Move Out webpage for more details, FAQs, and move-out parking info/directions!

Learn More

Summertime Mental Health Care

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

As your student looks forward to the exciting opportunities that summer brings for rest, internship, vacation, or work, be sure to also plan for overall wellbeing, including mental health!

There are a lot of resources your student can access on the JMU Counseling Center website to support their wellbeing and mental health. We recommend integrating the resources on this page into their routine in a variety of ways. It could be part of their daily routine, how they start their day, a nice self-care activity, an intervention to manage mental health symptoms, or as a way to recharge after a challenging interaction.

If your student is currently engaged in mental health services, it is important to set up ongoing treatment, including medication management, for the summertime to ensure continuity of care. The JMU Counseling Center website has helpful information about finding a provider, using insurance, and scheduling an appointment. Another option is to connect with TimelyCare where your student had access to free virtual mental health and wellbeing services.

Learn More

Madison Orientation Adventure Trip: Registration Opens May 1


Submitted by: Anaelle Sure, Assistant Director for Communications & Engagement, University Recreation

Know a First-Year student attending this fall? Encourage them to mark their calendar: Madison Orientation Adventure Trip's Registration opens May 1! MOAT is a three-night, four-day adventure program designed for new JMU students to build connections before classes start. Students will meet with welcoming and knowledgeable student trip leaders to tent camp, rock climb, hike, and canoe in the Shenandoah Valley.

Learn More

Low-Cost Textbooks

Submitted by: Emily Blake, Assistant Director of Communications & Marketing, Libraries

Did you know that when JMU students are enrolling in courses, they can filter for those with low-cost or no-cost course materials?

If the total cost of textbooks for a course is $40 or less at the JMU Bookstore, instructors are asked to add this information to the JMU system so students who need courses with affordable textbooks can find them more easily.

Learn more in this story: MyMadison Shows Courses with No-Cost or Low-Cost Course Materials

Learn More

Join 10,000+ fellow JMU parents and guardians in the official Facebook group! This group was created by the Office of Family Engagement in an effort to provide a safe online environment for parents & family members to engage with one another. Request to join the group here »


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Published: Thursday, April 4, 2024

Last Updated: Wednesday, April 17, 2024

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