Madison Family Newsletter: March 2024

Madison Family Newsletter: March 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,  

Your Dukes are probably excited for Spring Break, and I hope they get a chance to relax and recharge for the second half of the Spring semester. I’m always amazed at how quickly the last two months go, so I hope they are able to take it all in and make the most of each moment. 


This is a good time for students to pack up some of their winter gear to make room for what they’ll want for warmer weather. But they shouldn’t get rid of all their winter clothes just yet—the weather is unpredictable in March. We may still get a March snowstorm, so they should hold on to a few of their favorite items through the end of the semester. 

Whether your Duke plans to go home or somewhere else, here are a few tips for them to keep in mind when leaving for break:  

  • Lock the doors of their room, apartment or house when they leave and take valuables with them 
  • Don’t forget medications, laptop and phone chargers, keys, etc.  
  • Notify family and friends of travel plans and destinations.  
  • Check VA 511 for road construction or other traffic alerts.  
  • Be sure they’re aware of the laws where they are going. They may be different than what they’ve experienced here. 
  • Clean up their kitchen and throw away food that will expire while they are gone – no one wants to return to a science experiment in the sink or fridge.

Most offices on campus will be open over break, but many of us take time off or attend trainings during this time, so if you reach out to us, it may take more time than usual for a response. Please note that JMU will be closed on Friday, March 15 only. 



For families of our soon-to-be graduates, it’s probably hard to believe that your Duke is almost done! Please visit the commencement website and view the Commencement Newsletter for the most accurate information about events. Also remind your graduate of the Commencement Expo which is an easy way for them to purchase regalia packages, visit commencement vendors and get questions answered. If they can’t make the Expo, they will still be able to get everything they need, so don’t stress out.  Look for updated information on the websites above. Here are the details: 

Commencement Expo | March 26 and 27 | 2-6 p.m. | Atlantic Union Bank Center 

The Career Center 

If your Duke is looking for a job or internship this summer or a career after graduation, a great resource is the University Career Center. Students can schedule a career advising appointment, attend career fairs and events, and receive advice on writing a resume, cover letter, creating a portfolio or preparing for an interview. They also have a Career Closet to help with interview and work attire. They are always accepting donations, so if you have anything you’d like to contribute, information is on their webpage. 

Engagement Fellows 

For any seniors who are graduating in May and are interested in continuing to serve JMU while learning and growing in their field of interest, JMU has an amazing Presidential Engagement Fellows program. There are positions throughout the university, including one that would be working with me in Student Affairs. The application is open now, so please encourage your graduating Duke to apply.  


There will be a lot happening after Spring Break, so encourage your Duke to get out and make the most of the rest of this semester. Here are a few suggestions: 

Disability Advocacy Week  | March 25–29 | “Minds of All Kinds” focuses on recognizing neurodiverse individuals as it relates to employment and the design of spaces.  

Overcoming Negative Self-Talk with Self-Compassion | March 19 | 10 – 11 a.m.

More Counseling Center workshops 

UPBoot Scoot and Boogie! | March 21 | 4 – 6 pm

Find more on the Event Calendar and Dukes Weekly

Questions to ask your student 

Have you started thinking about what you will be doing over the summer?  

Tip: This is the time to set expectations about responsibilities at home, getting a job, taking classes, etc.  

How have you done on your first exams, papers and other assignments? 

Tip: We have encouraged you to check in on this regularly, but we are at the point of the semester when most students have had an exam or paper due in every class. This is a great opportunity to get more of an answer than the typical “fine” response. I always recommend you get some real grade updates so there are no surprises in May. If it looks like your student may benefit from taking summer classes, you all should start those conversations now.   

JMU Giving Day 2024 

Thank you to everyone who donated during JMU’s Giving Day, and especially for supporting the Jones Miller student emergency fund, the food pantry and JMU VALOR. Your support for these and all areas at JMU makes an impact that is deeper than you probably realize and continues to make me proud and grateful for our amazing JMU community. 

I hope this semester has been going well and that you get some time to connect with your Duke. Even if your student isn’t coming home for break, it will be summer before you know it!  

Take care and Go Dukes! 

Dr. Tim Miller

Vice President for Student Affairs

Sibs & Kids Day on April 20

Your students can invite their younger sibling/relative/friend to campus for JMU Sibs & Kids Day! Hosted by the Family Engagement office, Sibs & Kids Day is a fun and informative day of activities and events for JMU students and their guests between the ages of 12-17, with the purpose of sharing their college experience in a meaningful way.

This event is scheduled for Saturday, April 20, 2024, from noon until 8 p.m. Registration is free for students and $30 for guests. Attendees receive access to various campus activities, dining tickets, a Sibs & Kids Day t-shirt and a JMU bag with goodies.

A full schedule of activities is planned for your student and their guests, providing many opportunities for exploring campus and sharing the college experience. Events include an adventurous rope course session, free time at the University Recreation Center, meals in both dining halls, spring football game, campus scavenger hunt and much more. Check out the full schedule on the JMU Sibs & Kids website. Please note that students are required to accompany their guest at all times.

Make sure to sign up before the April 3, registration deadline. For more information, view the schedule of events and register.

Learn More

Save the Date for Family Weekend Sept. 27-29

Join us for Family Weekend September 27-29, 2024 Accommodations in the Harrisonburg area fill up fast, so be sure to book a place to stay soon. Check back for the schedule coming later this summer.

Family Weekend tickets will be available in July!

Learn More

FAFSA and March 1st Priority Filing Date

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

Please review our FAFSA Changes website for the most current information regarding processing FAFSA’s for the 2024-25 school year. We will update this website as new information becomes available.

The FAFSA is used to determine eligibility for federal aid, state grants, and university need-based financial aid programs (grants and scholarships).

There continues to be problems with students and parents being able to file the 2024-25 FAFSA at www.studentaid.gov. In some cases, these challenges are preventing an application from being submitted at all. If you are experiencing problems in completing the FAFSA, please be persistent. Federal Student Aid (FSA) is continuously working on the application to resolve errors in the on-line form.

JMU’s FAFSA Priority Filing Date is March 1, 2024. This is a priority date, not a deadline. If you cannot meet the priority date, we encourage you to complete the FAFSA as early as possible, even after March 1st.

JMU will closely monitor our FAFSA volume once we begin receiving completed applications from FSA. At this time, FSA is telling schools they will start sending us FAFSA’s “the first half of March.”

We will offer awards as long as funds remain available to applicants who submit the FAFSA before or after March 1, 2024. Thank you for your continued patience as we all navigate this brand-new FAFSA world.

Learn More

Time to Check Student Accounts

Submitted by: Brandon Cline-Taskey, Director, University Business Office

Registration for the Summer and Fall semesters will begin soon, so now is a good time to make sure that your student checks their account for any registration holds. Holds could be placed for a variety of reasons by a number of departments on campus, but here at the University Business Office, we place holds for unpaid student account balances, fines or fees. Most fines and fees are sent by departments to the University Business Office to be collected through M3; the main exception to this is that parking fines stay in the Parking office for 30 days before being transferred to UBO. If you are an Authorized User, you can check M3 yourself to see if there are any unpaid balances which may create registration holds.

In the UBO, we try not to make these items a surprise. Students and their Authorized Users are sent a statement notification email every two weeks if there is a balance on the account. In addition, students receive a weekly email every Monday if they have a UBO hold on their account.

Learn More

Summer Enrollment

Submitted by: Arin Hawse, Associate Registrar, Office of the Registrar

Your student is getting ready to begin enrollment for Summer 2024 classes on March 25, 2024 and Fall 2024 classes on April 8, 2024. We understand that enrollment can be stressful for some students.

Here are some things that we have found helpful when talking about enrollment with students:

  • We recommend that students log into MyMadison a few days before enrollment begins. This allows them to ensure that their MyMadison password is up to date. At this time, they need to check for holds that prevent enrollment and rectify any holds as quickly as possible. These are two of the most common, preventable, issues students face with enrollment.
  • Students should identify the classes needed to make progress toward their degree and meet or make contact with their advisor(s), if necessary.
  • Students should verify that they meet all the requisites for the classes so they will not have trouble enrolling. This can be done by looking at the class information in the class search.
  • Students need to anticipate a certain amount of flexibility with their schedules. There is an ideal schedule that every student might want… no 8:00 AM classes, all classes finished by 2:30pm, etc. Unfortunately, that is not always possible. We encourage students to prepare several options for their schedule so they can easily pivot if their previous choice is now full.

Your student’s advisor(s) is the best resource for discussing class options to meet requirements within their major. If your student is not able to schedule an appointment with their advisor, the Madison Advising Peers (MAPs) are a great resource as well. Information about the MAPs can be found on their website.

Learn More

Summer 2024 Financial Aid

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

Students who enroll at least half-time (6 credits for undergraduate and 5 credits for graduate students) for summer 2024 in an approved program of study may qualify for summer financial aid.

To receive consideration, students must complete these two applications:

1. 2024-25 FAFSA

  • If you are only interested in private loan options, a FAFSA does not need to be submitted

2. Summer Aid Application

  • Available on our website when summer registration begins on March 25th

We will use the information from both forms to determine eligibility for these types of funding during the summer:

  • Federal Pell Grant
  • Federal Direct Loans (Subsidized, Unsubsidized and/or Parent PLUS)
  • Private Educational Loan (FAFSA is not needed for students only wanting to borrow a private loan)

If students anticipate receiving the Federal Pell Grant, they should complete the summer aid application regardless of enrollment level. Receiving a Pell Grant in the summer will not reduce the award amounts for fall and spring. (The only exception to this if a student reaches their lifetime limit for receiving Pell)

Conversely, borrowing a Direct Student Loan during the summer will reduce the loan eligibility for the following fall and spring terms.

  • For example…juniors can borrow up to $7,500 for the Academic Year, so if $4,000 is used during the summer, that would leave $3,500 to split between fall and spring.

You can learn more by:

If you are experiencing issues completing the 2024-25 FAFSA, please refer to our FAFSA Changes website for more information.

Learn More

The Year of the Dukes - 110% Mindset


Submitted by: Ashley Doyle, Director of Special Events & Donor Stewardship, Duke Club

The Year of the Dukes has begun! Our student-athletes have embarked on a new journey of competition and opportunity.

The JMU student-athlete mindset is focused on “110%.” It is about giving that “little extra” to separate themselves in the classroom, on the field of play, and in the community. It is with this “110%” mindset that our student-athletes and coaches are able to achieve their goals.

Now, it’s your turn....The Proud & True Fund fuels our student-athletes and equips them with the resources needed to be successful. We ask that you join us in 2024 by renewing your Duke Club membership and giving a “110%” to support JMU student-athletes this year and beyond.

Learn More

Parents: A Student Project Needs YOU!

Submitted by: Kyra Vlassis, JMU Student, College of Business

My name is Kyra Vlassis, and I am a senior business management student at JMU. I am currently working on a class project to learn more about the perceptions of different JMU stakeholders. As valued members of the JMU community, your feedback is incredibly important to us. JMU is continuously looking to enhance the experiences of students and families. To help us better understand your perspectives, we've created a brief survey focused on your perceptions of JMU and your satisfaction with various aspects of the university. 

Your insights will directly inform our efforts to improve and tailor the services, programs, and communication channels. By taking just a few moments to complete this survey, you'll play a vital role in shaping the future of JMU for your child and for all students. 

The survey can be found here.

All responses will be kept confidential and used solely for research purposes. Your honesty and input are greatly appreciated. 

Thank you for your participation in this important endeavor. Together, we can make JMU an even better place to learn, grow, and thrive. 

Take the Survey

The Community Engagement & Volunteer Center is Hiring!

Submitted by: Lindsey Richards, Assistant Director, Engagement, Communication, and Innovation, CEVC

Is your student interested in working in a supportive environment while developing their professional skills and increasing their ability to create a more caring, just world?

At the Community Engagement & Volunteer Center, Student Coordinators recruit and support their peers, connect with faculty, and coordinate with local organizations to facilitate meaningful community-based partnerships.

We are hiring coordinators for the following areas for the 2024-2025 academic year: Campus & Community Partnerships, Marketing & Events, Operations, and Program & Education. Positions are live and students can apply until March 31.

If you or your student have questions, contact us at cevc@jmu.edu or 540.568.6366.

Learn More

Watch Carrier Library Taking Shape

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

Want to see what’s going on with the Carrier Library renovation?

  • 360-Degree Aerial Video: This new 46-second video shows aerial views of the Carrier Library renovation and expansion at four stages between May and January.
  • Interior Photos: If you haven’t visited the Carrier Library Renovation and Expansion page recently, you might have missed the recent photos of construction progress of the interior, including some comparison shots of the construction site next to images of Carrier Library past and future!
  • Construction Camera: You can create your own before-and-after comparison shots using the Carrier Library construction camera! It takes photos throughout the day so you can see what the construction team is working on and choose any two dates in the project to compare!
Select from two camera views on the dashboard, then check out these cool features!
  1. The “Time-Lapses” button at the top of the page lets you watch the progress over the last day, week, month, or the entire project! Once the video starts, use the buttons on the right to fit the video to your screen.
  1. Click the “Change View” button at the top of the page and select “Overlay” to compare before-and-after views of any two dates in the project

Follow @JMULibraries on social media or visit our Renovation and Expansion page to stay up-to-date on the Carrier Library project and find answers to your frequently asked questions.

Learn More

JMU Arts and Letters Review Issue 4

Submitted by: Siân White, Associate Dean, College of Arts and Letters

The Arts and Letters Review January Issue 4 is available! Learn about students, faculty, staff, and alumni from the JMU College of Arts and Letters.

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: Friday, March 8, 2024

Last Updated: Monday, March 4, 2024

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