August 10, 2023
Dear Bobcat parent and family members,
Welcome, all new and returning parents, to the 2023 fall semester! You are receiving this email from me because you are connected to a currently enrolled MSU student. Yes, it's still summer, and your student will be starting classes in two weeks!
For those of you who haven't met me at an orientation session or other university events, my name is Matthew (Matt) Caires, and I am proud to serve Montana State University as the dean of students. My job as dean of students is to help create a safe, healthy and engaging student-life experience on our campus. This will be my 13th year greeting a new class of first-year students, and I love the anticipation and energy this time of year brings.
At Montana State, we have seen that a student's path to success can be smoother when parents and family members are also connected to campus and have a good sense of resources available and what's ahead on the academic calendar. So, throughout the school year, I will send email updates about campus activities, deadlines and resources. We also distribute this same information to students through various channels.
As we begin the fall term, I will send messages once or twice a week, but the frequency will taper off as we settle into the academic year.
As we prepare to welcome students to campus and for the start of classes on Wednesday, Aug. 23, here is some information and contacts you might find helpful.
For enrollment or course registration questions, the staff in the Office of the Registrar at 406-994-6650 is there to help with the process.
If you or your student have questions about paying tuition and fees or setting up a payment plan, be in touch with the Student Accounts Office by phone at 406-994-1991 or by email at [email protected].
For questions regarding financial aid, my colleague, James Broscheit, director of Financial Aid Services, has a few recommendations.
If your student is eligible for financial aid and you would like access to detailed information about their financial aid package and student accounts, please make sure your student has signed the "Authorization to Release Financial Information" form. This form is required to comply with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Without it, representatives in Financial Aid can discuss general topics but cannot discuss the specifics of your student's account.
We recognize that the investment in a college education can be financially challenging, and the financial aid process can be confusing. The staff in Financial Aid Services are available to help you and your student understand your options and ensure there are no surprises.
Director Broscheit encourages you to sit with your student and review the financial aid information together. Financial aid requirements and award information are available through the MyInfo portal. And if you need to reach out to Financial Aid Services, please contact the office together to facilitate communication and understanding for all parties at 406-994-2845 or via email at [email protected].
For students living on campus this fall, 2023 Move-in Days are scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 20, and Monday, Aug. 21. Students must sign up for a move-in day and time through the Move-In Days webpage, where the process and specific instructions are explained.
To those parents and family members who have a returning student, I trust you've had a great summer and have had time to reconnect with your student. It's been a memorable summer for my family, filled with outdoor adventures. Our eldest is headed into first grade (!?!), and her sister is a very busy 3-year-old who enjoys endlessly nagging her older sibling. I now have a clear sense of how fast this precious time goes by. So far, it's been an incredible journey watching them learn and grow.
On that note: You may be experiencing a range of emotions as your student moves away from home to live on campus or elsewhere in town. This is especially true if you're sending a student off to college for the first time or if it's your youngest child, and you'll soon be an empty nester. I think you'll find this op-ed by author and podcast host Kelly Corrigan on the topic of letting go will make you laugh and maybe shed a tear, but mostly I hope it will remind you that you're not alone as these feelings arise.
We are here to support you and your student. If we can offer further assistance or guidance, do not hesitate to reply to my emails, visit our Bobcat Parent and Family Program website or call 406-994-2826. It's going to be a great fall!
Matthew R. Caires
Bobcat Parent and Family Program, Montana State University