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Aggie Family Pack
c/o University Communications
UC Davis
One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616
(530) 752-1930

Aggie Family Pack
A site for the families of UC Davis freshmen

Dear Aggie

We invite your questions at aggiefamilypack@ucdavis.edu. Below you'll find answers to commonly asked questions on the following topics:

Academics and careers

Beyond campus

Documentations and policies

Graduation and beyond

Health and well-being

Housing and food

Money matters

News and information

Safety and security

Student life

Support services



Academics and Careers

My son is a go-getter who wants to get ahead. How can he work towards his degree requirements during the summer?

UC Davis Summer Sessions is a great way to start. Students can speed their progress toward a degree and enroll in hard-to-get courses. There are two six-week sessions.

If your son is looking for something closer to home, ASSIST.org can help him find courses at community colleges that will be accepted for transfer to UC Davis. Although the classes will help students meet degree requirements, students should check with their major advisor to see if the community college equivalent courses will be factored into their overall major grade point average.

How and when will my daughter know what grades she earned this quarter?

Students can check their grades on the Student Information System, known as SIS Web. Grades are generally available within two weeks of the end of the final exam period. The actual date is published in the academic calendar of the Class Schedule and Registration Guide, also available online at http://registrar.ucdavis.edu/html/academic_calendar.html.

Parents generally don’t have access to their students’ grades. This is due to the 1974 Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, known as "FERPA." Under this law, the student is viewed as an adult who, with few exceptions, controls access to her own personal information, including grades.

My daughter has expressed interest in learning about other cultures and possibly studying abroad, but she does not know where to start. Any ideas?

Studying abroad is a great way to learn about another culture by immersing oneself in it. Your daughter should visit the UC Davis Education Abroad Center, where study abroad begins. The center offers study abroad opportunities all over the world with program options that vary in length from four weeks to a full academic year. The staff will help her decide which program is the best fit for her, no matter her major, minor or grade point average. Your daughter can go overseas to learn a new language or take coursework in English. Financial aid and scholarships are available for all of the center’s programs.

The center, open Monday through Friday, is located on the edge of campus at the corner of Third and A streets.

My son is a junior studying biology, and he wants to change his major. What would it take for him to do this?

In general, procedures for changing a major within a college follow the same guidelines for declaring a major. Students with a grade point average (GPA) of at least 2.0 may change majors within their college. They must file the Change of Major petition with the dean’s office and complete a new academic plan under the guidance of a faculty adviser. However, a petition's success can depend on how impacted the intended major is. In majors such as psychology, engineering and computer science, space is limited.

When a student wants to change a major between colleges, the process becomes a bit more involved. A faculty adviser must endorse a change of major petition, and the dean must approve the change. This approval is based on whether the student is in good academic standing, meets the minimum GPA requirement for the university and the minimum GPA requirement for the major, which varies. Also, the student must meet all admission requirements of the new college. Since requirements for majors vary significantly from college to college, it would behoove your son to contact a faculty adviser to find out the requirements for the specific major.

What is a registration “pass,” and why can't my student register for all her classes at one time?

Registration takes place during two intervals called "passes." Students are assigned an appointment time during each of the two passes. The passes are about 10 days long and at least a few weeks apart. Undergraduate students can enroll in up to 17 units during pass 1, 19 units during pass 2, and 28.5 units during schedule adjustment.

The two-pass registration system ensures that all students have access to the courses that are most critical to their studies, that they can achieve full-time status, and that access to registration is distributed fairly throughout the student body.

Students can log on to the SISWEB, the student information system, to check appointment times, which are available one week before registration begins.

My student has plans for graduate school but is unsure how to prepare. What are some services he can use in getting ready for graduate school applications?

The Student Academic Success Center offers a number of pre-graduate school advising services. The unit's Web site also has a five-minute webcast on pre-grad prep in addition to a number of handouts on everything from studying for the Graduate Records Examination to writing a statement of purpose.

Every fall, advising services also sponsors a pre-grad school workshop series and a grad school information day, where many grad schools come to provide information to interested students.

Students preparing for law school or medical school may want to check out the quarterly LSAT and the MCAT preparation classes offered by Experimental College.

For more information, students can also visit the Internship and Career Center or the Career and Graduate Study Resource Center.

My freshman son came home for Thanksgiving excited about his new job at the Coffee House, working out at the rec center and a club he’s thinking of joining. But what about his schoolwork? I’m worried that he’s not just focusing on academics.

What do you remember about your own college years? In college almost every experience (friends, jobs, academics) pays off somehow in the end. It's a time when young people are defining themselves, and they do it by stretching in a million directions. Don't be disappointed if he doesn't talk about his classes right now — just give it time.

Why aren’t all classes offered every quarter?

The reason why the campus can't offer each class every quarter has to do chiefly with space and workload issues. The laboratory space needed for many science classes can be limiting. Parents often wonder, for example, why the campus can't offer introductory chemistry (Chem 2A) every quarter — not realizing that also would require all sequential courses (Chem 2B, Chem 2C and organic chemistry sequences) to be offered each quarter, or some students would have to sit out a quarter between courses.

Sometimes parents wonder why there aren't enough classes offered to handle all student interest — why, for example, there aren't enough English 1 or 3 classes in the fall for every new student who wants to enroll. In this case, the workload for the instructors needs to be spread out over the course of the year — instead of overloading the instructors at the beginning of the year and leaving them idle in winter and spring.

But parents should rest assured that this system has worked well for many years. If students meet regularly with an adviser to chart out their coursework quarter-by-quarter and year-by-year, they should be able to enroll in all the classes they need to graduate in four years.

I've heard about a course that students can take to help them determine their career goals. Can you tell me what it is called and when it is offered? Thank you so much.

The course you ask about, Careers and Identity in American Culture, is a popular course. It helps students navigate decisions about their career and supports them as they identify paths to achieve their goal, which may influence academic choices. Lectures and classroom activities focus on self assessment, exploration of career options, goal setting and marketing oneself for the job search. Open to all students, the two-unit course is graded. With appropriate approvals from your student's academic department, it may help satisfy general education requirements for an undergraduate degree.

My son has been missing a few classes here and there for health reasons. How can he keep up?

Ask Aggie does have some solutions to offer. Your son can try to keep pace by checking the course Web site for updates or visiting the professor during office hours. Suggest to your son that he e-mail classmates about the lecture he's missed and ask to borrow notes.

A lot of students find the lecture notes available from Classical Notes a real help when they miss a class or just want to supplement their own notes. A unit of the Associated Students of UC Davis, the service hires students to take notes for about 40 large, popular courses a quarter and then sells the typed notes for the complete course or by the lecture. Also available through Classical Notes are supplementary reading packages assembled by professors; homework solution sets and lab manuals after due dates; and notes for some courses offered in previous quarters. Students must request notes or other material in person at Classical Notes in the Memorial Union.

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Beyond campus

My freshman daughter has studied very hard to adjust to the demands of university. Now she wants to get out and explore Northern California a little. The hitch is she doesn't have a car. Can you help?

There are some great ways for UC Davis students to experience all the beauty of Northern California. Outdoor Adventures at UC Davis has been organizing students trips for more than 30 years. Their program includes rafting on the American River, sea kayaking in Tomales Bay and San Francisco Bay, sailing from the Berkeley Marina, rock climbing at Owens River Gorge, photography in Yosemite National Park, fly fishing in the Sierras and much more. Many of these outings have advance meetings, at which car pooling can be arranged. And you can feel comfortable that, with well-trained guides, the trips are focused on safety. Class descriptions and registration are available online.

City adventurers can use regional bus service or Amtrak to visit Sacramento, Napa, San Francisco and other major cities. See Visiting Campus for more information on transportation.

What transportation is available to get my child home for a visit?

Holidays and vacations together are so precious, you don’t want your son or daughter to waste time struggling to get home. Trains, planes and buses are all accessible from Davis, some very conveniently. Amtrak trains leave from downtown, although your child might need to transfer in Sacramento or another location. And Unitrans, the university and city bus service, offers service to and from the Amtrak station. Taking Yolobus to the Sacramento International Airport is remarkably cheap and undergraduate students ride for free by showing their registration cards. Two private shuttle firms also offer service between Davis and the airport. There are also boards on campus on which students can post offers of and requests for rides in private cars

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Documentation and Policies

We've come across the "Principles of Community" in several campus publications. What are they?

The Principles of Community are an important part of life at UC Davis. They are really a statement of UC Davis' commitment to being a learning environment that values diversity and one characterized by understanding and acceptance of all people. The principles uphold respect for personal dignity, affirm our rights of personal expression within standards of civility and decency, and stand against discrimination. The Principles of Community were endorsed by administrative, employee and student leaders on campus in 1990 and reaffirmed in 1996, 2001, 2008 and 2010. The principles are published in many campus documents including the General Catalog.

Why does it seem that so many important transactions may be made only by students? I heard that I won't even get a copy of my child's grades.

For the parent, college is like buying a car without getting to drive it. In most cases, you pay the bills, but your child makes the decisions, including whether or not to show you his grades. This is due to the 1974 Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, known as "FERPA." Under this law, the student is viewed as an adult who, with few exceptions, controls access to her own personal information, including grades. If you’re used to receiving high-school progress reports and concerned phone calls from teachers, this may feel like driving "no hands," but the law encourages students to take responsibility for their own lives. In most cases, it works.

My son, who is a sophomore, needs a letter to show his health insurance company that he is a full-time student. How can the university help?

Your son will need to demonstrate that he is taking a minimum course load of 12 units for full-time status. He can request a Letter of Certification from the registrar’s office. There is a $10 fee and four days time for regular processing; a $20 fee applies to a 24-hour rush or fax requests. The form requires his signature and asks for a name and address for mailing the letter.

My insurance company gives a "good grades" discount for students. Where can I get an official transcript of my student's grades for insurance purposes?

You're right, some insurance companies offer special "good student" discounts. The idea behind the discounts is that students who are busy studying and getting good grades are responsible. In the words of the California Department of Insurance, they're "less likely to have the time to drive around partying and getting into accidents." AAA, for example, offers a discount of up to 10 percent to full-time students or graduates from a four-year college with less than nine years driving experience, good driving records, and a grade point average at or above a certain level.

Check with your insurance company to see what document can be used to satisfy its requirements for the discount. In most cases, you can just have your student request a Letter of Certification through the Office of the Registrar. Transcripts are $10 each or $20 for a rush order.

Why are students now dropped from classes if they don't pay their fees on time?

There was a change implemented in 2009. In the past, students who had not paid their fees by the deadline were dropped from courses only after the 10th day of instruction. Now students who have not paid their fees are dropped from classes after the fees deadline passes. The change helps enforce the fees deadline and frees seats more quickly for fees-paying students who may have been waitlisted for courses.

After the fees deadline, there is a period of up to two business days when registration is frozen for all students so timely payments can be applied to student accounts and students on waitlists can be added to open seats in classes. After the registration freeze is over, students who have been dropped from classes for nonpayment may pay their fees  — along with a late fee — and register for classes. However, seats in the courses from which they were dropped for nonpayment may no longer be available. More information about drop for nonpayment is available on the registrar’s Web site.

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Graduation and beyond

When will my son receive his diploma?

Commencements follow so closely on final exams that diplomas are not presented at the actual ceremonies. Diplomas are generally ready about four months after the end of the quarter in which the degree requirements were completed. When students file online to graduate, their account can be billed for the $5.50 mailing fee within the United States or $14 outside the country. Diploma mailing forms are also available from the Office of the University Registrar.

Graduates may pick up their diploma at 12 Mrak Hall, but the office suggests you first call (530) 752-3639 to ensure the diploma is ready. Diplomas are held for three years.

Those who don’t pick up their diploma within three years — or who have damaged or lost the one they received — may apply for a duplicate diploma.

Why does UC Davis require tickets for commencement ceremonies and then limit the number each family can have?

You're right. Tickets, though free, are required for all undergraduate ceremonies.

The colleges and graduation facilities vary in size. Some of the ceremonies are large and guests fill their facilities. Tickets are used so all students have the opportunity to share the ceremony with at least some of their loved ones.

Ticketing for all undergraduate ceremonies was introduced in 2005 to avoid confusion about which ceremonies need tickets.

The number of tickets available for guests varies by college. Colleges will distribute the tickets before the ceremony. And if space permits more guest tickets to be made available, individual colleges will provide instructions on how their students may obtain them.

For those unable to attend, the campus will carry the commencement ceremonies live and on demand on its Web site.

How can I make sure that my student has met all of his course requirements before he files for graduation?

There are a few ways for students to ensure that they have completed all the necessary requirements to graduate.

For general university requirements, students should visit the Web site of their respective college and complete the graduation checklists in addition. In addition, formal degree checks should be submitted early in the quarter before the student expects to graduate. The formal degree checks are sent to the advising center of each college and manually checked by a staff member; a check generally takes about two weeks.

Also, students should meet with their major advisor at least once each quarter to make sure they are on track to graduate with their desired major.

Graduation checklists and formal degree checks:

My student is going to be graduating at the end of this school year. How do I start planning for commencement?

The first step is encouraging your student to file for graduation by the deadline. This involves both registering for commencement with the student's particular college and filing for graduation with the registrar's office.

Once your student is registered, you can begin planning for the actual ceremony. Times and dates for the ceremony depend on your student's college and major. The number of tickets allowed also depends on your student's college. For information on gown rentals, registration, parking, tickets and more, please visit the Commencement Handbook.

If you will be driving in from out of town and would like to stay overnight in Davis, you can check out our Visiting Campus page for information regarding hotels in the area and transportation to and from Davis.

I've heard about a course that students can take to help them determine their career goals. Can you tell me what it is called and when it is offered? Thank you so much.

The course you ask about, Careers and Identity in American Culture, is a popular course. It helps students navigate decisions about their career and supports them as they identify paths to achieve their goal, which may influence academic choices. Lectures and classroom activities focus on self assessment, exploration of career options, goal setting and marketing oneself for the job search. Open to all students, the two-unit course is graded. With appropriate approvals from your student's academic department, it may help satisfy general education requirements for an undergraduate degree.

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Health and well-being

I have heard about an outbreak of whooping cough in 2010. What measures can my student take to prevent illness?

There has been a statewide outbreak of pertussis, also known as the whooping cough. In response to the high levels of disease and death from pertussis in California during 2010, the California Department of Public Health has recommended that all Californians make sure that they are immunized against pertussis.

Highly contagious, the respiratory tract infection causes a harsh cough lasting six weeks or more. People with pertussis usually spread the disease by coughing or sneezing around others, who then breathe in the pertussis bacteria, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Student Health Services offers the vaccine at the Student Health and Wellness Center. Students can make an appointment by calling (530) 752-2349.

My daughter has trouble managing stress during finals. Is there somewhere she can go to learn how to relax during crunch time?

Students often forget about their health when their primary concern is their studies, particularly during finals week. Fortunately, the university offers several resources that can help students learn about stress and alleviate it.

Students can drop by The House, a peer counseling center, to talk to someone about their stress or even to relax a little. The House holds workshops for stress management and other issues that frequently plague students during finals. The House has a mind-body gym that provides a massage chair and a meditation room with tapes and CDs to help students relax. Also, peer counselors are available at the house to support students.

I want to give my daughter every chance to be as healthy as possible, especially when she is moving away from home for the first time. Is vaccination against the human papillomavirus a good idea?

Of course you take your daughter's health seriously, and whether or not to vaccinate against the human papillomavirus, commonly known as HPV, is a question that shouldn't be taken lightly. The virus can be sexually transmitted and cause genital warts and cervical cancer. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that at least 50 percent of sexually active people will get HPV during their lifetime. HPV is most common in young women and men who are in their late teens and early 20s.

In accordance with the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Student Health Services recommends HPV vaccination among females aged 9 to 26 years. Because HPV is often acquired soon after the onset of sexual activity, vaccination should ideally occur before a woman becomes sexually active.

Student Health Services provides vaccinations for HPV. The vaccine, Gardasil, protects against four HPV types, which together cause 70 percent of cervical cancers and 90 percent of genital warts. It can be administered at the center with three injections over a span of six months. The vaccines are not covered by the Student Health Insurance Plan.

Although what your daughter should do for her health is a choice she must make, you can aid her with the many resources available through the health center and remind her of the risks of unprotected intercourse.

My child has been seeing a counselor near home. Can Counseling and Psychological Services provide follow-up treatment?

You have every right to be concerned about continuing care for your student, because moving to college is a stressful event. UC Davis' Counseling and Psychological Services offers free short-term counseling to any student, typically six to 10 sessions. If your student needs more time, CAPS will help her transition to a therapist in the community. Counselors at UC Davis have lots of experience with student problems, and in addition to individual counseling, they offer ongoing groups for general psychotherapy and topics such as stress management, eating disorders and smoking cessation.

My son received disability accommodations in high school. Will he receive the same ones at UC Davis?

We wish the answer could be a simple yes. However, the eligibility standards and accommodation requirements for high schools and universities are different. Encourage your son to go to the Student Disability Center, where counselors will determine whether he is eligible for services. In general, the standard is whether or not the student has physical or mental impairments that limit a major life activity. For eligible students, reasonable accommodations are made on a case-by-case basis.

My son has been missing a few classes here and there for health reasons. How can he keep up?

Ask Aggie does have some solutions to offer. Your son can try to keep pace by checking the course Web site for updates or visiting the professor during office hours. Suggest to your son that he e-mail classmates about the lecture he's missed and ask to borrow notes. A lot of students find the lecture notes available from Classical Notes a real help when they miss a class or just want to supplement their own notes. A unit of the Associated Students of UC Davis, the service hires students to take notes for about 40 large, popular courses a quarter and then sells the typed notes for the complete course or by lecture.

Also available through Classical Notes are supplementary reading packages assembled by professors; homework solution sets and lab manuals after due dates; and notes for some courses offered in previous quarters. Students must request notes or other material in person at Classical Notes, open Monday to Friday in the Memorial Union.

My son came home stressed out from the fall quarter. Are there any workshops that can help him learn to manage stress?

The Stress and Wellness Clinic offers group sessions, workshops and other resources to help students with their academic performance and general well-being. Topics include stress management, breathing, muscle relaxation, negative thinking, sleeping, eating and creating calm in the personal environment. Also, you or your son might want to discuss his situation with a staff member at Counseling and Psychological Services.

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Housing and food

My son is considering studying and interning through the Washington Program. What do we do about housing?

Once a student is accepted into the Washington Program, he or she doesn’t need to worry about a place to stay in Washington. D.C. In fact, students are required to reside at the UC Washington Center as long as they are enrolled in the program.

The center is located half a mile from the White House and within walking distance of the district’s main monuments, museums and sights.

Students share two-bedroom apartments, fully-furnished with fully-equipped kitchens, cable TV and high-speed internet connections. The center also includes a gym, a computer lab and two laundry rooms.

The cost of housing varies, but averages about $2,750 for a quarter.

Why does the university close residence halls over the winter break?

Most students choose to go home and spend time with family and friends during the winter break. So it is more cost effective for the university — and, as a result, families of the student residents — to close the facilities. There are also safety and security concerns when only a few students are in our buildings. Student Housing does make good use of the time. Staff members perform building inspections and complete major maintenance projects.

My daughter and a friend are beginning their search for an apartment for next year. What resources are available to them?

To help students in their search, Student Housing offers workshops in the residence halls beginning in late January. The sessions offer information on the local rental scene; provide search tips; and address topics such as roommates, leases, budgeting and food shopping.

The Associated Students of UC Davis hosts an annual Housing Day, at which students can meet with representatives from local apartment complexes, and first-time renters can find helpful advice. It's usually in February.

The Web also can help students get off to a good start:

My son is a sophomore and lives off campus. I think he would like a hot meal once in a while. Can I buy him a few meals at one of the dining halls?

Yes, your son is welcome to enjoy a meal at the dining commons, and he has some options for doing so. He could pay as he goes with cash. The price varies by meal. Your son could buy an off-campus meal plan with up to 180 meals though the Join the Club program. These meals would be available to him as long as he is a student and could be used at any dining commons. Keep in mind that the meals are all you can eat. So your son could go in and have a cup of coffee or he could have an entire eight course meal — it's up to him how he uses the meals.

We struggled to decide on a meal plan for my daughter. If we bought too many or too few meals, what can we do?

Don't look for deep meaning in this, but it's easier to get more food rather than less. At the beginning of each quarter, students are free to upgrade or downgrade their meal plan, but after the deadline for each quarter, only upgrades are possible. Students can register for a larger meal plan or buy additional 'meal blocks.' Just tell your student that a signature is required, so for mid-quarter changes they should go in person to Room 170 of the Student Housing Office.

I'd like to send my daughter a treat, but I don't want the cookies to arrive old or broken, and I can't mail a birthday cake. Any suggestions?

University Dining Services partners with Gift University to offer unique treats that can be delivered to students. How about colossal gourmet cookies once a month, a birthday cake, balloons, a get-well pack including a teddy bear, or even fruit and nut snacks?

We're looking forward to having our son home for the summer. When should we come to pick him up?

As they say, it all depends. Residence halls have a set closing date and time, but your son may need to be out sooner. Students must leave the residence halls within 24 hours of their last exam or when the halls close, whichever is earlier. Student Housing asks students to indicate when their last exam is and when they expect to leave the hall. Resident advisers have the sign-up sheets.

However, some exceptions are made. A student may apply to stay on in the residence hall if he or she is a graduating senior staying for commencement; or is actively participating in commencement activities as a member of the Cal Aggie Marching Band-uh!, the UCD Symphony Orchestra or Aggie Hosts. Applications, which must be submitted to Conference Services, are available from resident advisers, Student Housing or Conference Services.

I know students are supposed to move out of residence halls for the summer. Is there some way my son can live in the dorms while he takes summer classes?

Although students living in residence halls must pack up and leave by a specific date in mid-June, students registered for Summer Sessions may live in campus housing. More information about Summer Sessions housing is available on the Student Housing Web site. During the summer, the campus also accommodates up to 15,000 people with about 100 conference groups. The university uses the revenue it generates from these activities to help keep costs as low as possible for students living in the residence halls during the school year.

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Money matters

My daughter, a sophomore, is considering getting a part-time job, and I'm concerned about how it could affect her studies. Any advice?

Becoming a working student can meet many needs, from purely financial support to life- and career-enriching experience. But how much work and where it is are important factors to consider when deciding whether being a wage earner and a university student can be properly balanced.

Studies show that working a reasonable number of hours as a student can actually be beneficial to academic success. While there is no strict rule about how much work is optimal, working about six to 12 hours per week is probably best, depending on the student, as well as his or her course load.

Should a student work off campus or on campus? Off-campus jobs sometimes pay better but may be less accommodating of student schedules. Campus jobs are closer to dorms and classes, and supervisors tend to be flexible, recognizing that students have papers and exams.

What is the TotalPay Card and how does it help with financial aid?

UC Davis can now issue student financial aid funds on an ATM/debit card called the TotalPay card. This is a pre-paid Visa debit card that is electronically loaded with financial aid remainder funds each quarter. Students use the TotalPay card just like any other debit card — online or in-person, anywhere a Visa debit card is accepted. Students can read frequently asked questions about the TotalPay Card and sign up.

I received a telephone call asking for a contribution to the Parents Fund. What is that?

The UC Davis Parents Fund recognizes parents who give to the UC Davis Annual Fund. Parent contributions support programs that enrich the student experience including scholarships, facutly awards and special programs that would not otherwise receive funding.

UC Davis’ own students serve as ambassadors for the giving program and make calls to parents to ask them to contribute to the Parents Fund. The students reach out to freshman parents in the fall; to sophomore parents from November through January; and junior and senior parents from January through March. Additional calls for the Parents Fund may be made in the last months of the academic year.

The UC Davis Annual Fund publishes an honor roll of donor parents in its newsletter, Giving Works. All parents who give an unrestricted gift are listed in the honor roll. With a gift of $1,000 or more to the Annual Fund, parents may become members of the UC Davis Chancellor’s Club. Benefits of membership include a special relationship with campus leaders; and invitations to exclusive cultural, social and other activities that provide an insider’s view of the university.

To learn more, please visit the Giving to UC Davis Web site.

Some students are awarded Work-Study with their financial aid? What does that mean?

The Federal Work-Study Program promotes part-time employment for students receiving financial aid. The program, which is administered by UC Davis, offers an incentive for employers to hire students with Work-Study, because the federal government subsidizes their wages.

Work-Study is awarded to eligible students first come, first served by the filing date for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. It is awarded to students with an expected family contribution of $10,000 or less.

Work-Study jobs are available in a range of campus settings from the library and bookstore to administrative offices and labs. Many jobs are also available off campus, with contracted community service and for-profit employers. Pay ranges from minimum wage to nearly $20 an hour.

The Work-Study award listed on a student’s financial aid notice is the maximum that the student can earn during the academic year through this program.

For more information visit the Work-Study page of the Office of Financial Aid.

Why is Discover Card the only credit card that UC Davis accepts for fee payments?

Many parents have asked that UC Davis offer families the option of paying fees with a credit card. After all, credit cards offer rewards and payment terms more flexible than even the campus' Registration Fee Deferred Payment Plan. However, all merchants pay a fee for each transaction. Private-sector businesses generally build the cost into their prices and pass those costs along to all customers, even to those paying by traditional check or cash.

UC Davis wants to keep fees as low as possible for students and their families. Our fundamental principle is that those who wish to use credit cards should pay for that service. As a result, UC Davis approached the card networks about permitting the campus to pass the cost of credit card acceptance back to the cardholder. Only Discover Card would permit this cost pass-through for payments made online and in the Cashier's Office on campus. The fee is $12 per transaction.

Many people have told me that if two siblings are in college at the same time, there is a possibility of qualifying for a scholarship. Is this accurate?

Having two children in college impacts their eligibility for financial aid resources including grants, loans and work-study. It does not impact eligibility for scholarships.

To be considered for financial aid, each student must complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) each January. This form asks for the number of siblings attending college. And FAFSA does take into consideration the family's income, the number of students in college and the age of the parents in determining a student's eligibility for resources.

Students apply for scholarships separately. At UC Davis, the online scholarship application becomes available in October and is due in December. Each student must complete this application and submit a reference. The main criteria for scholarship consideration is grade point average, not the family income or the number of students attending college from one family.

How can I review my student's account statement? Is there a way I can do that over the Internet?

MyBill is an online service for accessing student accounts. Students can view and print statements and even arrange to pay their account balance automatically. Of particular interest to parents is a feature that allows a student to grant access to parents so they can review the statement and pay the bill. And online payments are posted immediately. The service is available 24 hours a day Sunday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to midnight on Saturday.

When classes are over, is there a way my son can recoup at least part of what he's paid for textbooks he no longer needs?

Yes. The UC Davis Store buys back used textbooks for cash throughout the year, but it offers the best prices during finals and at the beginning of the quarter.

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News and information

How can I keep up with news at UC Davis?

Beyond the news that Aggie Family Pack and the UC Davis Magazine bring you, there are a number of ways you can stay "in the know." You can subscribe to receive most UC Davis news releases by e-mail or you can view them on the Web at our News and Information page. Other news sources will keep you up to date with the UC Davis Medical Center and Aggie athletics.

Both the student newspaper, the California Aggie, and our faculty and staff newspaper, Dateline, also publish online editions.

The university also offers a variety of emergency information sources.

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Safety and security

When a student has a problem at school, under what circumstances will UC Davis contact the parents?

Under university policy and federal and state law, students have privacy rights. There is no general exception for notifying parents unless the student has given written consent, or there is a serious concern about the health and welfare of the student.

Exceptions may include transportation to the hospital for alcohol poisoning. But campus officials can only make that call if they know about the incident. If the situation doesn’t come to the attention of the campus for several days, and a student is no longer in immediate danger, parents may not be contacted.

Campus officials will usually contact parents if a student threatens or attempts suicide. If a student is removed from residence halls for misconduct and the student has nowhere to go, parents may also be notified.

My daughter will use the same bike next year. Is there a way she can leave it on campus over the summer?

Yes. Transportation and Parking Services offers summer bicycle storage for $20. Bikes, which must have a current California bike license, will be accepted from 1 to 4 p.m. through June 10. TAPS is located just north of the West Entry Parking Structure and behind the campus Fire and Police Station.

Beware that bikes left unattended are vulnerable to theft and vandalism, and abandoned bikes may be impounded and subject to fees before they can be recovered. Student Housing may charge $75 to owners of bikes left in any Student Housing area.

My freshman daughter has several evening classes and I am worried about her walking back to the dorms by herself at night. Does UC Davis have any kind of escort service she could use?

Yes. The UC Davis Police Department provides a free safety escort service that operates between 5:30 p.m. and 12:30 a.m. Monday to Saturday during the school year.. The escorts will walk with or give a ride to students, employees and visitors on campus. To request the service, please call (530) 752-1727.

I'm sure UC Davis does everything it can to help keep students safe. But when a serious crime does occur on campus, are students alerted so they can take extra precautions? As a parent, how can I find out about crime on campus?

Your student's safety is not just your family's concern — it's ours too. The UC Davis Police Department promptly publicizes significant incidents of criminal activity that pose a potential threat to the campus. Crime alerts are posted on the department's Web site and on campus bulletin boards. And you and your student may sign up to receive the bulletins by e-mail. In some circumstances, the department and other campus units may host information sessions for students.

You can learn more about the crime bulletins and other services —from our safety escorts and self-defense classes to our crime prevention program and safety tips — on our Campus Safety and Managing Emergencies page. Also, the page is a good jumping off point for information about campus crime statistics and security-related policies and procedures.

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Student life

My daughter is interested in going green. How can she become involved in the sustainability effort on campus?

A great resource is the UC Davis Sustainable 2nd Century website. It provides a wealth of information about campus efforts and how students can get involved through student groups and organizations, internships and volunteer opportunities, and academic courses and majors.

My student is interested in community service. What resources are available to him?

The Community Service Resource Center, a program within the Internship and Career Center at UC Davis, offers information about one-time and ongoing volunteer opportunities and service-related internships. The center has a searchable database, and students can sign up for a weekly e-mail highlighting volunteer opportunities. The center also organizes a Weekend of Service once each quarter — students do good and get a sense of local community service organizations.

UC Davis is also home to more than 425 student organizations, many of them active in community service. At the Center for Student Involvement, students can search for a student club that interests them.

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Support services

Does UC Davis offer anything to help students find and share rides home?

Yes. Zimride is a free, online service to help students and employees match and share rides. And they can integrate their account on the service with Facebook to check out individual's profiles before deciding to share rides. Also to help students get around, UC Davis has introduced the Zipcar car-sharing service that offers hourly and daily car rentals. Students can join Zipcar for a $35 membership fee (credited to their account during a special promotional period) and pay as little as $8 an hour for a weekday rental.

Where can my daughter purchase an inexpensive bike and get help maintaining it?

The Bike Barn — one of the busiest bicycle repair shops in the nation — repairs, rents and sells bikes right on campus. Centrally located next to the Silo, the Bike Barn also sells accessories. Students can borrow Bike Barn tools do their own repairs on the spot, and there is also air available to keep cyclists spinning. The Bike Barn is a service of the Associated Students of UC Davis.

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My son is having problems with his computer. Is there somewhere on campus he can get technical support?

The campus has a computing services help desk, known as IT Express, which offers free technical support and consulting services to students. If necessary, the service can also refer students to other fee-based campus computing repair services. IT Express can be reached at (530) 754-HELP from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays (except university holidays).

The Student Computing Web site is another good source of information. It provides answers to frequently asked questions, troubleshooting tips, and links to other campus computing resources of interest to students.

What does the campus do to help protect my child's computer from viruses, and should she be doing?

Cyber-safety is a shared responsibility, so thanks for asking. To deter malware, UC Davis scans the campus network for viruses and other security risks. But the diverse way our community needs to use the network makes this difficult, so we must be careful. We use multiple layers of the latest and best anti-spam, anti-virus, and anti-phishing technology. Unfortunately, none is 100 percent effective.

Every member of the campus community, including your student, can help by doing the following:

  • Don’t respond to an e-mail message that asks for your campus log-in ID and password. The campus will never ask for a password by e-mail or telephone. The message is almost certainly an attempt to trick you into giving away account access information.
  • Run your computer’s system update program at least weekly, so it has the most current security patches available from the manufacturer of your operating system. (This update can usually be set up to happen automatically.)
  • Run regular updates and scans with anti-virus software. UC Davis students who have set up their computing and e-mail accounts can download anti-virus software for free (password required).
  • Keep all computer software handy. Application, operating system and system restore software will be needed if a serious computer problem occurs.

Visit the computer and network security Web site for more advice and information about important cyber-safety topics such as phishing, identity theft and spam.

There's been a lot in the news lately about how students can get themselves into trouble by using college computer connections to share music and movie files. Doesn't everybody do that?

Sharing music and movie files is popular among students. And sometimes, someone else may illegally hack into a student's computer to use it to share commercial material. Whether the action is intentional or not, copyright owners may file formal complaints, and UC Davis, as the Internet service provider to the campus community, has a legal responsibility to respond. The campus expeditiously takes action when notified of infringing sites located on the campus network. All of these incidents are referred to the appropriate campus officials and disciplinary action is taken against those who are downloading or serving copyrighted materials without permission.

You can learn more about file sharing issues and how the campus reponds to complaints of illegal acitvity at a campus Web site on the topic. The University of California also offers information about digital copyright protection.

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How can we buy UC Davis sweatshirts and other Aggie items for our daughter? We don't live close to the campus.

The UC Davis Stores offer a variety of clothing, Aggie Wear, gift items and other merchandise for online purchase and shipping. The bookstore accepts VISA, MasterCard, Discover and American Express credit cards as payment. Most orders are shipped by UPS, and you can choose to expedite delivery. If UPS service is not available to your address, the bookstore ships by U.S. Postal Service. Happy shopping!

When we've visited campus, we've bumped into these white sculptures of heads my son knows as the Eggheads. Can you please tell me more about them?

The Egghead Series by Robert Arneson (1930-1992) is among the most recognizable art at UC Davis and a favorite for visitors' photographs. A noted ceramist who taught at UC Davis from 1962 to 1991, Arneson was commissioned by the Campus Art in Public Places Work Group to create artwork for an outdoor site. Arneson responded with The Egghead Series, slang for intellectuals and academics in particular. The acrylic-on-bronze art was installed from 1991 to 1994 in five campus locations: Bookhead, Shields Library plaza; Yin & Yang, Fine Arts Complex; See No Evil/Hear No Evil, Mrak Hall Drive circle; Eye on Mrak (Fatal Laff), Mrak Hall mall; and Stargazer, between North Hall and Young Hall.

Now the Eggheads are enjoying a whole new audience in San Francisco. Reproductions of Yin & Yang were installed across from the Port of San Francisco Ferry Building along the popular Embarcadero. A plaque recognizes the sculpture as one in a series of five commissioned for UC Davis.

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