Frequently Asked Questions For Parents

Check out the links below for useful information and answers to frequently asked questions.

  1. Resources for Parents
  2. Academics at Willamette
  3. Financial Resources
  4. Bishop Wellness Center
  5. Living on Campus
  6. University Resources
  7. Privacy, FERPA and Student Records

1. Resources for Parents

8 Rules for Parenting a College Freshman

Rule #1: Avoid Asking Them If They're Homesick The power of association can be a dangerous thing. A friend once told me, "The idea of being homesick didn't even occur to me, what with all the new things that were going on, until my mom called on one of the first weekends and asked, 'Are you homesick?' Then it hit me."  See more

2. Academics at Willamette

Mark O. Hatfield Library

The Mark O. Hatfield Library serves as the library for the College of Arts & Sciences,  and the Atkinson Graduate School of Management. The Hatfield Library offers a collection of more than 400,000 books, newspapers, video recordings, sound recordings, federal documents and journals. In addition, some 28 million books and other materials are available through an arrangement with more than 30 academic libraries in the Northwest. The Hatfield Library includes many attractive areas suitable for study and reflection. A variety of displays are hosted and lectures, readings and recitals are held frequently in the Hatfield Room.

Registrar's Office

The university registrar is responsible for maintaining and safeguarding the official academic records of the university. Some of the services the registrar's office provides include: registration, transcript requests, degree/graduation audits, verification enrollments, transfer eligibility, athletic eligibility, and Veteran's affairs.

Can the Registrar's Office provide me with a copy of my student's grades?

No, the Federal Education Right to Privacy Act (FERPA) prohibits us from releasing student grades to anyone without their written approval. We can provide you with Verification Enrollment/Grades for insurance purposes.

Where can my student get a release form?

If your student wishes to give you access to their academic records, they can get a records release form from our office. Please note that you need a separate records release form for billing and academic records.

Student Academic Grants and Awards

The Office of Student Academic Grants and Awards (SAGA) supports high-achieving students looking to further their academic and career goals. SAGA works with students developing pre-professional skills and graduate school plans, as well as those applying for external merit-based, nationally competitive scholarships and fellowships such as the Truman, Rhodes and Fulbright. SAGA also administers the Carson Undergraduate Research Grant, College Colloquium, Student Research Grant, and Presidential Scholars Program.

3. Financial Resources

Financial Aid Office

The Financial Aid Office awards financial aid including scholarships, grants, loans and work-study on the basis of need, with some exceptions based on academic excellence and/or activity achievement.

Do you have to redo the FAFSA every year?

YES! You must redo your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) every year to be eligible to receive financial aid.

When is the FAFSA due?

The FAFSA cannot be filed prior to October 1, but should be filed no later than March 15 for full consideration in Willamette need-based aid programs.

What is PLUS loan?

The PLUS loan is a federal program that enables credit-eligible parents to borrow to pay the educational expenses of their dependent college students. Parents may borrow up to the cost of attendance minus any other financial aid. For additional information about PLUS loans, contact the Office of Financial Aid.

Student Accounts

The Student Accounts Office is the centralized billing and collection point for all student accounts. This office is responsible for the billing and collection of tuition, room and meal plan charges and other student fees. Encourage your student to personally contact Student Accounts by email, phone or in person regarding any questions or concerns. We are here to help.

How do I receive a bill for tuition and fees?

Willamette University administers bills for tuition and fees through an online billing system called Bill+Payment. Students need to set parents/guardians up as authorized users in order to have access to the online billing system (see instructions below). Once a parent is set up as an authorized user, they will receive an email each time a new bill is loaded to Bill+Payment. The body of the email will include a hyperlink to the online billing system. In addition, the online bill can be accessed through the following Student Accounts web page: After logging in to Bill+Payment, select eBills from the menu at the top of the page. On the eBills screen click “View” under “Most Recent Billing Statement”. The bill will pop up on the screen.

How do I pay my student’s bill?

There are a few options for paying your student’s bill:

  • Payment can be made through Bill+Payment, Willamette University’s online billing and payment system. Bill+Payment can be accessed by clicking on the following link: bill access. Please note that students need to set parents/guardians up as authorized users in order to access their account on Bill+Payment(see instructions below).
  • Payments can be mailed to the Student Accounts Office. Please include the student’s name and ID number on the check. Mail your payment to: Willamette University, Attn: Student Accounts, 900 State Street, Salem, OR 97301.
  • Pay in person at the Cashier’s window located in Waller Hall on the 1st floor.
  • Pay via the University payment plan available through Tuition Management Systems (TMS). For more information about Willamette's payment plan option please call TMS at 1-800-722-4867 or visit

How do students authorize parents/guardians to access Bill+Payment?

  1. Log in to Bill+Payment, which can be accessed here.
  2. Select Authorized Users from sub-menu under "My Account".
  3. Enter e-mail address where parent/guardian would prefer to receive communications from Bill+Payment.
  4. Select "yes" or "no" to allow access, or not, to tuition statements and payment history. Then, select "Continue".
  5. Accept "Agreement to Add Authorized User".
  6. Parents will receive two e-mails from Bill+Payment. One e-mail will include the URL link to Bill+Payment and their user name (e-mail address). The 2nd e-mail will include the temporary password for Bill+Payment. Parents/Guardians will need to input their name and establish a permanent password after logging in to Bill+Payment for the first time.

4. Bishop Wellness Center

Bishop Wellness Center provides holistic services, in partnership with students, to promote optimal well being. Our services include: counseling services, student health services, and student insurance.

Counseling Services

What services are covered?

Students are seen for depression, anxiety, adjustment difficulties, eating disorders, alcohol and drug issues and a variety of other problems.

Are the counselors qualified?

All Counseling Services staff members have professional degrees. Please see our staff web page for a complete listing.

Can you help with a referral?

If a student needs medication or prefers an outside referral, the staff will work closely to assist the student in finding care. If an incoming student is on medication, please schedule an appointment early in the semester to avoid any lapse in care.

How much will it cost?

Counseling services, workshops, consultation and use of the self-help library are free to students enrolled full or part time.

Student Health Services

Services Provided

  • Evaluation and treatment for illness and injury
  • Medical care for men's and women's reproductive health
  • Medication dispensary
  • Facilitation of referrals to medical specialists in the Salem community
  • Self-care center with non-prescription medication samples
  • Patient education programs for the campus community

Student Insurance

ALL eligible students are automatically enrolled and charged for the Willamette Student Health Insurance Policy every academic year. The Willamette Student Health Insurance Policy provides 12 months of insurance coverage beginning August 1st. A copy of the current year's insurance brochure is available online.
Students with other medical insurance that meets the criteria of comparable coverage may submit an online waiver request each academic year in the Fall. Students are required to submit a new waiver each academic year in the Fall. Information about waiving the Willamette Student Health Insurance Policy can be found online by clicking the Student Insurance link above.

5. Living on Campus

Campus Safety, Security and Parking

Willamette's Campus Safety, Security and Parking Office provides the Willamette community with a safe and secure environment that facilitates the academic achievement and advancement of students.

Is Willamette's campus safe?

Willamette is generally a safe campus, but it is important for all members of our community to actively participate in ways to maintain that safety. The best way to do this is for students to be responsible about their personal safety and to report suspicious activity.

What is the most common campus crime?

Property theft is the most common crime on campus. Please talk with your student about the following tips to help protect their property:

  • Whenever you leave your residence hall room, lock the door and the window.
  • Never prop open locked doors to buildings.
  • Do not leave backpacks or purses unattended in public places, especially in the libraries or Sparks Center.
  • Lock your bicycle with a "U-shaped" lock. Cables can be easily cut. U-shaped locks are available from the Willamette Store.
  • Register your bicycle at the Campus Safety Office at no charge.
  • Park your car in a well-lighted area. Take your keys, and make sure your vehicle is locked. If you have expensive stereo equipment, etc., consider buying an alarm system.

What if they have to walk to and from those parking lots at night?

Willamette has an escort service available to students. Escorts are available on campus and up to two blocks off campus after dark.

Does Willamette have a visitor parking lot?

Yes, visitor parking is available in the guest parking lot at the northeast corner of Winter and Bellevue streets. One-day parking permits are available for purchase, space permitting.

Do I need a permit when I arrive for Opening Days?

No, you will not need a permit while on campus for Opening Days.

Where can I get an approved extension cord for my student's residence hall room?

Approved extension cords are available at the Willamette Store.

Compass Card Office

The Compass Card Office manages the university’s Compass Card. This card is the university’s ID card, but is also much more. The Compass Card provides door access to residential and academic buildings and is also a campus debit card. The Compass Card is accepted at the Willamette Store, the Bistro and various vending, copy and laundry machines around campus.

Can I add money to my student’s card?

Yes, you can add funds to your student’s account using a credit card. If you can access the Internet, you can add funds using Visa, MasterCard or Discover credit cards. Access the Willamette University website at card and click on “Online Card Office.” Funds will be posted to your student’s account immediately.

What is the difference between Meal Plan Points and Compass Cash?

Meal plan points are allocated from the board plan for residence hall students. These points can only be used for food purchases and are not refundable or transferable. Compass cash can be used in any location on campus that accepts the Compass Card, including dining locations.

Can Compass Cash be refunded?

No, funds added to your Compass Card account are not refundable except upon graduation, withdrawal or termination from the university. Refund checks will be mailed upon a written request for a refund.

Greek Life

Willamette University's Greek community is composed of five national men's fraternities  and three national sororities. These organizations offer friendship and camaraderie through brotherhood and sisterhood, leadership opportunities, philanthropic and community service work, scholastic support and encouragement, and lifetime membership in the organizations, which provide benefits and support long after college.

What is the relationship between the Greek community and the University?

Willamette University recognizes the significant contribution of fraternities and sororities and actively supports these organizations by providing personnel and resources to aid in their development. University employees serve as advisors to Greek governing councils and provide access to the student database for the purpose of membership recruitment. Chapters have opportunities to receive on-campus housing and office space for Panhellenic and Interfraternity Councils.

Fraternities and sororities also receive the benefits of being recognized student organizations at Willamette, as outlined in the student handbook.

The Mail Center

Upon admission to the university, students will be required to maintain an assigned mailbox and will keep that mailbox throughout their college career provided that they are pre-registered and prepaid each semester. Mailing services offered to the Willamette community include selling stamps and postage; providing vendor services such as Federal Express, UPS, and Amazon lockers along with a variety of services through the U.S. Post Office.

Important Mailing Information for Parents

Student Addresses Please address all mail using the proper format shown below:

Your student's full name

Willamette University

900 State Street X123 (Your student's mailbox here)

Salem, OR 97301-3930

Your student's mailbox number will consist of a letter and three numbers as shown in bold in the above example.


If you send your student a package that is too big for his/her mailbox, the Mail Center will hold the package and send an email notifying them of its arrival. Students are required to sign for all packages. All students will be asked to present current Willamette University issued identification to receive their package.


The Housing Office administers the housing contract/apartment lease for all on- campus residences and provides the following services: assignments, meal plans, keys, rental references, guest rooms and renovation/facility projects. Further information on these topics is available on our website.

If my son or daughter already lives in Salem, does he/she still have to live on campus?

All freshmen and sophomores are required to live on campus unless they are married, over 21, or living with parent(s) within a 25-mile commute. Release from the residency requirement is by application only, per contract terms and conditions.

Are the residences networked?

Yes, all residence halls, apartments, fraternities and sororities have wireless network access. All residences have a direct network connection as well.

How does my student get connected in the residences?

A student needs 1) a network-ready computer, either a Macintosh or a Windows PC with a 10baseT or 100baseT Ethernet card; 2) a Cat 5 (twisted pair) Ethernet cable; and 3) a web browser. Once the Ethernet card has been installed, students just connect the network cable to the port in the room, boot the computer, open the browser and follow the instructions to register. Most students find that they can get connected with no further assistance. For more information, please visit the WITS website.

Can students cook in the residences?

No cooking is allowed in student rooms for health and safety reasons. Also, microwave ovens, toaster ovens, toasters, rice cookers and George Foreman grills, etc., are not allowed in the residence halls, fraternities or sororities (except in the apartments).

Living, Learning Communities (LLC)

Living-Learning Communities (LLC) are based in existing residence halls and combine the curricular, co-curricular, and residential components of college life. Each community will be home to about 30-60 students who share a passion for the LLC’s particular focus.

Students will explore that focus through collaborative learning and scholarship opportunities including guest speakers, discussions, dinners, field trips, faculty- and student-led initiatives and programs, service opportunities, and the potential to take common courses.

LLCs are housed in the First Year Commons on the Eastside of campus, as well as Lee House.

Are the residence halls safe?

The community, like any other, is as safe as its members choose to make it. Outside doors are equipped with card readers activated by your student's Compass ID card. Students have access to their residence hall 24 hours a day. 

Do students need renter's insurance while living on campus?

Students should obtain their own property insurance. The university does not assume liability for any damage to or theft of personal property. Many home-owners' policies provide coverage for the belongings of dependents who are attending school and living away from home. We suggest that you discuss this possibility with your insurance agent before purchasing any additional coverage.

What if my student does not get along with his or her roommate?

Learning to share a room can be one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of the undergraduate experience. Roommates are expected to establish and maintain open lines of communication and to address concerns to each other directly whenever possible. Resident Advisors in each living community are trained to assist roommates in learning to communicate with one another and to help mediate conflicts when necessary. If problems persist in a roommate situation, Resident Advisors bring the students' issues to professional staff members in the Housing office, who then work to assist the students.

Willamette Meal Plan

Are students required to have a meal plan?

All students living in the residence halls are required to participate in the Willamette meal plan program. All students living in a sorority are required to participate in the sorority meal plan program.

What if my student has medical or dietary restrictions?

Your student should talk to a Bon Appetit manager regarding their medical or dietary restrictions. The on-campus dining program has been designed with flexibility to meet the unique needs of each student.

Is it possible for students to change their meal plan during the semester?

Meal plan changes are accepted during the first two weeks of each semester. Contact Housing at for more information.

Do students get a cash refund if they have points left over?

No, there is no compensation for leftover points.

What happens to the student's Points at the end of the semester?

At the end of the fall, points are carried forward to the spring semester meal plan if your student remains in a residence hall. If your student moves to a sorority, an on-campus apartment, off campus or leaves Willamette for any reason, any points remaining on the account will not carry over. At the end of spring semester, students must use up their points as they will not carry over to the next fall semester.

If students run out of meal plan points what can they do?

Students can add money to their Compass Card. Voluntary money that is put on the card is known as Compass Cash and can be used in several locations on campus. There are many ways to add funds to the Compass Card. Some of them include cash-to-card machines located around campus, going to the Campus Card office, or online at Funds added to the compass Card account are not refundable except upon graduation, withdrawal or termination from the university.

6. University Resources

Career Development

Career Development provides guidance about career options/choices, decision-making, how-to's and graduate schools for all Willamette students. Workshops are offered throughout the school year to assist with writing resumes, cover letters, personal statements, graduate school applications, graduate entrance exam preparation, determining a major, job searches and interviewing. Students can schedule individual or group appointments, and staff will work with students whatever their needs may be.

Apply for on and off campus jobs as well as internships through the Handshake link on the Career Development website.  

Community Outreach Program

The Office of Community Service Learning encourages a sense of civic responsibility by cultivating mutually beneficial relationships within the greater Salem community. We strive to address community-identified needs through collaborative partnerships and service; deepen learning, teaching, and scholarship through service; and foster the growth and development of active, engaged citizens.

What is service learning at Willamette University?

Service-Learning defined:

Service-Learning is a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities.

     - Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning

The collaboration of those involved in service learning - faculty member, student and community partner - and the insight shared between the three, creates an effective forum for learning by bringing to life theory explored in the classroom. Not only does this methodology of teaching enhance the overall educational experience of Willamette University students enrolled in service learning courses, it also makes a positive impact on the wellness of our Salem community.

International Education

The Office of International Education (OIE) provides opportunities to engage in global learning. Students can participate in semester or academic year programs in over 40 countries around the world.  Willamette sponsored programs earn Willamette credit.

The OIE also provides advising, programming, advocacy and various services to international students, visiting scholars, language assistants and faculty.

International Education Scholar Services

  • Advising related to cultural, personal, academic and social adjustment, finances, health, etc.
  • Advising and assistance with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service(USCIS), Department of State (DOS), Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Social Security Administration (SSA) regulations and procedures
  • Campus cultural and educational programming
  • Administration of WU insurance plan for international students and their dependents

The Willamette Store

The Willamette Store is your place for everything Willamette! Find official gear, faculty authored books & music, purchase software and insignia gifts - all online. Please browse our website, stop by our store, or contact us directly by calling 503-370-6315. During the academic year store hours are M-F 8:30-5:30 & Saturday 10-4:30. Summer hours are 8:30-4:30 M-F.

How much will textbooks cost per semester?

These will vary by course selection, but typically the average cost per semester is $400 to $500.

What if a student drops a class and wants to return a textbook?

Textbook refund and exchange information is printed on a flyer attached to each textbook receipt. Students must keep their receipts and follow the conditions listed on the flyer to qualify for a refund or exchange. In general, textbooks may be returned during the first week of classes.


How can I order a clothing item or a gift for my son or daughter?

The Willamette Store stocks a wide variety of Willamette University imprinted clothing and gift items. Several of our most popular items are also available on our easy-to-use website, Web orders can be held in the store for pickup or can be delivered to addresses in any state.

Willamette Integrated Technology Services (WITS)

WITS is responsible for the planning and management of the campus network; technical assistance for students, faculty and staff; general access microcomputer facilities; multimedia/production; audiovisual check-out and telephone services. WITS provides support and resources for the integration of information technologies into teaching and learning.



Does Willamette have a wireless network? Can students use it?

Yes, Willamette does have "Wi-Fi" or an 802.11b wireless network that extends throughout the campus and any student may use it. If your student is bringing a laptop to campus, you may wish to consider getting a model that has both wired and wireless networking built into it or purchasing a separate wireless network card so they may conveniently connect to the campus network and the Internet in classrooms, the library, the snack bar, or the dining hall. For more information see

Where would my student go for help with computer problems or repair?

Students should first call the WITS Help Desk. If the problem cannot be solved over the telephone, the Help Desk will suggest one of several alternatives. If it seems like a software problem, the Help Desk will ask the student to bring the machine and all original disks to the Help Desk where someone will guide the student through removing a virus, reconfiguring system settings or in the extreme case, reformatting the hard drive and reinstalling the system. The Help Desk staff will not do the work for the student. If it appears to be a hardware problem and the computer is under warranty, your student will be directed to contact the manufacturer. If the computer is out of warranty, your student can contact the manufacturer (often best for laptops), or take the machine to a local repair shop (the Help Desk will provide a list).

How will the University contact my student in case of a campus emergency?

The university will use a variety of contact methods depending on the nature of the emergency. One of the most effective on our small campus is to send Campus Safety officers or other staff to individual buildings or areas to explain the situation. As appropriate, we will use as many means as possible, including sirens, radio announcements, posts to the university website and broadcast messages to voicemail to inform students. 

7. Privacy, FERPA and Student Records

See what parents need to know about Student Records.

Willamette University

Office of Student Affairs

University Center 3rd Floor
Willamette University
900 State Street
Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.

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