Missouri State University
Family Connection

Changes are coming to the FAFSA

On Sept. 14, 2015, President Obama announced significant changes to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) that will impact millions of students nationwide, including Missouri State students. Starting with the 2017­–18 FAFSA, the following changes will be put in place:  fafsa_logo

  • Students will be able to submit a FAFSA earlier.  Students will be able to file a 2017–18 FAFSA as early as October 1, 2016, rather than Jan. 1, 2017. The earlier application start date will be a permanent change, enabling students to complete and submit a FAFSA as early as October 1 every year.
  • Students will use income information already available. Beginning with the 2017–18 FAFSA, students (and parents, as appropriate) will report their 2015 income information, rather than their 2016 income information. Note that 2015 income was also used for the current 2016-2017 FAFSA, so the information being reported should not change for most students between this year and next. This information should also be readily available by October 1, and use of the IRS Data Retrieval Tool when completing the FAFSA, which is highly recommended, now even easier.

Returning students will not have a final award offer until after the Spring semester. However, by submitting their FAFSA earlier they will be able to anticipate their award offer much sooner and have more time to resolve any possible conflicts. The Office of Student Financial Aid, who oversees FAFSA processing at Missouri State University, expects a positive impact on their ability to process applications prior to the start of the new school year, and as the University continues their push to attract the finest students in Missouri its many offices will also feel the benefits of these changes.

Changes to the Federal application will also mean changes at the local level. The priority deadline for state-funded programs such as the Access Missouri grant is now February 1st, 2017, and MSU’s deadline for limited-availability funding has been moved up to match. The deadline for the General and Departmental Scholarship Application will remain at March 1st. Whether a student wishes to apply for state or federal assistance, it’s important to file early!

Students are encouraged to contact the Office of Student Financial Aid if they have concerns. The office can be reached at (417) 836-5262, by email (FinancialAid@MissouriState.edu), or in person in Carrington Hall, Rm. 101.

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Zoë’s Bucket List..Rent Equipment from Foster Rec!

It is rare that a college student has everything they could possibly need for a camping trip. Not a lot of people have a tent, sleeping bags and/or lanterns just lying around. Luckily, Missouri State has a resource for students. I just recently found out how easy it is to reserve and rent equipment right in our very own recreation center through our Outdoor Adventures program! I was able to rent a 2-person tent, 2 sleeping bags and 2 sleeping pads for 4 days for just $26. You could not even find a tent that cheap anywhere. images

There is a simple reservation form online that you fill out to get the goodies you need. By going to missouristate.edu and typing “equipment rental” in the search bar, you will be directed to the equipment rental page. It will show you what is available to rent and at what price. You just need to follow the link provided on the page to actually place your reservation. All you need to complete that is your BearPass Username and Login. You will pick a day and time in which you will pick up the equipment that corresponds with the Outdoor Adventure Resource Center hours. You take your BearPass and form of payment with you when you go pick up your items! It is really that easy!

It would be silly not to take advantage of such a great program. Have fun on your outdoor adventures, Bears!


Zoë Pixler, a junior majoring in Photography and Art Education, is the Family Orientation Assistant, helping with special projects and family orientation.  She is a member of a social sorority where she is the Vice President of New Member Education.

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Majors Fair 2016

Many students who enter their first year of college have an idea of what they want to major in. Other students come to college and have no idea but they know they want to find out when they get here. A huge resource for students about how to get closer to deciding a major is by attending the Majors Fair going on Wednesday, September 28, 2016 from 9:00am to 3:00pm in the PSU Ballroom (third floor of Plaster Student Union).  fhcp-majors-fair-9-29-1-e1443641476499

The Majors Fair is a time when students can go in to a large room and ask questions about the majors they are interested in. And with over 150 major options to choose from, the Majors Fair is where you can get the answers to your questions about programs that are right for you.  You will see professionals from every academic department there to help.

The Majors Fair isn’t just for students who don’t have a major, but for everyone who wants to know more about the major they are in. These students may want to ask if they need a minor to go with their major and if so what minors match up well. Other students may be interested in student organizations affiliated with their major and want to know more about those questions.

Don’t forget about the other areas that will be there to help and answer questions such as the Career Center and the Study Away program. This informal opportunity is given to students to really better understand what Missouri State has to offer to them as students. And there is always the chance of winning an Early Registration Voucher just by going! So students need to come prepared and be active while they are at one of our most valuable events here at Missouri State, the Majors Fair.

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Ask Zoë: “Why should families attend Missouri State’s Family Weekend?”

 What a great question, I’m glad I was asked. Family Weekend is right around the corner (Oct. 28th-30th) and I can’t think of a good reason not to join in on the festivities. I am so confident that it is a good idea to go to Family Weekend that I compiled the reasons in the form of an acrostic poem: ask-zoe-for-newsletter


Bring your student food and money. Postage can be pricey, and I know lots of ya’ll were at the SOAR this summer and are following my advice of sending care packages. Why not save some stamps and bring the care package in the car with you instead? Then your student gets goodies and gets to see you as well.

Observe campus life at full swing! Even if you’re not a people watcher like me, it is still fun to see the hustle and bustle of campus during the school year. You can start to get a feel of the community your student is a part of.

Obtain discounted football tickets! By registering through the Family Page on the Missouri State University website, you can get discounted football tickets to the Bear’s home game on Family Weekend!

Middle of the semester is a great time for a visit! No matter if you’ve come to Springfield or not yet, this is perfect timing for a visit. The school year has been established, your student has become familiar with the campus and the weather is (usually) pretty nice.

EVENTS! EVENTS! EVENTS! There are a plethora of events during Family Weekend to choose from! Just a few to plug: Dive In-Movie in the Foster Rec Center, Haunted Campus Tours given by the Folklore club, Student Showcase & BBQ in the Plaster Student Union, Haunted Trail at Foster Rec Center for all ages, lots of sporting events:  football, soccer, volleyball and ice hockey, and so much more!

Roommate and friend introductions tend to happen during this weekend as well. This may be the first opportunity you have to visit your student and it’s good to get to see who they are spending their time with. It’s always fun to put faces to the names of people your student tells you about!


Bookstore sales! The Missouri State Bookstore knows this is a popular weekend for families to come to visit and they want to give ya’ll the best opportunity to further your maroon and white collection. Be sure to swing by to see the latest Bear merchandise and get your Family Weekend discount.

Experience your student’s daily routine. Chances are, your student doesn’t go in depth on the details when it comes to their daily schedule. It’s pretty cool to see your student’s school year routine and take a step in their shoes for a weekend.

Ask your student questions. Sure, you can ask your student questions anytime without having to travel to Springfield, but when you ask questions in person, there is more likely to get a more meaningful response from your student. It may even lead to walking somewhere or showing you a location while answering your question. Just being here could trigger some questions you didn’t even know you had.

Reach out to Priscilla or myself in person! Of course we are always available over email or phone, but we love to see y’all in person for face to face conversations. We will be around all weekend long so be sure to holler if you spot us!

In case you didn’t notice, the acrostic poem spells out ‘Boomer Bear’. This was not just a random word selection. I chose Boomer Bear because Family Weekend is one of his favorite times of the year! There will be opportunities to meet Boomer and take photos and perhaps even acquire a Flat Boomer of your very own!

Hopefully I have convinced each and every one of you that attending Family Weekend is a maroonificent (magnificent) idea and that you have marked your calendars for October 28th-30th. If you are interested in purchasing football tickets (football tickets are going quickly) or a family weekend package, just go to the family page on the Missouri State website. Otherwise, just bring your BearWear and let your students know you are ready for a fun-filled weekend!



Zoë Pixler, a junior majoring in Photography and Art Education, is the Family Orientation Assistant, helping with special projects and family orientation.  She is a member of a social sorority where she is the Vice President of New Member Education.

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Zoë Says…Win BFOY!

There is a unique opportunity this year for MO State Bears to win a noble and prestigious honor. If you are currently enrolled in classes at Missouri State University, you should nominate your family for Bear Family of the Year! Why should you? Well the winning family will receive…  bear-family-graphic-for-year-updated

  • A plaque to place in your trophy case
  • A gift card to the Bookstore to dress your family in the latest BearWear
  • Tickets to cheer on the Bears at the Family Weekend football game
  • Recognition at the game so that you can bask in the applause of your peers
  • Many MOState goodies to continue hailing maroon and white

Convinced yet? I thought so. Go to https://missouristate.collegiatelink.net/form/start/105398 to fill out a quick application! Nominations will be accepted until September 27th, 2016. All you need is your BearPass login and password and examples of why you think your family is BEAR-iffic!

Here is a quick list of BAD reasons to not nominate your family:

  • “I’m the only one in my family that goes/went to Missouri State University”
  • “I never win anything”
  • “This is just my first year at Missouri State”

None of these are good reasons not to fill out the form. The winning family will be chosen based on their Bear Pride, love for maroon and white and will be ones that exemplify the values of what it means to be a Bear!

May the best Bears win!


Zoë Pixler, a junior majoring in Photography and Art Education, is the Family Orientation Assistant, helping with special projects and family orientation.  She is a member of a social sorority where she is the Vice President of New Member Education.

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Embrace Your Inner Bear

I graduate in less than 2 semesters. My only reaction to the previous sentence is to cry. Cry because, wow I finally did it. Cry because I love the bears and I don’t want to leave this incredible school. Cry because I still don’t know what I’m doing with my life. Cry because I’ve begun experiencing a lot of “lasts.”  mickie

I didn’t realize how many lasts I would have until Fan Fest and Bear Bash. As I walked to campus and saw my fellow students having fun before the stress of classes began, I became really sad. Seeing campus so full of people was incredibly exciting after spending the summer as a SOAR Leader on a seemingly empty campus. Yet, I was sad because I realized it was the beginning of my story’s conclusion here at Missouri State.

In just a short amount of time, I have already gone to my last New Student Convocation, New Student Festival, Belong-B-Q, and Bid Day. So much has already happened and it is only September.

In these last moments, I regret not taking advantage of every opportunity given to me by Missouri State in my past 3 years. I regret not going to every Student Activities Council event, not getting more involved with Tradition’s Council, not being fully present in all of my student organizations.

When you are a student, sometimes it is easy to focus more on building your resume than experiencing the university. Instead of going to events, I found myself doing things that I wasn’t passionate about so that I had an adequate resume, because I wanted to be more hirable when I graduate. While that is important, having a balance of fun and work is even more important. Recently, I realized that my resume would build itself as long as I getting involved in organizations I was passionate about.

Because of this, I wish I would have been more present.

As my last homecoming as an undergraduate student approaches, I wish I would have gone to all of the homecoming events and participated in everything I could. I wish I would have been in the moment instead of waiting for the game at the end of the week. This homecoming, I am making a promise to myself to live in the moment, instead of anticipating the next event.

As my last Public Affair’s Week nears, I wish I would have taken advantage of the speakers visiting campus. I wish I would have gone to as many talks as I could- not for extra credit, but because these individuals are making a difference in our society. When will I ever have that opportunity again?

As my last semester nears and I apply for graduation, I pledge to let my resume build itself. I pledge to be present in the university and within all of my student organizations. I pledge to embrace each of my last moments with an appreciation, knowing that I was privileged enough to have those moments. I pledge to incorporate Missouri State University’s Public Affairs Mission in my professional and personal life after I graduate. Most importantly, I pledge to be a Missouri State Bear the rest of my life- something that makes me cry out of pure joy.

For all of my friends who aren’t graduating this May, I encourage you to appreciate every moment, because these four (or five) years really do fly by.

For all of my friends preparing for graduation, I encourage you to embrace all of these last moments we have. And finally, I encourage you to pledge to be a Missouri State Bear forever. Because being a bear is a life-long gift.


Mickie Plummer is a Senior studying Socio-Political Communication and Music. Mickie is involved with her social sorority, campus ministry, and is currently serving as the Vice President of Community Relations for the Panhellenic Council and is one of two SOAR Orientation Assistants.

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Eleven Semi-informed Suggestions that May Have a Positive Impact on Your Student

  1. See students as separate, responsible beings, not just extensions of you.
  2. Love deeply; encourage diligently; expect realistically.
  3. Dare to risk your student’s disapproval of you.
  4. Ask questions about their uses of money and time.
  5. Help your student mature by talking about adult topics.
  6. Encourage your student to face and learn to deal with oppositional/difficult ideas and people rather than demanding to be kept free from them.
  7. Help your student see the big picture: will 35-year-old Bob like or hate 18-year-old Bob for choices he made during college?
  8. Talk with your student about the beauty and importance of nuance—not everything is either totally wonderful or completely horrible.
  9. Insist on face-to-face civility rather than “anonymous comment” destructiveness.
  10. Remind them that the very terms “diversity” and “tolerance” mean that there are differences among people and that they do not feel compelled to comply with some supposed “uniform college belief” system.
  11. Be sure they know that social media lasts forever and speaks louder than resumes.

David Embree is the director of Christian Campus House at Missouri State University and currently serves as president of the Campus Ministers Association.  He also teaches in the Department of Religious Studies, where he specializes in New Religious Movements.  He is eager to assist family members in any way he can.

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Clean out Your Closet – Be a #CitizenBear!

Students, faculty and staff  and families can connect with Missouri State University’s public affairs mission, particularly the tenant of community engagement and ethical leadership by donating unwanted shoes to the fourth annual Stomp Out Hunger Shoe Drive. Stomp Out Hunger is a shoe drive benefitting the local Springfield nonprofit Sole Food. The shoes donated to Sole Food are then sold to Shoeman Water Projects, a nonprofit in St. Louis. 100% of those sales benefits Friends Against Hunger. Shoeman Water Projects distributes the shoes to vendors in developing countries and supports clean water initiatives. shoe collection

Families, you are invited to participate in the Stomp Out Hunger Shoe Drive during Family Weekend 2016, October 28-30th. Bring all your gently-used shoes to Family Weekend check-in. Your name will be entered in a drawing to win a very cool goodie bag from Parent & Family Programs. You are accomplishing three great things: 1) cleaning out your closets…always good (2) donating your shoes to a worthy cause that will help others that need our support (3) possibility of winning a very cool goodie bag.

Encourage your family, friends, neighbors to donate shoes to the Stomp Out Hunger Shoe Drive!  Be a #CitizenBear!

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Missouri State Family Weekend 2016 – 52 Days Left to Register

With only 52 days left until Family Weekend (October 28th-30th), tickets for are going fast.  We have tickets left for the following events and we recommend you register soon:  bear family weekend

  • Welcome Breakfast hosted by the Career Center – tickets required – please register in advance
  • Student Showcase and BBQ hosted by the Office of Student Engagement – student organizations showcase their talents while you enjoy a delicious BBQ dinner – Friday night only – tickets required – please register in advance
  • Haunted Campus Tour sponsored by the Folklore Club – tickets available the nights of the tour – Friday & Saturday night
  • Dive-In Movie, Hotel Transylvania, hosted by Foster Rec Center – Saturday night only – free event but please register in advance
  • Haunted Trail hosted by Foster Rec Center – Friday night only – tickets are not needed
  • Family Weekend Family Extravaganza hosted by the Meyer Library – Saturday only – tickets not required
  • Bears Football vs. Southern Illinois – Football tickets are going quickly.  Order yours today. NOTE: Tickets are NOT general admission. If you would like to sit with aunts, uncles, grandparents, sisters, friends, etc., please order tickets all at one time so you will be seated together.  #BearUp – Saturday – tickets required – please register in advance
  • Rock-n-Bowl, Halloween edition, sponsored by the Student Activities Council – Friday night only – tickets not required
  • Legacy Tailgate for Families and their current MSU student – Saturday – tickets required – please register in advance
  • Sparking Brunch hosted by Missouri State Dining Services – Sunday only – tickets not required
  • Plus a lot more!

Register for Family Weekend here.

The Family Weekend page has a full schedule of events listed, as well as information about packages available, discounted football tickets and local hotel accommodations.  There will be food for purchase (if you choose not to order a ticket for a specific tailgate) at various locations throughout BearFest Village on Saturday, October 29th.

Please check these pages frequently, as we will add and update information as the date approaches. “Like” us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/msufamilies) and follow us on Twitter (www.twitter.com/bearsfamilies).

Registration for Family Weekend except for football tickets will close Friday, October 17th. Football tickets only will be sold through October 21st (depending upon availability).

If you have any questions, please contact me at pchildress@missouristate.edu or (417) 836-3060. A list of Frequently Asked Questions can be found here.

We look forward to seeing you at Family Weekend!

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