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Parent / Guardian Connections

Your student has made an exceptional decision by choosing SMSU as their university of choice. Southwest Minnesota State University is committed to our Mustang Family and will make campus their "home away from home". Most importantly, the Deeann Griebel Student Success Center looks forward to ensuring a positive and enriching college experience. We will provide the support students need to maximize their full potential while they are here - academically, socially, and professionally.

Please know that the support students receive from their parents or guardians throughout their collegiate career is imperative. Success in the classroom can sometimes be hindered by problems that occur or begin at home, as well as issues they are facing in college. At times, these problems can affect not only a student’s attitude towards school, but limit their participation in extracurricular activities and socialization with others. By taking an active role in your student's development at SMSU, you will help them to achieve their academic goals.

Communication lines are always open in the Deeann Griebel Student Success Center. We encourage feedback if you feel that your student could use additional assistance to better their experience as a Mustang. Please email us at or call 1.800.642.0684 ext 6484 with any questions or concerns. 



Having a FAFSA on file may be required for certain scholarships or support programs at SMSU, but in general it is not required to submit a FAFSA. When you complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), you are applying for the Federal Pell Grant, Federal SEOG (Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant), Minnesota State Grant (if you are a Minnesota resident), Work Study, and Federal Direct Loans.

A college student’s records are protected by the Family Education Right and Privacy Act (FERPA), meaning academic institutions cannot release educational records/information (including billing information, grades, etc.) without the student’s written permission. SMSU students can grant permissions by filling out the Authorization for Student Information Release form located in SouthwestNet.

Tuition information and due dates can be found by visiting the Business Services page and will be reflected in your student’s E-Services account. Information about a student’s tuition bill cannot be shared with a parent/guardian unless an updated Authorization for Student Information Release form is on file for the student in SouthwestNet. Students can view their current tuition bill in their E-Services account.

SMSU employs hundreds of students on-campus. Job responsibilities vary from lab work, to mowing, to working as a lifeguard, to secretarial duties, to selling tickets, to working as a tour guide. Students earn wages through two different types of programs – either through Federal/State Work Study (through the FAFSA) or regular student employment. For more information on these two different programs, the Financial Aid has put together a resource page: Student Employment.

Yes, Financial Aid can be used to pay for off-campus housing if needed. Students will receive overage checks from the Financial Aid off (or can set up direct deposit in their E-Services account) that they can use to pay for off-campus housing.

There are several differences between these three things, and they can be found on the Mustang Card Funds webpage.

Information about funding your student’s Mustang Card can be found on the Mustang Card webpage.

Yes, there are 2 ATMs in the Student Center for cash withdrawal only. The SMSU Foundation provides one at the front entrance, and uses the fees collected to support student scholarships. The other, located by the Residential Restaurant, is provided by US Bank in conjunction with our Mustang Card Center. The dining area ATM provides fee free withdrawals for US Bank customers, allows Mustang ID Cards to access US Bank accounts, uses the fees collected to support the Mustang Card program, and dispenses cash in student-friendly $5 increments.

Choosing a bank for your student to use is completely up to you and your student. Please note that your Mustang Card can be tied to a US Bank checking account along with the US Bank ATM on campus. The Marshall Area Chamber has a tool where you can find a list of all area banks in town.

Registration and Grades/Transcripts

Yes! SMSU offers summer courses in select subject areas. These are a great way to get ahead or even catch up while earning their degree. Encourage your student to work with their academic advisor to discuss their options for summer courses. Most summer courses are online.

Students should contact the Registration & Records Office located in IL148; they may stop in, email, or call 507-537-6206.

Student records are protected by the Family Education Right and Privacy Act (FERPA) which means institutions cannot release grades and/or other education records without the student’s written consent. SMSU students can grant permissions by filling out the Authorization for Student Information Release form located in SouthwestNet.

Student Support Services

Yes! There are several different tutoring resources available to SMSU students. The Interdisciplinary Tutoring Center located in IL224 provides tutoring for Economics, Accounting, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. The Math Learning Center located in IL224 provides tutoring for mathematics courses. The Writing Center located in BA527 of the McFarland Library provides support for academic writing. is available 24/7 for all students through their D2L account.

The SMSU Accessibility Services office is located in BA246 and can be contacted via phone at 507-537-6492.

Campus Breaks

This information, along with other important dates, can be found by accessing our online academic calendar.

Yes, residents are asked to sign up with the Residence Life office to stay over break as they will need to get a special front door key. All buildings remained locked 24/7 over holidays and breaks to maintain security when there aren’t as many residents on campus. There are also summer housing contract options for students if they would like to remain on campus during the summer.

Select dining locations are open during select breaks. More information regarding hours of operation can be found by visiting the Campus Dining website.

If your student lives on-campus, it is important to notify Residence Life and make any necessary arrangements. If your student will be missing class, it is critical that they notify their professors to inform them of the delay and to discuss any assignments/exams they may miss.

Academic Advising and Academic Majors

if your student has tried to connect with their academic advisor through multiple means (email, phone, and designated office hours), but has been unsuccessful, they are highly encouraged to visit the main Department Office that houses their major (for example: Education, Agriculture, Science, etc.) for assistance.

If there is a family emergency and you are not able to reach your student, please contact the University Public Safety Office at 507-537-7252. If there is a family emergency that is impacting your student’s academic or personal performance, you can contact the Student Success Center at 507-537-6484; please know that the Student Success Center may not be able to share certain information with you regarding your student if an updated Authorization for Student Information Release form in SouthwestNet is not on file.

Students can work with either the Coordinator of Advising Services or the Career Services office for assistance in exploring majors at SMSU and possible career fields.

If your student would like to change their major or their academic advisor, they can submit an “Undergrad Change of Major/Advisor E-Form” on the Registration & Records webpage.

On-Campus Housing, Move-In, Roommates, and Meal Plans

Yes, incoming first year students are required to live on campus. Living on campus provides students with an opportunity to make friendships with people from many places, which is an important part of their college experience. Living within the residence halls also allows students the convenience of utilizing the services provided at SMSU. Many of the students who live in our residence halls feel they have a greater knowledge of what is occurring on campus than if they were to live off-campus. Programs and opportunities are also offered to our residents who live on campus and this added benefit assists in the development of our students. Studies have shown that students who live in residence halls have higher graduation rates and higher GPAs. If you have any questions or concerns about this, please contact the Office of Admission at 507-537-6286. 

Yes, there are specific Residence Halls for first-year students. SMSU offers first-year co-ed houses, first-year all female houses, and a primarily first-year all male house on campus. Students can select their community preferences on their housing applications when they apply for housing, and Residence Life does their best to put them in those communities if space is available. There are also Living & Learning Communities that students can apply to live in if they are pursuing certain majors at SMSU. The Honors program also has housing on campus.

SMSU has several options when it comes to on-campus housing. Students can apply to live in either traditional-style residence halls or suite-style residence halls. The traditional-style rooms are available as double rooms, designed single rooms, and double as a single room. The suite-style rooms are available as double rooms, single rooms, and accessible single rooms. SMSU also has the Foundation Residence Apartments available to students after they have completed a year at SMSU.

Yes, a $100 housing deposit is required at the time of application for housing. This $100 goes directly towards the cost of housing.

To enhance student security, all house front doors will be locked 24/7. Please remember to carry your keys with you at all times. A call box if located in each complex for guests of residents who want to visit. The call box may also be used for emergency purposes. The Foundation Residence Apartments are also locked 24/7 and residents access the Apartments with a key fob to the building and a key for their apartment.

Students are able to view their room assignment, roommate assignment, and selected meal plan typically around the beginning of April in their E-Services account.

Students living on-campus apply for their meal plan when they apply for housing. This is done through E-Services. Prior to the start of the semester, students can also change their meal plans in E-Services. Meal plan changes for Fall Semester can be made through the first two full weeks of class. Meal plan changes for Spring Semester can be made two weeks prior to semester break through the first two full weeks of spring classes. You need to fill out a Meal Plan Change Form at the Mustang Card Center on the second floor of the Student Center.

Students move in to their on-campus housing during Gold Rush Days, which is the Thursday – Sunday before the start of the fall semester. Mustang Movers are available on Thursday to help students and families as they move in. More information about move-in day will be mailed to your student in July, but you can also contact Residence Life with additional questions.

Yes, but they should please be respectful of the amount and size of the items sent (we don’t have unlimited storage space). Also, students should communicate with Residence Life that certain things are being sent so that we don’t send it back as undeliverable. If students send items a week or two early, we tend to hold the packages until the student arrives on campus. Beyond that, we sometimes assume that they put this address by accident unless they communicated with us that the items are coming in and should be held. It is common for books to be sent to campus prior to the academic year starting, for example.

Yes, the SMSU Post Office is located at BA157.

A student’s mailing address depends on the House that they live in. For a full list of address formats, view the Mailing to SMSU Residents webpage. Mail is delivered Monday – Saturday to the Residence Halls, and each on-campus room has a locked mailbox. The mailbox is shared between roommates, and a student’s room key opens their mailbox. Packages that do not fit in the mailbox will go to the Residence Life office and slip will be placed in the student’s mailbox so they can claim their package.

When roommate conflicts arise, the Residence Assistant assigned to your student’s housing unit should be notified. The RA will then meet with both roommates to assist with improving the roommate relationship through mediation. After this, if a resolution cannot be reached and either students wants a room change, an appointment needs to be made with the Area Coordinator to fill out a Room Change Request Form to start the room change process. Requests will be considered based on feasibility, date of request, and space available. There will be a $25 administrative fee for processing a roommate change request.

Prior to August 1st, a room change may be requested by emailing There is a $25 administrative fee for all room changes. From August 1st to the end of the second week of classes, no room changes will be permitted. Room changes can be requested 10 class days after the residence halls open. During the final two weeks of the semester, a students is also unable to make a room change. Visit your Area Coordinator to find out which rooms are available and to discuss the room change process.

An RA is the student staff member that lives in your student’s floor/house and is a resource for residents. They undergo special training to be able to assist residents with situations that may occur in the Residence Halls.

Students should connect with the Residence Life office either in person by stopping by Naoutha or by calling 507-537-6136.

Each double room has 2 desks, 2 chairs, 2 bed frames, 2 mattresses, 2 closets, and 1 garbage can. Lofts are available for beds on request.

No; students are not allowed to build or bring their own lofts. SMSU has lofts available upon request.

Students at SMSU require specially-sized sheets, blankets, and comforters to fit the campus’s extra-long mattresses. These extra-long beds (longer than 76 inches) are intended to maximize the comfort levels of every student. Students can purchase sheets at department stores or through the Residence Hall Linens Program.

Landline phone activation is not available in student rooms.

Yes, each room is equipped with a cable hookup. Your TV must have a QAM tuner in order to work with our cable system. Please note that some inexpensive models of TV’s do not have this tuner and will not work in our halls.

Yes, laundry facilities are available to students in four separate areas on campus. Commons East, Central, West, and Sweetland Hall have laundry facilities. You will need to bring laundry detergent, fabric softener, and dryer sheets. There is no cost to use the laundry machines. We have laundry product dispensers and change machines in Commons Central and Sweetland Hall.

Items may be hung on the walls of their room using poster putty or other adhesive materials that will not damage their walls.

The only pets allowed on-campus are fresh water fish (excluding piranhas).

Visitors and Parking

Visitors may obtain a visitor's parking permit from the University Public Safety Office located in the basement of Founders Hall (FH). Once a visitor’s parking permit has been obtained, visitors may park in spots designated as “Visitor Parking”.

No, visitation hours for opposite gender are not enforced. Such issues should be discussed between roommates.

Yes, students are allowed to bring a vehicle to campus, and there are several parking lots on campus for students to park in. Students must purchase a parking permit to park on campus. Parking information, as well as costs, can be found on the University Public Safety webpage.

Health, Wellness, and Safety

Campus Dining offers Wellness & Sustainability information to students about: Dining with Allergies, Sustainability, Nutrition Questions, and Choose My Plate (food groups and portions). Health Services also provides mental health screening and self-care guides for students. Additionally, Mental Health Counseling Center provides individual, group, and couples’ counseling as well as Year-Round Screenings for depression, alcohol, anxiety, and eating disorders. SMSU also offers intramural sports to students who want to continue to be involved in team athletics as well as weight room and fitness center hours for students looking to stay in shape. SMSU students also have access to the pool for lap swim.

Students can contact Health Services located in BA158 or Mental Health Counseling Center located in BA156.

Minnesota State no longer offers health insurance coverage for domestic students (US Citizens). The Affordable Care Act requires everyone to have health insurance or be subject to penalties. There are several options available to students, including coverage under a parent's policy until age 26 or by purchasing coverage through the Minnesota Health Insurance Exchange (MNsure). Students may enroll or seek additional information at Students from states other than Minnesota should explore options within their state of permanent residence.

Yes, if it is a non-emergent situation students may want to utilize a taxi service in town such as Marshall Taxi or Southwest Minnesota Taxi. If the situation is an emergency, the students should call SMSU Public Safety (507-537-7252) or 911 immediately to get help in any medical emergency. Students should be prepared to provide the following information to the dispatcher: name of the injured or ill person if known, current location of the person (building and room number), nature and type of injury if known. If it is safe to do so, remain with the individual until help arrives; try to keep the individual still. Do not attempt to move a seriously injured person (unless a more serious injury or life threatening situation may result). Provide first aid only if you are trained to do so. Once emergency medical personnel arrive at the scene, provide assistance if requested.

Emergency information can be found by visiting the University Public Safety webpage. Students are also able to sign up for SMSU Alerts which notify them of emergency situations on campus (primarily due to weather).

SMSU has a public safety member on duty 24 hours a day and can be reached by calling 507-537-7252. They can assist with any problems that may arise on campus and can also be called to be a safety escort for students. SMSU Public Safety also publishes and Annual Security and Fire Report the can be found on their website.


SMSU Information Technology Services has tips on recommended minimum hardware specifications, operating systems, and software for students’ personal computers.

Students should contact the Technology Resource Center (TRC) by calling 507-537-6111 or bring their personal computer by the TRC office located in BA161 in the McFarland Library.


Students can ride the Community Transit bus free of charge when they present their Mustang Card.

Transportation to an airport is available through Jefferson Lines. Please visit their webpage for more information. Jefferson Lines picks students up in front of the SMSU Conference Center.

Activities and Athletics

Encourage your student to get involved in activities that their RA puts on for the floor/house. SMSU also encourages students to get involved. With over 70 clubs/activities/organizations, there is something for everyone! And if students can’t find something of interest to them, the process for starting a new club/activity/organization is easy.

Numerous activities happen on campus every day. Information about these activities can be found by visiting SMSU Today on the SMSU website or following SMSU Today on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat, or LinkedIn.

SMSU Athletics is comprised of 18 intercollegiate/varsity sports teams. SMSU also has intramural athletics that take place in both fall and spring semesters.

Yes, as a Division II university, athletic scholarships are available but not guaranteed to student athletes. Interested students should fill out the prospective student-athlete form for their sport of interest, and the head coach will review them.


SMSU Career Services oversees the Mustang Promise program which promises that students who complete all steps within the program will find employment within 6 months of graduation or SMSU will cover their first semester of graduate school tuition at SMSU.

SMSU was founded in 1963 and opened in1967. SMSU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and has been accredited since 1972.

Contact information can be found using the SMSU Directory.

Last Modified: 3/18/24 4:02 PM | Website Feedback