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Graduate Student Online Orientation


As a graduate student, the expense and hassle of a parking ticket or confusion over where to park can cause added stress. We want to help prevent this unnecessary burden by informing you in advance about SMSU’s parking and transportation options. If you would like to park on-campus, a permit is required for all lots from 7:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday during the school year.

Parking Permit

Lot prices range from $80 to $160 per year, depending on the type of parking you want. Parking Permits can be purchased at the Cashier’s Window (IL 132) or at the University’s Public Safety in the basement of Founder’s Hall. You can find more information about parking at Business Services. A map of the campus, including the parking lots, can be found at the website.

City Bus

The Western Community Action(MAT) transit services are for everyone who needs a ride. Marshall Area Transit can be reached at 507-537-7628 Monday through Friday 8:30 – 4:30 for rates and scheduling options. To view the route schedule, visit the website

Campus Map

A campus map can be obtained from the Southwest Minnesota State University Website.

Student ID Card (Mustang ID Card)

Student ID Cards can be obtained from the Student Center. ID cards are required to check out materials from the library, checks at the Cashier’s Office, to cash checks on campus, to receive student rates at campus events, and to gain admission to University facilities available for student use.


Graduate students who require on campus housing can be obtained through Residence Life.


The Barnes & Noble Bookstore is located on the first floor of the Student Center. Here you can buy your textbooks, SMSU apparel, SMSU gift items, school supplies, snacks, beverages, and more. During the first week of each semester, the Barnes & Noble Bookstore has extended hours for students coming to evening and weekend courses.

The Barnes & Noble Bookstore can also be accessed on-line. Through the Web site, you may order your textbooks and a limited variety of apparel and gift items. To view the on-line Barnes & Noble Bookstore, please visit the website.


Every new student at Southwest Minnesota State University is issued a SMSU E-mail account. This account is the official method of communication from SMSU. Students will receive all SMSU information regarding important topics such as registration, financial aid, and campus security, as well as messages from instructors through SMSU E-mail account only. It can be accessed on the SMSU page (the envelope icon next to the search bar at the top of the site).

It is the student’s responsibility to activate their SMSU E-mail account and check it regularly for important messages. Please call the Help Desk at 1-800-642-0684, extension 6111, for any problems or questions you may have.

Food Services

SMSU has several dining services during the regular academic year. Services include Residential Restaurant, the Food Court, The Coffee House @ SMSU, and Mustang Express. The Residential Restaurant, Food Court, and The Coffee House @ SMSU are located in the Student Center. The Residential Restaurant is all-you-can-eat of the home-style classics including grill, deli, salad, pasta, taco and nacho bars. Enjoy your favorites at the Food Court, from Grille Works to Caliente. The Coffee House @ SMSU is the campus coffee shop with light snacks and sandwiches along with smoothies and desserts. Mustang Express is located by the BA/CH link that provides the convenient option for when you are on the go, offering snacks, sandwiches, beverages, and coffee.

Various meal plans are also available, in which your ID card is your meal card. For more information about meal plans, visit the campus dining website.

Support Services

Throughout your time with us, you may want to utilize the services of our many student support facilities. SMSU provides services to its students through the following venues:

Public Safety 

Public Safety is located in the basement of Founder’s Hall. They provide 24-hour services with the following tasks:

  • Night Watch
  • Escorting
  • Providing security for special events
  • Opening/Securing Academic Buildings

Child Care Center

The SMSU Child Care Center offers licensed day care to students, faculty, and staff of the university. The center’s overall program promotes development of the total child, physically, socially, and emotionally. The center is located 1502 State Street, across the street from the dorms. For complete details, please visit the SMSU Child Care Center or call Kari at (507) 537- 6014.

Student Disability Services

SDS is SMSU’s program to provide support service for students with a physical, cognitive, or mental/emotional disability. The goal is to provide facility and programmatic access through reasonable accommodations to allow students with disabilities an equal opportunity for academic success. The services provided by SMSU are:

  • Priority to Registration
  • Note taking
  • Alternative Testing
  • Support Services

If you are in need of services from the SDS office, please visit their website or stop by the office in the Individualized Learning Center 218.

Counseling & Testing Services

SMSU provides a counseling center free of charge to its students. The Counseling and Testing Center provides services such as:

  • Academic skills
  • Alcohol/substance abuse
  • Career choice
  • Eating Disorders
  • Grief and loss
  • Traumatic events
  • Much, much more

The Counseling and Testing Center is located in Bellow’s Academic Center 156 or call 507-537-7150.

Writing Center

The Writing Center offers writing and composition assistance to students of any major. Students may go to the Writing Center to seek assistance with writing composition, writing skills, or grammar. The Writing Center is located in the Academic Commons in IL 224.

Student Activities

SMSU has more than 80 student activities and clubs available to students. A few examples include International Student Organization, Non-Traditional Student Organization and Student Activities Committee. To view them all, please visit the website.

Health Services

SMSU maintains an on-campus health center for its students to obtain needed health care at a cost far less than community clinics. The Health Center also manages student health insurance plans. If you are in need of student health insurance, please stop by the Health Services to make arrangements. NOTE: International students are required to carry student health insurance. The Health Center is located in Bellow’s Academic Center 158. You can call 507-537-7202 for an appointment or questions you may have.


As an SMSU student, you are granted admission to all athletic events free of charge with your student ID. For complete schedules of all sports, visit the Athletics Web site.


SMSU offers a full line of recreation and fitness programs for all students at minimal or no charge. Students may participate in intramural sports, swim, play basketball, work out in the weight room or fitness center, and much more. Visit the Campus Life website complete information on what is available to students

Financial Aid

How can I check the status of my application?

At anytime after the SMSU Financial Aid office has received either the FAFSA or institutional Application for Financial Aid, students can check the status of their financial aid application through the SMSU website.

Application for Financial Aid

Once the SMSU Financial Aid Office receives your FAFSA results, and you are accepted for admission to SMSU, we will check your file for completeness. If additional forms and/or information is needed, we will send you a letter explaining what is necessary. Once we have complete and accurate information from you, we will send you a letter stating that your award has been finalized. The letter will include details on how to access your website award letter. The award will include eligibility for the following programs: Federal Pell Grant, Federal Academic Competitiveness Grant, Federal National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, Minnesota State Grant, Work Study, Federal Direct Loans, Federal Perkins Loan, and SMSU scholarships.

Your financial aid award can be accessed at:

Click on Menu
Enter your Star ID and PIN
Financial Aid
Award or Award Letters


This concludes the section on The Basics. Click on the NEXT button to continue the Graduate Student Orientation.

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