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News from the Nest

They are busy and bonding 

photo of a beach ball in the crowd at On Iowa! 2019

And, we’re off! Another great academic year has launched and we are glad to have students on campus. We welcomed the new and returning students with On Iowa!, Convocation, and President’s block party. The year is off to a good start!

Check out the back-to-school photos and know that we’ve worked hard to keep your students engaged and included at their new home.

Yes, we have plans to include you!

Family Weekend logo : tickets on sale now! Nov. 15-17, 2019

While we just wrapped up hosting events for newly-dropped-off students, we are also planning fun activities for you to re-connect with your student at Family Weekend 2019. Mark your calendars for November 15 -17, 2019. See you then!

Put your headphones on and join us

Check out the UI Parent and Family Network (PFN) podcast series that engages the audience as educational stakeholders of UI students. Guided by theories, institutional research, and practice, podcasts provide a platform to connect with UI parent and family members and provide proactive discussions about the student experience. The podcast features campus partners who work with families and students to support student success. And, as students return to campus, we’ve provided a safety podcast that highlights resources on campus and works to educate students and families.

2019-20 Podcast Schedule

  • August - Making the Big Move: Move-In & On Iowa!
  • September - Handling Homesickness: Strategies for Success
  • October - Paying for Next Year: The Financial Aid Process
  • November - Study Abroad—What’s it all about?
  • December - Managing the Winter Break Transition
  • January - Proactive Planning for Next Year
  • February – Exploring Summer Jobs & Internships
  • March - Academic Support Resources
  • April – Managing the Summer Transition
  • May - Iowa City in the Summer

Not too soon to start thinking about next year’s living arrangements

I know it feels like you just moved your student in, but in the next few months you may hear discussions about “where to live next year?” You’ll want to look at all the options, including campus housing and Iowa City-area rental units. 

University Housing and Dining

Choosing to live on campus for a subsequent year is a good option. Here is a helpful housing site to reference.

Support systems exist in and around the residence halls that allow students access to learning outside the classroom. The ability to pay for housing and meals (including utilities, high speed internet, and other services) each semester may help students better manage their finances. Additionally, students’ commitment to on-campus housing is only for the academic year, not 12 months. 


Believe it or not, students will start signing and re-signing rental leases in October. Please note that Student Legal Services is a good resource for navigating this process with your student. Below is a Q & A that I hope you find helpful.

Q: What can Student Legal Services (SLS) do for students?

A:  Student Legal Services is staffed by licensed attorneys who provide free legal advice and low-cost representation to students on a variety of legal issues, including landlord-tenant disputes. SLS can assist students who need repairs made, are facing eviction, want to break or sublease their lease, and those who have questions about security deposits. 

Q: When will students start signing leases for the 2020-2021 school year?

A: Students will start signing and re-signing leases in October. Students should not feel pressured to sign. There are many available units in the Iowa City area and we encourage students to shop around.

Q: How can prospective tenants research a property or landlord?

A: There are many ways to find information about a particular rental unit or the landlord/property manager:

  1. Contact Student Legal Services for a free lease review
  2. Ask the current tenants
  3. Check Google Reviews
  4. Review the University of Iowa Student Government Rental Guide
  5. Contact the City Housing Inspector. Iowa City rental permit information is also available here
  6. Search Iowa court records

Q: How can students ensure they receive their security deposit back?

A: Documentation is key. Tenants should take pictures or video of their unit at the time of move-in, documenting anything that is damaged, broken, or unclean. They should also complete a move-in checklist. If the landlord does not provide one, there is one available for download on the SLS website. During the lease, it is important to report any maintenance concerns immediately. At the end of the lease, tenants should again take pictures or video, complete a move-out checklist, and participate in a walk-through of the unit with the landlord. 

First time around can be the hardest 

If you’re a first-time college parent, you may be feeling a bit lost – or relieved – right now. Either way, you’re not alone. I thought I’d share this Dear First-Time College Parent article. Enjoy and know that it’s all going to be okay. Hang in there! 

As always, thanks for your support.

Together for UI, 

an image of the signature for Melissa S. Shivers, VP for Student Life

Melissa S. Shivers, PhD
Vice President for Student Life