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Michigan State University

Frequently Asked Questions

Participation

  • What is Grandparents University?

Grandparents University is a three-day campus experience that actively engages participants in MSU academics while creating lasting family memories. Grandchildren and their grandparents participate in four classes and unique evening programming with ample time allocated for exploring all that the MSU campus has to offer and experience college life by living and dining in an MSU residence hall. 

  • Who is eligible to attend?

Grandparents University is open to children ages 8-13 who are accompanied by a grandparent who is an alum or friend of MSU.

While this program is designed to bridge the gap between the generations, we recognize that there may be situations where a grandparent cannot attend. Please contact the MSU Alumni Office to discuss potential options.

  • Can parents attend the program?

No. This program is designed to bridge the gap between the generations. Parents of children are welcome to enjoy MSU on their own, but they are not permitted to participate in any classes or activities.

  • What are the age requirements?

All children must be in the eligible age range of 8-13 years old when Grandparents University takes place. Due to the educational nature of the program as well as limited capacity, we cannot make exceptions.

  • What is the adult to child ratio?

All children must always be accompanied by an adult, no exceptions.

    • No more than two children can be accompanied by one adult. If two children attend with one adult, everyone must attend the same classes and stay together as a group. In some classes, this may necessitate sharing equipment and working together as one.
    • If two children attend with two adults, each adult/child pair may attend a different class.
    • No more than two adults may accompany one child.
  • What is the physical activity level of the program?

Grandparents University is an active program with events that take place in a variety of locations across campus. Although there is bus transportation, walking is the primary means of getting around and walking distances may be up to several miles per day in various weather conditions. See “Getting around campus” below.

We strive to treat all participants fairly and equally and keep everyone safe while enjoying the program. We respectfully request that prospective participants honestly consider the physical activity level and whether this program is a good fit for them. If there are any questions, we encourage prospective participants to contact the MSU Alumni Office prior to registering for the program.

Registration

  • How do I register?

Registration is completed online only. There are two steps to registration.

    • Step 1: Application – collect pertinent information for each child and adult participant.
    • Step 2: Enrollment – participants enroll in their classes and evening activities and pay the registration fee. 

Payment of the registration fee must be completed at the time of enrollment and failure to pay will result in the participants' classes and evening activities being canceled. We can only accept online credit card payments. All transactions are handled through the university’s secure, PCI-compliant server. We cannot accept credit card information over the phone for this program.

This is an extremely popular program that frequently sells out in a matter of hours. Applications are processed on a first-come, first-served basis. The MSU Alumni Office cannot "reserve" or "hold" a spot in advance of applications opening.

  • What's included with the registration fee?

The registration fee includes two nights lodging and meals in a campus dining hall throughout the program, three classes and class materials, evening activities, a welcome bag and T-shirt and bus transportation on campus.

The program is self-funded and rates are set based on the actual costs incurred.

  • Are scholarships available?

Yes. A limited number of scholarships are available. Please see Registration and Scholarships page for details. Scholarships do not include travel expenses or other costs incurred by participants.

  • When does registration open for 2024?

    • Step 1: Application will open March 20 at 10 a.m. ET.
    • Step 2: Enrollment will open March 22 at 10 a.m. ET.
  • What's needed for registration?

Information required for both children and adults in Step 1: Application:

    • Name
    • Age
    • Address, City, State, Zip
    • Email (for children, this should be the email of their parent/legal guardian)
    • Phone Number (for children, this should be the email of their parent/legal guardian)
    • Parent/Legal Guardian Name (children only)
    • Gender
    • Shirt Size (both youth and adult sizes are available)
    • Accommodation and Dietary Requests (accommodation refers to accessibility, not housing)
    • Intended College Start Date (children only)

In Step 2: Enrollment, participants:

    • Choose classes
    • Choose evening activities

For full details, go to the Registration and Scholarships webpage.

Classes and Evening Activities

  • When is the class catalog available?

The class catalog gives an overview of the class descriptions, class sizes and evening activities available and is typically available by mid-Feb. For details, go to the Registration and Scholarships webpage.

  • How can I ensure that my grandchild gets into a specific class or evening activity?

Some classes and activities are limited in size due to the nature of the class or activity, availability of equipment and/or other factors. Availability is on a first-come, first-served basis, so please be attentive to the Step 2: Enrollment date and time. No guaranteed spots can be secured for any class or activity.

In advance of Step 2: Enrollment, we strongly encourage grandparents and grandchildren to review the Grandparents University Class Catalog, select four - five options for each class session and two - three options for the evening activity, and write down both class/evening activity name and number. There’s a Schedule Wish List at the back of the class catalog that you can use for this purpose. Having options will make the enrollment process more efficient, and you’ll be prepared in case an option isn’t available.

  • When will we receive our class and evening activity schedule?

During Step 2: Enrollment, grandparents will choose classes and evening activities for both children and adults and then complete payment to secure your schedule.

  • My grandchild didn't get a specific class that they really wanted. Do you maintain a waiting list?

In fairness to all participants, we do not maintain a waiting list due to the complexity of enrollment and the large number of participants.

  • How do I tell my grandchild they didn't get a specific class that they really wanted?

If a desired class or evening activity is full, please use this opportunity to build excitement about learning something new and unexpected with your grandchild.

We wish we could be everything to everyone, but Grandparents University instructors are volunteers, and classes and activities are limited in size due to the nature of the class or activity, availability of equipment and/or other factors.

Grandparents University is about experiencing college – living in a residence hall, going to class, eating in the dining hall, exploring campus – and building family memories.

  • Who decides which classes to offer? Why isn't a class from a specific college offered? 

We greatly value our partnerships with MSU’s colleges and units, and we encourage participation from each. Grandparents University instructors are volunteers, and this activity is often balanced between other commitments such as research, teaching and other summer plans. 

Code of Conduct, Medical Authorization and Safety Information

  • What are the rules for Grandparents University?

The physical and emotional safety and well-being of all participants is a high priority for MSU. Please view the Grandparents University Program Handbook for a complete listing of event rules, code of conduct, emergency procedures and more.

  • Are there safety requirements for programs involving minors?

Yes. The Grandparents University conduct and safety policies and procedures meet or exceed the MSU requirements regarding all programs involving minors.

  • Which forms do we need to fill out after we register?

Following the application and enrollment, all participants are required to complete several forms.

    • Adults: Adult Participant Consent and Expectation Form
    • Children: Child Participant Consent and Expectation Form and the Medical Treatment Authorization Form. Both forms must be completed and signed by a parent/legal guardian for the child.

All forms will be available online and will need to be completed by April 22. We cannot accept completed forms by mail, email or fax. Participants who do not submit their forms by this date will be released from the program.

Please review the forms in advance so you’re prepared to complete and submit them by the deadline.

Schedule

  • What time should we arrive? When can we move into the residence hall?

Specific details will be sent to all participants several weeks before the program. You will receive instructions and times for move-in, a list of what to bring and other important information. Until then, see the schedule for draft times and activities.

  • What is the anticipated schedule of the program for 2024?

Note that this is a draft schedule and times are subject to adjustment as we finalize the program.

Tuesday, June 25

    • 8-10 a.m. – Check-in and Move-in
    • 10 a.m.-12 p.m. – Convocation
    • 12-2 p.m. – Lunch
    • 2-4:30 p.m. – Class Session #1 (Times vary based on participants class schedule)
    • 4:30-7 p.m. – Dinner
    • 7-9 p.m. – Evening activities

Wednesday, June 26

    • 7-8:30 a.m. – Breakfast
    • 9 a.m.-12 p.m. – Class Session #2 (Times vary based on participants class schedule)
    • 11 a.m.-1 p.m. – Lunch
    • 1-4:30 p.m. – Class Session #3 (Times vary based on participants class schedule)
    • 4:30-7 p.m. – Dinner
    • 7-9 p.m. – Green & White Night

Thursday, June 27

    • 7-8:30 a.m. – Breakfast
    • 9-11 a.m. – Move-Out

Housing and Meals

  • Where will we stay and eat while on campus?

All participants will reside on campus for two nights in a residence hall and will eat meals in an on-campus dining facility. For full details, go to the Housing and Meal webpage.

  • I want to stay in a hotel. Is there a discount if I don't stay in the residence hall?

No. The registration rate is all-inclusive. The program is designed to have participants engaged in the full college experience which includes staying in a residence hall, eating meals in the dining room and attending various classes.

  • Can I bring an air conditioner?

No. MSU does not allow air conditioners due to electrical and safety concerns. However, participants may bring a fan and extension cord. Note that we cannot store fans for participants.

  • Do the residence hall rooms have refrigerators?

No. If a participant has medicine or other medical necessity that requires refrigeration, this should be noted in writing during Step 1: Application.  

  • I have a food allergy or other dietary request. What precautions are taken in the dining hall?

MSU Culinary Services operates the dining halls and is experienced with accommodating food allergies or other dietary requests. If you have food allergies or intolerances, or are required to follow a special diet, the dining staff can provide resources and information to help you make safe choices while still having a great dining experience. The MSU Culinary Services team identifies the eight major allergens - milk, eggs, soy, nuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish and wheat – plus alcohol, beef and pork, on all menu items.

 We encourage participants to indicate their dietary requests in writing during Step 1: Application.

Getting Around Campus

  • How do we get around campus to attend classes and evening activities?

MSU is one of the greenest and most beautiful college campuses in the nation and we encourage participants to explore it while attending Grandparents University.

Walking is the primary means of getting around and walking distances may be up to several miles per day in various weather conditions.

There are several buses that drive a set route around campus and stop at predetermined locations. While these buses do not offer door-to-door service, they reduce the amount of walking.

Additionally, MSU has a network of Spin scooters that you can rent and travel around campus without having to return the scooter to its original location.

Participants are not permitted to drive their own vehicles to classes and evening activities.

  • Can we bring bicycles? 

Yes. Be sure to bring your bike locks and helmets. The MSU Bikes Service Center has adult and some youth bikes available for rent on a first-come, first-served basis. They can be contacted via email or by calling 517-432-3400.

  • Where do we park? 

Parking on campus is very limited and participants should plan to park their car for the duration of the program. Complimentary parking will be available in a lot on campus and a shuttle will be available during move-in and check-out to take participants back and forth.  Specific parking details will be sent to all participants several weeks before the program.

Accommodation

  • Where can we park if we have a handicap permit?

A limited number of accessible spaces are available near the residence halls. If you have a valid handicap parking permit, you will need to obtain a parking pass in order to park on campus. Please indicate your requested accommodation when registering for the program.

  • What accommodations are available?

Both Holmes and Akers Halls have a limited number of barrier-free rooms and classrooms are accessible.

We strive to treat all participants fairly and equally and keep everyone safe while enjoying the program. Any requested accommodation must be requested in writing during Step 1: Application. This will ensure the smooth and efficient operation of the program for all participants. Any requested accommodation will be kept confidential and shared only with relevant MSU Alumni Office staff to ensure the participant’s requests are met to the best of our ability.

If there are any questions, we encourage prospective participants to contact the MSU Alumni Office prior to registering for the program.

Cancellations

  • What is the cancellation policy?

After the registration fee is paid, a request for a full refund must be made in writing by April 22 and will result in a $50 administrative fee per person. We cannot issue any refunds after this date since we've already incurred expenses for the program.

Should you have additional questions, contact Nikki Hawthorne via email.