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Frequently Asked Questions

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Parent & Guardian FAQs

Below you will find questions we receive throughout the summer from families of incoming students. Please review the responses below and if your question is not listed, contact us by phone or email.


Financial & Medical

Housing & Dining

Looking Ahead


Planning for Arrival

Student Academics


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How can I stay up to date as a Stanford parent/guardian?

Visit for helpful information for parents and families. The University Communications team will send Family Newsletters by email on a quarterly basis throughout the academic year. Individuals who receive the Approaching Stanford summer newsletter will automatically be added to the Family Newsletter database once the school year begins. If you are not on this mailing list and would like to be added, have your student email with your contact information. Note that this request must come from your student.

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How can I contact the University with questions or concerns?

For emergencies, call 9-1-1. For general inquiries, call or email the Stanford Parent & Family Help Line at (650) 725-0649 or This line is responded to during business hours, Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. If your student is in crisis and needs immediate assistance, call the Dean On Call at (650) 504-8022. The Dean on Call line is answered 24/7.

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What is the process for paying tuition? Where can I find information about methods of payment?

All term charges for undergraduate students (tuition, housing, dining, health insurance, etc.) are due the month prior to the start of the quarter, unless otherwise specified. All other charges are billed and due monthly. Student’s monthly university bills are generated on or around the 20th of each month and due on the 15th of the following month. Their first University bill will be available on August 20 and payment for charges on this bill will be due by September 15. Detailed information is available on the Student Financial Services website, including how students can set up parents/guardians as Authorized Payers and Due Dates. Authorized Payers will be able to view and pay the bill.

The Prepayment Installment Plan (PIP) is a budgeting resource that offers undergraduate students the option to spread payments of large university fees (estimated by tuition, room and board) over three monthly installments per term (term fees remain due by the 15th of the month prior to the start of term). The university charges no finance, interest or enrollment fees for the PIP.

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What is the best way to submit a scholarship check made payable to Stanford?

Students should send scholarship checks to the Office of Financial Aid in Montag Hall. Financial Aid processes all scholarship checks made out to students and to Stanford. Be sure your student’s Stanford ID number is on the check so that it is applied to the correct account.

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Where can I get updated information about COVID-19 and Stanford?

We encourage you to frequently check the Health Alerts webpage,, for posted updates, announcements, and information about COVID-19. You may also choose to subscribe to email updates from the Health Alerts team.

You can also go to a new website, Re-Approaching Stanford, for detailed information for undergraduate students about returning to campus from the Vice Provost for Student Affairs and the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education.

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Where can I learn more about Vaden Health Center and Cardinal Care Health Insurance?

Stanford offers health services through the Vaden Health Center. These include medical services and a variety of counseling services. Students will be required to complete a set of forms as part of their Entrance Health Requirements.

Students must enroll in or waive Cardinal Care Health Insurance in Axess by September 15 (the date for international students is August 15). Note that enrollment is for the entire year from September 1-August 31. More information can be found in the 2021-22 Student Health Matters catalog (coming soon).

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What does my student need to bring to college? Do students bring mini-fridges and microwaves?

You can find suggestions for packing listed in the Life on the Farm chapter of the Approaching Stanford Handbook. We discourage mini-fridges, microwaves, and other items that use a great deal of energy. Every dorm has a communal kitchenette with a full refrigerator, stove/oven, and microwave for students to use; and there are late night dining options on campus.

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What is my student’s mailing address? How do I ship boxes/packages to Stanford?

Stanford accepts packages at our on-campus Post Office and at the Undergraduate Package Center in Tresidder Union, a central package receiving center on campus. Mail/Packages addressed to residences will not be accepted. See R&DE's Mail & Deliveries website for more information. Due to student privacy, we are unable to share your student's mailing address; please check with your student to confirm their mailing address.

Stanford will receive packages for students only after they have arrived and moved into their campus residence. Therefore, please do not send boxes before your student's scheduled move-in date, as they will not be accepted. Be sure that your student packs their essentials in the luggage they bring with them to check in (clothes, shoes, jacket, toiletries and towel, medications, essential bedding, etc.)

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When are housing and roommate assignments sent?

Housing assignments will be announced in early August by email notification. If applicable, students will find out who their roommate is when they move to campus on Move-In Day, the first day of NSO. Unlike many other colleges and universities, Stanford does not give students the option of requesting a particular roommate in the first year, nor do we reveal roommate matches prior to move-in. This policy is rooted in the belief that the relationship roommates have with each other will be more positive and successful if it begins from the point of face-to-face interaction, rather than being shaped by any preconceived notions stemming from limited information or online communications. Stanford realizes there are practical consequences to this policy that may create temporary inconveniences for you, but year after year, experience tells us this is a winning way to handle roommate assignments.

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Is there a way to learn more about specific residences and floor plans?

Once housing is assigned in early August, you can review information about specific residences and floor plans on the Student Housing website.

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Is a meal plan required for students? What types of food do the dining halls provide? What about students with a food allergy?

Meal plans are required for all incoming first-year students. They are automatically enrolled in the 15 Meals/Week Meal Plan + Meal Plan Dollars, but can adjust to the 19 Meals/Week Meal Plan when they arrive, if desired.

Dining halls provide a variety of healthy and nutritious foods, accommodating students with vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free diets, and other diet restrictions. All prepared foods have descriptions of common allergens they may contain. Students with allergies or who require religious or medical food accommodations can speak with our nutritionist for resources and additional information. Please consult R&DE Student Dining for more details.

R&DE Stanford Diningʼs CleanDining program builds upon the already high standards of food safety and sanitation in the dining halls, utilizing industry best practices and enhanced cleaning protocols. The goal of R&DE Stanford Diningʼs CleanDining program is to provide students with reassurance of the safety of their dining experience and create a focus on enhanced cleanliness that will be visible to students. R&DE Stanford Diningʼs CleanDining program was created to consistently meet all of the evolving expectations during the COVID-19 pandemic. For further questions, feedback or information please contact

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When is Family Weekend?

Visit the Family Weekend website for updated information. Details about the 2021 program will likely be announced in Autumn Quarter.

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Is there a way to send a cake or treats to my student on their birthday or favorite holiday?

The Stanford Parents' Club offers a delivery service with cakes and other treats delivered to your student’s dorm room. Order online at On-Campus Deliveries.

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When is New Student Orientation (NSO)?

New Student Orientation is tentatively scheduled for September 13-19, 2021. Please do not book travel until the university has confirmed these dates. More information regarding orientation scheduling and programing is forthcoming.

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If my student is participating in a pre-orientation program (i.e., ISO, SPOT, or SNIP) when should I come to campus to move them in?

The University is excited to offer pre-orientation programs for 2021. Dates and details of these programs, including application details, is forthcoming.

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Where can parents and families stay around Stanford?

While we do not provide parents and families with any housing accommodations during NSO, there are many hotels in Palo Alto and the surrounding cities. We recommend booking a hotel room early before hotels fill up. The Visitor Information section of the Stanford website provides a thorough lodging guide as well as airport details, maps/directions, and other travel information.

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What can I do to help my student prepare over the summer?

The Approaching Stanford Handbook is their main resource for this transition. You’re welcome to review it as well - we hope you will encourage your student to refer to the Handbook or to contact our office by email or phone when they have questions.

Students are responsible for reading University communications (by checking their email) and completing required actions this summer, including submitting their required Approaching Stanford Forms and Vaden Health Forms, and completing required online education courses. They may also opt to take various placement tests/diagnostics, communicate with academic advisors, and apply for programs. You can look at the Important Dates and Deadlines (for frosh, or for transfers) for more information. Please remember that students cannot share any login/password information with you, as it would be a violation of University policy. You should not complete their Approaching Stanford Forms. Finally, we hope that you will help your student enjoy their well-deserved summer break!

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Where can we go shopping near Stanford?

There are a plethora of shops near campus including banks and grocery stores. Stanford Shopping Center, Town & Country Village, and San Antonio Shopping Center should provide you with many options to fulfil your shopping needs. Dorm rooms come with furniture, so please don't purchase additional furniture, but items such as plastic storage bins, hangers, and desk lamps can be useful.

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Should my student bring a computer?

Review the Getting Started page on the Vice Provost for Teaching & Learning website to learn about computing at Stanford, resources, and recommendations for buying a computer. Students can also use a computer in one of the many computer clusters through campus (including one in each undergraduate residence hall!)

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When will my student enroll in Autumn Quarter courses?

First-year and new transfer students will enroll in courses during New Student Orientation. The course catalog will be published on ExploreCourses in mid-August, allowing time for students to browse the course offerings before enrolling. They must be registered for classes by the Preliminary Study List Deadline, 5:00 p.m. on Monday, September 20, 2021.

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Where can I get proof of enrollment for my student?

Students can request enrollment verifications in Axess only once they have enrolled in courses. Because new students cannot enroll in Autumn Quarter courses until New Student Orientation (NSO), if you need verification for scholarship, tax, or insurance purposes, please inform the institution that Stanford first-year students will not be able to enroll in courses until orientation and thus, enrollment verifications will not be available until late September. Sometimes a copy of your student’s acceptance letter will suffice or institutions will provide an extension. If proof of enrollment is required, your student should send an email to with this request and we will provide a letter of explanation.

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When are students on break from classes?

Stanford's Academic Calendar is the calendar for the entire academic year, including dates for breaks. It is best to wait to learn your student's schedule before booking flights. They generally learn that schedule at the beginning of classes each quarter, although it can change.

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Can my student have a car on campus?

First-year students are not allowed to have a car on campus; this policy is outlined on Stanford Transportation's website. However, Stanford has many great options for alternative transportation. For more information review Stanford Transportation Resources.

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Where can bikes be purchased?

Many students appreciate having a bicycle to navigate campus. Your student may bring a bicycle from home or buy one from one of Palo Alto’s many local bike vendors. The Campus Bike Shop, located in Tresidder Union, also rents, sells, and services bikes and is a convenient on-campus option. Read Bike Information and Resources for New Students, which discusses bike safety, services, and resources at Stanford.

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How can my student get to the airport from campus?

There are several transportation options for getting to surrounding airports, including a number of private shuttle and ride share services. Caltrain also connects students to San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and San Jose International Airport (SJC). Read Getting to Stanford on R&DE's website for more detailed information.

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