Welcome New Families!

New Student Services/Family Outreach is pleased to support the transition process for new students and families to the Western experience through our orientation programs, family weekends, and our online and printed family resources. Through our offerings, we hope to inform you about the many campus resources and services available to your student here as well as some helpful strategies on how you can support your student to best access and utilize them.  

Tips for Navigating Family Orientation

Red Square on a sunny day with students sitting at outdoor tables

The New Student and Family Orientation website is open to explore with your student as you continue preparations for their first academic quarter. Here are a few tips on how you might approach navigating the site together as well as on your own.


Encourage your student to join you to:

  1. Review the “How do I…” section of the Orientation website to help answer common questions or complete essential tasks to get started at Western, learn more about placement tests, or take a virtual campus tour.
  2. Review the “Learn more about...” section to access campus websites and videos covering academic majors, campus services and resources, and topical conversations with current students.
  3. Checkout online resources or videos prior to attending Live Events to deepen your knowledge and round out your orientation experience.

On Your Own

Check out the information below for:

  1. Quick and easy access to Orientation website content that has been identified as higher priority by parents and families from previous programs.
  2. Important processes, resources and services available to support your student’s successful transition to Western.
  3. Important reminders like: Breathe! You got this!


Checklist for New Students

Learn about required and recommended actions for new students, including submitting proof of measles immunization, completing the Math Placement Assessment, submission of final transcripts, and more.

Prepare for WWU

Viking Resource Hub

Looking for a department or service but you're not sure where on a campus directory to look? Visit the Viking Resource Hub, where campus services, departments, resources and policies can be found by their function instead of by their name. 

Tuition & Billing

Students must complete the Release of Financial Information e–sign form to allow the Student Business Office (SBO) to speak with family about their Western Account. Watch the Send a Payer Invitation video on the SBO's How To page to learn more about how parents or other payers can view account balance and make payments.

Questions? Watch the previously recorded SBO Tuition Tuesday information sessions below.  

Avoid Late Fees and Interest Paying Your Bill Online Western's Payment Plan

Student Transportation

We often hear the question, “Can students really get around Bellingham without a car?” The answer is YES! Extremely limited parking combined with the savings from not paying for parking and gas are persuasive reasons to look into alternative transportation options. Watch the Western on the Go! Video and checkout the available tools on the WWU Transportation website to assess your student’s transportation needs. 

Transportation Services

New Viking Families On Board

There are four recorded (live) sessions available to watch! Each of the two-part family orientation videos include a 15-minute webinar-style overview of how to use the Viking Resource Hub (formally known as the New Viking Handbook) to explore Western services and resources online while the second part gives current students the chance to share their pro tips and answer questions submitted by parents and family. 

Check the video descriptions for timestamped content as well as links to resources shared in session chats.

Video 1 Video 2 Video 3 Video 4

Academic Success

Wondering how to support your student's academic planning process at Western? The Academic Advising Department has prepared an overview specifically to help parents and families understand how academic advising is structured, how students can prepare for their first academic advising and registration session, ways to explore majors, graduation requirements, and more.

Watch Now

COVID Updates

For the latest updates on campus responses to COVID-19, please visit the WWU Coronavirus website for: Vax FAQs, requirements, on-campus student testing metrics, campus cancellations and closure notices, and more.

Student Activities

Encourage your student to explore the Western Involvement Network (WIN) to connect with AS Clubs and Organizations, learn about campus events, and explore new interests. 

Learn More About WIN

Student Housing

On Campus: For more information about Western’s On-Campus Housing, visit the University Residences website. Checkout available timelinesmove-in information, housing during holiday breaks, and how to send mail. Still have questions? Watch the recorded info session from the Recorded Events section of the orientation website.

Watch Now

Off Campus: Is your student looking for a place off campus to call home? Try these tools for locating available rental properties, finding roommates and understanding tenant rights and responsibilities. Visit Off Campus Living to learn more. 

Meal Plans & Dining Services

Residential meal plans are mandatory for students living in the residence halls on campus. Optional meal plans for students living off campus or in Birnam Wood are also available. Study up on your student's meal plan & dining options at WWU by visiting the Meal Plan 101 page. Explore the website to learn more about dining locations & menus, supporting special dietary needs, and more. 

Disability Access Center

Learn more about providing support as a family member for your new college student through the Disability Access Center (DAC). Checkout the overview of some of the differences between K-12 and Higher Ed and why it’s important that your student begins the dialogue with this office instead of parents and family members.

Light blue circular graphic with a top view of a coffee cup with a heart pattern in the foam. The graphic contains the program name: Coffee, Tea & Family with NSSFO Family Outreach Office Hours below

Coffee, Tea and Family

Family Outreach Office Hours are available to parents/families of new and current students.

Is your student new to Western this quarter? Do you have questions about how to navigate the New Student and Family Orientation website? Need a crash course in accessing resources and services available to students? Want to be ready with helpful information and advice to support your student’s success at Western? 

If your answer is yes to any one or maybe all of these questions, then grab a cup of coffee or tea and meet with our Family Outreach Manager!  

Book a Meeting Now

Frequently Asked Questions

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) is a federal law that pertains to the release of and access to student educational records. 

What this means to parents and families is that WWU staff and faculty cannot discuss some aspects of your student's education with you without permission from your student. While FERPA is in place to protect your student, we understand that this is a big change and may take some time to get used to. Offices and departments on campus are happy to talk with you about policies and procedures, even if they cannot discuss your student's specific situation.

For information about how students can grant you access to their Western Account Online for tuition and billing purposes, please see "How can I gain access to my student’s account for tuition and billing purposes?" below.

Learn More About FERPA

Students must complete the Release of Financial Information e–sign form to allow the Student Business Office (SBO) to speak with family about their Western Account. 

Students must send a Payer Invitation through their Western Account Portal to allow parents or other payers to view their balance and make payments. Watch the Send a Payer Invitation video on the SBO's How To page to learn more.

Learn about required and recommended actions for new students by visiting our Preparing for WWU page, including submitting proof of measles immunization, completing the Math Placement Assessment, submission of final transcripts, and more.