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FAQs for New Students


FAQs for New Students


How are freshman students housed? Together, or around campus?

All first-year students will be assigned to either Marsh or Bowditch Hall. For the 2020-21 academic year, all resident students will be assigned to single rooms to accommodate social distancing.

How does safety in the residence halls work? 

Salem State is committed to your safety. Residence halls employ 24-hour desk attendants, as well as locked entryways to all dorms and alarm systems to help ensure your safety. Students must use their ClipperCard to enter their hall and dorm room. Students are also required to sign in guests at the front desk immediately upon entering a hall. 

When do I find out my roommate?

You can learn more about roommates and the room selection process on the New Student Housing Information page

What if my roommate situation does not work out? 

At the start of each semester there is a two-week room “freeze,” but once those two weeks have passed, feel free to reach out to the professional staff in your building to request a room change. We will do our best to work with you, but please note that all parties involved must agree in order to move. Residence life staff has the ability to make administrative moves if the need arises. 

Meal Plans

I am going to be a commuter. Am I required to have a meal plan?

All full-time commuter day students are automatically given the commuter meal plan. This plan is mandatory for all first-year freshmen students, however, upper-class students are given the option to opt-out of the commuter meal plan prior to the start of every semester.

Learn more about meal plan options!


What is the ClipperCard and where can I use it?

The ClipperCard is the official identification card of Salem State University and is required of all students attending Salem State. Students get their ClipperCards at orientation from the Student Navigation Center. You are required to have a government-issued ID (license, state ID and passports are all accepted) in order to obtain a ClipperCard.

Your ClipperCard will serve as your:

  • Meal plan card
  • Access card to various labs, classrooms, offices, and resident halls 
  • Berry Library and Learning Commons access card
  • Copy and print privileges card
  • Gassett Fitness Center card

Your ClipperCard can also be used to make purchases on-campus (in dining areas and the bookstore) and off-campus (at designated local businesses).


Is orientation mandatory?

Yes. All new students are required to attend orientation. At orientation, you will register for classes, meet new classmates and become familiar with campus.

Please note that family orientation is not required, however, it is encouraged that family members attend the family orientation program on the same day that “their” student attends freshman orientation.

Learn more about orientation. 

Campus Police and Safety

How are police officers trained?

Salem State University police officers possess the same power, authority and responsibilities as municipal police officers in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Officers attend full-time police academies and undergo periodic in-service training, as well as specialized training on a variety of topics and current issues. Learn more at about university police.

How often is campus patrolled?

Patrols are conducted 24 hours a day, 365 days a year on foot, by bicycle and in vehicles.

How do I find out about a campus emergency?

In the event of a campus emergency, students will be notified electronically via SSU Alerts. To enable alerts, log in to Navigator, select "full menu," then "personal profile," and "phone number." Then edit the "mobile" phone information for the devices that you wish to be notified on. Parents can be added to your list so they also receive notification.

Disability Services

I will require some assistance for my classwork. How do I register with disability services?

To register with disability services, please schedule an intake meeting with a disability services counselor. Learn about our services. 

Contact our office to schedule your meeting: 


TTY: 978.542.7146
Video Phone: 866.881.7097 

What kinds of services are offered?

Some of the services Salem State offers are priority registration, access to note takers, access to adaptive computer equipment, alternative textbook/ handout formats, interpreters, FM systems, scheduled access to Computer Aided Real Time (CART) services and testing accommodations. 

Adjusting to Life at Salem State

First Year Experience

The First Year Experience office, located in the Dining Commons on North Campus, is here for first-year students to get the resources and support they need to help them successfully transition from high school to college. 

First Year Seminar

The First Year Seminar is required of all incoming first year students and transfers with fewer than 15 credits as part of the general education requirements. These courses are designed to help students explore, and look at the world, specific topics and issues in a whole new way. 

Tuition and Bills

When is first bill due?

Bills are due the second Wednesday in August (for fall) and the second Wednesday in January (for spring).

Where do I see my bill and how to do I pay it?

The bills are created electronically and will be sent to your Salem State email address. Upon registering for classes, a monthly eBill will be generated and available for viewing on the second Tuesday of the month. Payments can be made online through your Navigator account, in person in the Student Navigation Center or by mailing a check. Learn more about how to pay your bill.

Transferring Credits

I took AP classes in high school. How can I get credit at Salem State?

Please have your official scores from the College Board sent to Salem State's registrar's office. Scores 3 or higher typically transfer as credit. Learn more on the registrar's webpage.

I took classes at a community college. How do I get credit at Salem State?

Courses at other institutions that are comparable to Salem State courses generally transfer. Transfer credit is based on accreditation, comparability of courses, faculty credentials, and other requirements. Transfer students can check out our Transfer Equivalency Viewer to see if the courses from your previous institution have been evaluated by Salem State. 

Health Insurance

Is health insurance mandatory?

Yes. In Massachusetts, it is required that all higher learning students who are enrolled in at least 75 percent of a full-time course load at an institution must participate in a student health insurance plan. However, if your parent/guardian already provides you health insurance, you can opt-out of the university’s health plan. 

I have health insurance through my parents' plan. How do I waive the university’s plan?

Students can go to the University Health Plans website to opt-out of the university’s health plan. You can opt-out once you have a bill posted in your Navigator account.


My parents want to see my grades and bills. What do they need to do?

If you wish to share your grades and bills with your parents, students can elect to waive their rights to FERPA by submitting a waiver. Learn more at


Can I have a parking pass as a freshman?

No. Freshmen are not allowed to have vehicles on campus unless they receive special approval. 

How does commuter parking work?

Commuter students are allowed to park in designated commuter lots on campus after they have purchased a parking decal from the university. To purchase a parking decal: log in to Navigator, go to "full menu," then "campus life," and go to "parking permit request" to purchase a parking decal. 

Shuttles on Campus

Since I won’t have a car, how can I get around campus? Are there any buses to take me off campus?

Yes! Salem State has partnered with Cavalier Coach to transport students to the Salem State campuses. We also offer student shuttles that bring students to many off-campus locations. Learn more about shuttle services on campus. 

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