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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 one of the two of the freshman dorms--Peabody or Bowditch Hall--on North Campus, or possibly the first floor of Marsh Hall, on Central Campus. Students will live in double, triple or quad rooms on either single-gender or co-ed floors.

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?

Housing assignment letters will be mailed out during the first two weeks of August.

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 upperclassmen are given the option to opt-out of the commuter meal plan prior to the start of every semester.

What are my meal plan options?

There are five different meal plan options to pick from at Salem State:

14-meal plan: The 14-meal plan is mandatory for all students living in Bowditch, Marsh, Peabody or Viking Hall. This plan includes 14 meals per week, with the addition of $200 dining dollars and $75 ClipperCash. Students are given the option to choose from: breakfast, lunch or dinner, Monday through Friday, and brunch and dinner Saturday and Sunday for their 14 meals. 

19-meal plan: The 19-meal plan is an optional upgrade from the 14-meal plan and is available to those living in Peabody, Bowditch or Marsh Hall or as an upgrade from the resident meal plan to those living in Atlantic Hall or Bates Complex. This plan offers three meals a day, Monday through Friday and two meals a day, Saturday and Sunday. In addition to the 19 meals students are given $100 dining dollars and $75 ClipperCash. 

Resident meal plan: The resident meal plan is mandatory for all students living in Atlantic Hall and Bates Complex (unless the choose the 10 meal plan). The resident meal plan includes $200 dining dollars and $75 ClipperCash.

10-meal plan: The 10-meal is a great option for students living in Atlantic Hall and Bates Complex who do not want to cook all of their meals. The plan includes 10 meals per week, with the option to pick any 10 meals from breakfast, lunch and dinner, Monday through Friday, and brunch and dinner Saturday and Sunday. In students are also given $200 dining dollars and $75 ClipperCash

Commuter meal plan: The commuter meal plan is mandatory for all first year full-time (12 credits +) commuter day students that attend Salem State. The commuter plan includes $280 dining collars and $75 ClipperCash. 


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 first-year students are required to attend a two-day freshman orientation session that requires students to stay overnight. Orientation starts at 12 pm on the first day and ends at 5:15 pm the following day. Students can sign up for their desired orientation session via Navigator

Transfer students are required to attend a one-day transfer orientation session. 

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.

Evening and Continuing Education students: register for the Thursday, August 17, orientation here. Contact the School of Continuing and Professional Studies with questions at 978.542.6324.

Campus Police and Safety

Are police officers trained?

Yes. 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 salemstate.edu/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 100A Meier Hall, 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?

The first bill is due August 5, for the fall semester, and January 5 for the spring semester.

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.


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 must fill out a Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) form and return it to the Student Navigation Center on Central Campus. 


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, such as downtown Salem and the mall. Learn more about shuttle services on campus. 

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