New tuition policy may see changes

About 300 students were dropped from their classes due to the new tuition policy, according to administrators.

The new policy that requires all students to pay by a set deadline-which passed on Sept. 5-has left officials with one clear resolve: the policy is here to stay, but with some changes likely to occur before Spring Semester 2004.

Not all of the changes which may be implemented are clear yet.

As of now, administrators are generally satisfied with the policy.

Of the nearly 22,000 undergraduate students, the just-fewer-than 300 that were dropped from classes represents “a pretty small number,” said U Vice President for Student Affairs Barbara Snyder.

The drops came after many attempts from officials to personally contact the students in question, Snyder said.

The efforts included personal phone calls to each of those approximately 300 students, Snyder said, about half of whom officials were able to personally contact.

For the rest, messages were left for those who had some sort of message system informing the students to contact the U’s Income Accounting.

Some of the dropped students, according to Snyder, weren’t anticipating attending the U this semester anyway, and the drop just confirmed that.

In previous semesters, after registering for classes, some students decided that they weren’t going to attend would assume that they would be dropped automatically.

Instead, they would come to find that they were going to be charged in the end for a service they didn’t use, said Lisa Zaelit, manager for Income Accounting.

It was one of the concerns that administrators hoped to eliminate with the new policy.

Of those dropped, about half were “protected because of financial aid,” and other scholarship assistance, Snyder said.

In other words, students with or in the process of confirming some sort of financial aid through the U financial aid office were not dropped, she said.

Overall, “We’re pleased that it’s worked as well as it did,” said Kay Harward, U associate vice president for student affairs.

“We undertook a very large, extensive effort to make sure students were informed,” about the policy and the consequences of not following it, Snyder said.

U sophomore Max Metscher agrees that information about the new policy was nearly everywhere.

“I don’t think there was any way you could of just been surprised by the deadline,” he said.

However, he says that officials could have done a better job of explaining the reasons for the change.

“I’m a little bit surprised [by the number of dropped students],” said the history major. “I don’t see the reason for that.”

Along with being able to get an accurate count of paid students going to school, the policy is also parallel to what is happening in nearly every other institution of higher education, according to U Vice President for Budget and Planning Paul Brinkman.

Metscher says he understands the reasoning, but thinks fewer students would have been dropped had it been better advertised.

Nonetheless, students can anticipate a similar deadline for Spring Semester, Snyder said.

Furthermore, by Fall Semester of next year, graduate students can expect to be included in the new tuition deadline policy. They were not included this semester.

In the next month and a half, “We’ll have some cleanup to do,” Snyder said.

The Tuition Task Force will convene to analyze the outcome of the process and determine what changes may be needed for the future, Harward said.

“A mistake could have been made…If the U did make a mistake, we’ll, of course, correct it,” he said.

Harward was especially thankful to students for reacting in a generally positive manner.

While “a handful” of complaints were made regarding the new policy, there was “no large backlash at all,” Snyder said.

Metscher says he is indifferent to the new policy. “You’re going to have to pay your tuition anyway,” he said.

Any students who have questions or concerns regarding their tuition can contact Income Accounting at 581-7344. Those with questions regarding financial aid can call 581-8782.

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