Facebook statuses populated news feeds, reflecting the feelings of panic felt by a number of students dropped from their winter quarter courses.
Despite prior notices from the UC Davis registrar about fee deadlines, experiences with MyBill website malfunctions and late loan-disbursements left some students without classes.
The recent policy, implemented in fall 2009, eliminated the former 10-day grace period after tuition payment deadlines and requires students to pay a $110 re-enrollment fee for those who have failed to pay before the closing date.
“Students have been dropped for non-payment of fees for many years so this process is not a new one,” said registrar deputy Barbara Noble. “What was changed in fall 2009 is the timing of when students are dropped. The old system was unfair to students who paid their fees on time and prevented students from moving from the waitlists and into classes.”
Over 1,000 students – about 4 percent of the undergraduate population – were dropped for non-payment related causes this quarter, Noble said. However, a handful of students were dropped due to reasons unrelated to late fee payments.
Junior music major Jordan Cohen was among the number of dropped students after he was unable to pay his tuition online due to a MyBill website error. As a result, Cohen risked delaying his graduation date due to the small size of music classes and the resulting long waitlists. However, after contacting the registrar’s office, Cohen facilitated his re-enrollment without having to abandon his former courses.
“I was able to fix the situation only after having very long and intense conversations with several people in the registrar’s office,” Cohen said. “I was eventually able to convince them to put me back in to my classes when I made the point that, considering all the protests against tuition increases, the fact that I was willing to pay my tuition in full immediately is something they should not turn down.”
Shawn Singh, sophomore film studies major, unexpectedly received the e-mail that he was no longer enrolled at UC Davis, only to discover that the reason was related to his loans not being distributed on time.
“I don’t know whether it was because of the financial aid department, but my funds didn’t disperse in time [even though my sister’s did],” Singh said in an e-mail interview. “We had the same exact information, I had above the 12 units required but I ended up being dropped from my classes and taking a $120 late fee for registering. It was a pain, but what can you do when the offices are all closed during the holidays?”
Despite the various issues with being dropped for reasons unrelated to late payments, the majority of students simply just missed the deadline. The problems addressed by these students were not widespread and many measures have been taken to prevent students from being mistakenly dropped, Noble said.
“To my knowledge, there was no malfunction with the MyBill website; thousands of students use it to pay their fees and have not encountered any problems,” Noble said. “It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that they pay by the deadline. The program is set up so that there is a buffer of $150; only if the unpaid balance is higher than this will a student be dropped from their courses.”
REBECCA SHRAGGE can be reached at email@example.com.