Policy changes limit drops

Photo by Lillyan Eager

By Nikki Larkan

CORRECTION: Spring registration opens Nov. 7, and the last day to with draw from a class is Nov. 16.

Recent changes in state and federal policies could affect many students. The policies cover the areas of financial aid and drops.

In 2010, a federal policy was created to ensure that students receiving federal aid would stay on track while in college. The policy includes a maximum time frame.

It states that students must only take classes on their degree plan and limits the number of classes they drop.

“What we’re attempting to do is to inform the student about this,” said Kay Mooney, financial aid director. “But we’ve got students who have already been here awhile, and they have already attempted a lot of hours.”

Financial aid monitors how many hours are attempted and grades from completed classes. Students who already have exceeded their limit are put on financial aid suspension.

Mooney said many students will be affected; however, each student has the right to an appeal process. During the appeal process, grades, classes and the anticipated graduation date are reviewed.

“We look at all that,” she said.

This year, the policy was revised to better accommodate students’ needs. Now, students are allowed to drop a failing class without being placed on financial aid suspension.

Before dropping a class, there is another policy students need to keep in mind.

“Students who started college fall 2007 or later have a maximum of six drops during their undergraduate career,” said Registrar Diane Brice.

Exemptions to the policy include circumstances such as severe illness, debilitating condition and active-duty military deployments. Students can fill out a request for exemptions form from the Student Service Center registrar’s office.

“High school concurrent students, which include dual credit, are exempt until they’ve graduated high school,” Brice said.

There are exceptions for students who began their college career before fall 2007.

Brice said some students confuse this policy with repeat courses, where students can repeat a course two times before a fee is assessed.

“If you withdraw six times, after that, you don’t pay a penalty. You just take the grade you earned,” Brice said.

Students need to be aware of dates if they decide to drop.

“Anything up to the 12th class day is a drop,” said Dr. Robert Austin, vice president of student affairs. “That’s about money.

Anything after the 12th class day is a withdrawal. The student is initiating a grade of ‘W.'”

Austin said state officials realized they were losing money due to the high amount of withdrawals and put a limitation on them.

He said students can find this information online in the catalog under “Student Rights and Responsibilities.”

Students looking for specific classes need to enroll as soon as enrollment opens.

Austin said certain classes fill up quickly. Class size is based upon what is reasonably manageable for faculty, and it is determined by instructors.

Spring registration opens Nov. 12, and the last day to withdraw from a class is Nov. 16.


Originally published: Thursday, October 20, 2011

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