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Drop a class, pay in cash

When Amanda Merz, a senior studying journalism and geography, heard about the $25 drop fee given to courses dropped after the first week of classes, she said it was “ridiculous,” and just a ploy to squeeze more money out of students.

However, school officials say it has become a necessity due to student abuse of the registration process. The revenue collected from the drop fee, which was $133,575.00 last semester, is used to increase course offerings in general education and high demand areas.

Irene Delgado, the UA’s assistant registrar, said the fee, which started in fall 2009, was implemented because students would frequently sign up for more classes than they intended to take, then pick and choose which ones they were comfortable with during the second week of class and drop the others.

This prevented many incoming freshmen and transfer students from getting the courses they needed to complete their degrees. About 13,000 courses were dropped in the second week of the fall 2007 semester alone.

Furthermore, many professors don’t allow students to enroll in their class after the first week, meaning all those seats go to waste throughout the remainder of the semester. Delgado said that ever since the fee was implemented the volume of complaints from students unable to enroll in their desired classes has subsided.

In fact, drop classes in the second week of school fell from 13,000 in 2007 to 5,181 in fall 2009, according to data from the Office of the Registrar.

Wanda Howell, the chair of the Faculty Senate, said that this fee is for a student’s own good.

“The idea is to sort of discourage students from enrolling in multiple classes and thereby discouraging other students from signing (up),” she said.

Howell went on to say she believes all faculty members would look at the fee in the same light.

The fee amount of $25 was decided upon, because it was believed to be the perfect amount to get students attention while not making them feel like they’re being exploited.

Last year Pedro Espitia, an undeclared sophomore, said that when he started to feel overwhelmed by schoolwork, he dropped a sociology course. And when he saw that his bursar’s account had been charged $25 for dropping a class, it didn’t bother him.

“It’s a small price to pay in order to not fail a class and have to take it again,” Espitia said.

When Merz was told the administration’s justification for the fee, she said that she knows a few fellow students who have signed up for numerous classes knowing they were going to drop some, “But only one or two classes.” Merz said that she could understand what the university was doing though.

The money the UA collects from these fees goes into making more courses and class seats available for students. Last semester revenue from the fee was more than $133,000, and drops after the second week have remained consistently around 5,000 courses a semester.


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