CSUN’s Department of Admission and Records dropped 1,431 students from their classes on Aug. 17 after they failed to pay their student fees by an extended payment deadline, according to Robert Barker, university controller.
In August 2004, 865 students were dropped from their classes for non-payment, Barker said. The 1,431 total is a 65 percent increase in disenrolled students from last year.
CSUN will lose $2,138,390 in fees that the disenrolled students were due to pay by the Aug. 1 payment deadline and the Aug. 15 extended deadline, though the figure will likely be reduced as disenrolled students re-register for classes and make payments, Barker said.
“These (disenrolled) students (were) holding seats for other students that really (wanted) to be (here),” Barker said. “We want every student who wants to be here to attend classes.”
Over a thousand spaces opened up in classes that had been closed after the non-paying students were dropped from their classes. Students that have been disenrolled may re-enroll immediately, said John Darakjy, assistant director for finance and tax services at CSUN.
Students that re-enroll must pay their fees by Sept. 1.
Hundreds of students who tried to pay their student fees waited hours in lines that weaved through the Student Services Building on Aug. 1. Around 2,000 students paid their fees either online or at the Cash Services desk by the end of Aug. 1, Darakjy said.
Some students said they didn’t receive notices that stated there were problems with their financial aid awards or fees.
“I only realized a few days ago that I had been rejected for student aid,” said Marjorie Hernandez, junior accounting major. “I guess they sent a notice through the school e-mail. I didn’t know I had a CSUN e-mail account. Nobody told me that was the way they were going to talk to me.”
E-mail has been the official form of university communication since fall 2004.
“We are trying to go paperless,” Darakjy said. “E-mail is the primary way that the university will communicate with students in the future. Eventually, all of the campus will communicate to students the same way.”
Barker said the university realized that many students are not aware of their CSUN e-mail accounts. He also said e-mailed messages sometimes do not get through to students because their accounts are full.
“In the future we will try to bring attention to the e-mail accounts and due dates on SOLAR, but you can’t get to all the students using the old methods either,” Barker said.
The administration surveyed students waiting in line to pay their fees on Aug. 1 and asked them why they had not paid yet, according to Harold Hellenbrand, CSUN provost.
“We didn’t get a consistent reason for it,” Hellenbrand said. “The answers were everything from, ‘Didn’t have the funds, I forgot’ to ‘I wanted to make sure I was going to school.’ “
According to Barker and Darakjy, officials, 12,000 students had not paid their fees as of July 27. About 11,000 students still had not paid their fees on the morning of Aug. 1.
The administration extended the deadline for students to pay their fees to Aug. 15. By Aug. 15, 8,569 students had paid their fees.
Financial Aid gave a list of students who had not paid their fees to the deans of the individual colleges, so the students could be contacted by phone. By Aug. 12, 2,000 students still had not paid their fees.
“We did everything we could to get in contact with those students who had not paid (their fees),” Darakjy said.
Late afternoon on Aug. 17, 1,431 students remaining on the list were dropped from their classes.
Hellenbrand said the university needs to look at how it communicates with students about payment details before registration, during registration and after registration.
“We can’t really help people who don’t have the funds or the financial aid to come here, but we will do all we can to help those who can,” Hellenbrand said. “We have an installment plan to help students and we need to make students more aware of that.”
Robert McDonald can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.