Campus announces policy requiring 1st tuition payment prior to start of classes

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The campus announced a new policy Monday that requires undergraduate students to pay 20 percent of their tuition before Aug. 19 or their enrollment will be cancelled one day before fall instruction begins on Aug. 24.

This policy moves the previous deadline to make the first tuition payment ahead by 26 days, according to ASUC Student Advocate Selina Lao. In the campuswide email announcing the policy, Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Harry Le Grande said the policy change will allow course waitlists to be processed more efficiently and will reduce the number of seats left vacant by students who later decide not to attend the term.

Members of the ASUC have raised concerns that students will struggle to pull together the required $1351.65 payment for in-state students and $4019.85 for out-of-state students in time for the adjusted deadline.

“There’s a lot of students who relied on the 30-day grace period before, and I think they are going to be shocked when they’re dropped from their classes,” Lao said, who added that she was concerned about the policy’s effects on low-income students.

Lao also said she was worried that students would not see the email in time to make the payment, though CalCentral will proactively alert students who have yet to pay their tuition as the deadline approaches. Students whose enrollments are cancelled on Aug. 23 will be able to re-enroll on the first day of classes the next day, with their payment due on Aug. 25.

Though students whose financial aid exceeds the required payment will not be subject to cancellation as financial aid will be released beginning Aug. 15, Lao said students whose financial aid is delayed may still see their enrollment cancelled.

“This is really scary for me. I just want to graduate,” said campus senior Koty Dailey, who because of a previous withdrawal for medical reasons must meet with multiple advisers, complete an appeal and have the appeal approved in order for their financial aid to be released by the deadline. “It’s not only a financial burden, but (the stress) is further aggravating my health problems.”

As in previous semesters, students will be able to apply for emergency loans through the financial aid office to pay for their tuition. Students can apply beginning Aug. 17 and can receive the loan the same day in time to make the Aug. 19 deadline.

Lao said that while both resident and nonresident students are eligible for emergency loans, funding issues have led the emergency loans to be capped at an amount that will cover the 20 percent tuition payment for in-state students only, as the payment is three times greater for nonresident students.

“In my experience, people have been able to get emergency loans in the time period that they’re going to need it,” Lao said. “However … if we’re having a high influx of students needing that loan right then — and it has to be processed that day — there could be a backlog.”

Contact Sally Littlefield at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @slittlefield3.