Every semester’s beginning brings new changes for the enrolled students’ lives, but a particular change made to the University of West Georgia’s registration protocol is the most prominent . The change in the add/drop period began this semester. Students this year have experienced a shorter add/drop than any other semester before, with the drop period ending Wednesday, Aug. 27th and the deadline to add classes ending Thursday, Aug. 28th .
According to Dr. John Head, the Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management, the change made to the add/drop period was influenced by two factors; students were concerned about needing refunds sooner to pay for books and living expenses, while professors were concerned that students would add classes towards the end of the add/drop period and would miss vital class material.
Head discussed that in order to understand the reasoning behind the change, one must first understand the process that has to happen for students to receive their refunds.
“When add/drop period ends we go into what’s called roster verification,” explained Head. “The faculty have to look at their rosters that are in banner and say ‘this person has been in class, I’ve seen this student here.’ Once they verify that students are attending class then our Financial Aid office will go out and apply the aid to their account. Once the aid is applied, then the Bursar will take the money and put it on your account and at that point, if the student has any extra, that’s when the student will receive their refund.”
Their concern was that the longer add/drop period allowed the possibility for students to fall behind in a class.
“If a student adds on the last day, after a ten day period, they may not come until the third week. So they missed two weeks of instruction,” said Head. He went on to explain that faculty expressed concerns that a student missing that much instruction was too much, and that add/drop needed to be shortened.
Head also explained that the decision was made not only through the Registrar’s office, but it was a joint decision among the Director of Financial Aid, the Bursar’s office, Registrar’s office, Enrollment services, Associate Deans & Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and Student Affairs and Enrollment Management.
Head went on to say that while the departments did look at other universities’ protocols for add/drop within the state of Georgia’s university system, the University of West Georgia made this decision to best meet the needs and concerns of the students and faculty, and not from any influence from other colleges.
The change to the add/drop period this semester also may not be permanent. “It’s a situation where you examine what’s happening and how it’s working,” said Head. “If it’s working that’s great and we want to keep doing it. If it’s not working, then we need to adjust it. So nothing is ever set in stone; you always want to try to continuously improve and make process better for everybody involved.”