University News

Over 400 pay fee to add courses late

Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Over 400 students typically pay a $15 fee to add a class after the online registration deadline each semester, according to Robert Fitzgerald, the University’s registrar. This year’s deadline to register for courses without a fee was Feb. 8, with the late period extending until Feb. 23.

The Office of the Registrar’s “student information system logs approximately 24,000 undergraduate course ‘adds'” throughout pre-registration, shopping period and the late add period, Fitzgerald wrote in an e-mail to The Herald. About half of course adds occur during pre-registration, and “the majority of the remaining are done during the shopping period,” Fitzgerald wrote. “On average, only about 400-450 are completed within the third and fourth week” of the semester.

Students are not charged the $15 fee for switching sections. The purpose of this fee is not to collect revenue — “it’s to ensure that students give some thought to the course selection process in the liberal amount of time that is already provided,” Fitzgerald wrote.

It is important “that the faculty have an accurate sense of who will be on their class roster upon the end of shopping period” so as not to disrupt the flow of the course, Fitzgerald wrote. The University also collects census data at the beginning of the third week of class to fulfill federal and internal reporting requirements.

Though the fee has been in place for more than 25 years, it has not increased with inflation. Fitzgerald noted that Cornell and Stanford charge $100 and $200, respectively, for late scheduling changes.

“There are many places in the country where this is not even allowed,” he wrote.

The money does not go to the registrar’s office, Fitzgerald wrote, but instead is funneled into the University’s operating expenses.

For some students, such as Adam Bear ’13, the fee was an effective deterrent from adding a course late last spring. “I wanted to enter this philosophy of science class right when this fee came on,” Bear said.

Jaswant Singh ’11 paid the fee last year to switch into a political science course. “It wasn’t that big of a turn-off,” Singh said. “It was only $15.”

He explained that a small fee was worth it to make sure he was in the class he wanted to be in.

Samantha Ondrade ’11 agreed the fee could be worth paying for the right schedule. “I think it’s there just to keep us from taking a class a month in.”

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