New Policy For Student Late Payments

Angel Silva, Managing Editor

In an effort to curb financial losses to the college, the administration may adopt an accountability system that would drop students who don’t pay for classes on time.

“Given the budget cuts and the reduction of course offerings, sound ethical practice would dictate that we should drop students who are not paying for their classes and to leave those seats for students who do pay for their classes,” said Ricardo Perez, vice president of student services.

Amir Nour, GCC controller and head of the Student Fees Committee, stated that the campus lost $287,000 in revenue for 2,300 non-paying students for the ’09 – ’10 school year. The ’10 – ’11 year saw $337,000 lost due to 1,810 nonpayers, and the ’11 – ’12 year had the highest losses, with $420,000 in lost revenue for 2,010 nonpayers.

Nour said that the rising losses are due to the increasing costs of education. Currently students are required to pay for each semester within seven days of enrolling in classes, but delinquent students are rarely dropped from their courses.

According to ASGCC president Arman Marukyan, students who don’t pay their courses are often out-of state students who enroll in classes, drop their courses and don’t return to GCC, leaving the campus with missing fees.

The Student Finance Committee is considering using a system named PeopleSoft Bolt-On. According to Perez, Bolt-On would have to be capable of doing one of three options in order for it to be a viable option: requiring immediate payment at the time of enrollment, having a payment deadline, or having a seven-day timeframe in which students pay for their courses.

Perez said these systems are already in place in colleges elsewhere.

“For example, my daughter goes to another school, and when I paid for her classes I had to pay for classes at the time of registration,” said Perez. “As compared to my son, who goes to another college, on the student portal there’s a big, red, beeping deadline countdown — if you don’t pay by the zero hour you will be dropped for nonpayment.”

Students will also be offered a payment plan option, using the course payment program in place at GCC known as nelnet, which offers students a monthly payment system for their courses.

Normally students who don’t pay are barred from re-enrolling or transferring, said Nour.

“That’s the only [enforcement policy] that we have right now,” said Nour. “We simply stop any type of activity on that account until they pay.”

The protocol of dropping non-paying students was in place with the system before PeopleSoft, but had its share of issues.

“There were cases where a student paid all their courses except one, and the system dropped them anyways because they didn’t pay that one class,” said Marukyan.

Nour hopes that if implemented, this new system will have positive results in tuition payments.

“It’s in a student’s best interest to pay because that secures their seats in the classes, especially in this environment — you don’t want to lose your classes,” said Nour.

Some students feel that the new requirements will exclude certain students from enrolling.

“Being able to pay for courses requires some degree of economic stability, and sometimes financial aid isn’t enough” said Jose Yanez, 17.

The Student Fees Committee will meet Nov. 14 to discuss a solution and decide on whether or not to use the Bolt-On system on campus. If the Student Fees Committee approves it, the issue will go to Student Affairs and then to the Board of Trustees.

“We want to do it, we only think it’s fair for students who pay to get their classes, and students who don’t pay should not be in those classes,” said Perez.