Dropping a class costs more to pass

NEWS

A total of 500 FAU students paid approximately $180,000 last fall for courses they never took. Florida legislators made the decision to charge Bright Futures recipients for dropping a class after the drop/add deadline.

Since this legislation was introduced last fall, Vera Rey-Beach, assistant director of the Office of Student Financial Aid, said it is too soon to tell whether graduation rates are up and class availability has improved.

“The Bright Futures fiscal year ends at the end of June 2010.  If a student doesn’t repay the money by that time, then it simply means they’re not going to meet renewal requirements until they pay that money back,” said Rey-Beach.

She explained the money accumulated by the charge goes back into the Bright Futures fund.

When a student drops from 12 to nine credits after the drop/add deadline, for example, the student must pay for nine credits.  The remaining three credits must be paid to Bright Futures within the fiscal academic year, Rey-Beach said.

Mary Ann Pertierra, a junior Spanish studies and mathematics double major, has had Bright Futures since 2006. She’s in favor of the change.

“You should be careful which classes you pick,” said Pertierra.

Although she has never been fined, Pertierra said it’s a good idea for students to pay for dropping after the drop/add deadline because there should be enough time to pick the right classes beforehand.

The first time a student registers for a class after the drop/add deadline, a $100 fee is charged to the student. An additional $100 is charged if the student does not pay their fees on time, according to Registrar Harry Demik.

Students who are failing and stay in the class, said Rey-Beach, will not have to pay, but they will receive a failing grade and might not meet renewal requirements for a Bright Futures award.

Freshman Thomas Adas is a business major who depends on Bright Futures to pay for his college expenses.

He has had Bright Futures since 2009 and doesn’t agree he should pay for dropping a class after the drop/add deadline because it is award money.

He admitted he would be less likely to drop a class after the drop/add deadline because he wouldn’t want to be fined.

Caryne Aldajuste, a sophomore nursing major, has had Bright Futures since 2008 and also depends on it to pay for college.

“Students should be able to choose their classes during drop/add; we’re in college,” said Aldajuste.

Approximately 6,000 out of 28,000 FAU students have Bright Futures, according to Demik. Rey-Beach said it cannot yet be determined if fewer students are dropping classes after the drop/add deadline due to the charges.