by Scott Lunte
Webster University junior Robert Franklin recalled the trouble he had his freshman year registering for classes. On class registration day, Franklin failed to reduce his debt to the university below $500 and could not register for classes until he had.
But a proposed policy change could allow students in Franklin’s situation to register.
The proposal would allow students who owe less than $1,500 to the university to register for class. Chief Financial Officer Greg Gunderson said currently, a $500 debt limit is in place and has been for seven years.
“The extra $1,000 would have helped me greatly and would have put a lot of stress off of me,” Franklin said. “It would be something that I believe would relieve a lot of pressure.”
Paul Carney, vice president of enrollment management and student affairs, said Webster University’s student affairs office sent the proposal in for the financial offices to review and consider. Gunderson said it could be six months before it would take effect. Gunderson also said enrollment and recruitment are two major reasons why the debt limit change is being considered.
“We are looking for a win-win here,” Gunderson said. “But it just isn’t quite ready for primetime.”
Carney would not comment about the potential change until Gunderson had made a decision.
Assistant Bursar Hal Deuser said the possible registration policy change was recently discussed at an administrative meeting.
The meeting’s purpose was to make sure administration members understood and agreed with the potential change.
Gunderson encouraged students in a flux as they try to meet the $500 limit to speak with student affairs or the financial aid office. He said students may be able to broker a solution in order to register for classes.
“We have always tried to be supportive (of students), and I know we will continue to do that,” Gunderson said.
According to a Fontbonne University policies and procedures handout, students are not allowed to begin a new semester until all financial obligations to the university have been settled.
At the University of Missouri-St. Louis, students must sign a financial agreement, according to its student planner. The students make payments. If payments are late, the university places holds on students’ registration, records or graduation.