November 23, 2020

For students’ sake, change the registration debt policy

“Hallelujah!” That was my first thought when I heard of the proposed registration requirement from $500 owed to $1,500.

Then, I realized I’m a senior and won’t register for classes again. Oh yes, how bittersweet. But the proposal still has me excited for those who have felt the sting from financial troubles. Not being able to register because of a debt you know you can eventually pay off is, well, annoying, frustrating and can potentially put students at risk of not registering for necessary classes. I was fortunate to not have to worry about this for most of my college career.

My parents, who are divorced, split paying my first three years of college. Most of that time I held down a part-time job, working between 10-25 hours per week. I saved some, spent some and always made sure I had my beer money. Even in the recession, personally I was not financially burdened, although I saw family members and friends struggle.

It wasn’t until about a year ago that my bubble burst.

I sat at my dad’s dinner table. I sat in my spot — the same one for every breakfast, lunch and dinner at dad’s house. It was the same spot I sat almost four years ago when he told my brother and I he was diagnosed with kidney disease.

My dad said in August 2012 he would start dialysis and wouldn’t be able to work anymore. A police officer for more than 20 years would spend most of his time hooked up to a machine that cleaned his blood. Therefore, his finances (some from being on disability) would be put towards his medical care. He could no longer pay his half of our tuitions (my brother was about to be a freshman at St. Louis Community College-Meramec).

The news was saddening, and in the financial sense it meant I had to grow up. I had to take care of myself. At the time, I held a budget job as a Journal editor and no part-time job. In March 2012, on top of being an editor and being a full-time student, I started working 30 hours a week.

My math has improved steadily since I started paying for half of my tuition. Most of those paychecks have gone to my Webster University tuition fee.

I would like to encourage the university to expand the registration requirement to $1,500 to give students a break during registration time. I know it would have taken great stress off me. And I know I don’t have it as bad as some other students.

Like I said, I only pay half of my tuition and I have a helpful academic scholarship. Many students struggle to pay all of their tuition. Some students have children to think about. Some students are full-time employees.

So if you’re reading this and feeling sorry for me — don’t. I don’t. I merely share my story to show the ones making this decision the strain Webster students can feel financially.

No student wants to focus on how to pay for school. The switch from $500 to $1,500 would allow students to focus on what’s most important — academics.

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