Temple did not adequately communicate its new policy to the student body.
As John Moritz reports in “Full-time status reformed,” page 1, Temple, in response to a federal mandate requiring universities to base financial eligibility on percentages of classes completed, has changed a long-standing policy for what defines a full-time student. Instead of needing 12 credits to be considered a full-time student, students now need to complete 80 percent of attempted credits.
This means if you start out with 16 credits and end up dropping a four-credit class, you’re no longer a full-time student. Dropping one class, three or four credits, happens for even the most dedicated students. The Temple News acknowledges that this is not an unusual occurrence. It doesn’t mean the student is lazy or disorganized. While the policy offers an entire academic year to complete the 80 percent, Temple is home to a lot of non-traditional students, who don’t always have the option of taking summer classes or adding an extra class onto a full semester.
While we can’t fault Temple for complying with a federal law, we do question why a fairly significant policy change was barely communicated to the student body before The Temple News inquired about it.
Full-time status, beyond affecting financial aid status, which to speak frankly is a pretty big deal, affects other aspects of a student’s life, like whether they qualify for certain health insurance benefits.
This is a big deal. No announcement was made on the university newsroom’s website. Due to the short notice of our request for the information, university communications was unable to confirm by time of press whether or not an email was ever sent out to the student listservs. But even if it was, The Temple News does not believe that one of the hundreds of listserv emails that fill student inboxes every month is a sufficient way to communicate such a significant change.
The Temple News can only conclude that university administrators do not see this policy as a significant change, or do not think it will make that much of a difference to most students. They are wrong. As Payne Schroeder reported in the Nov. 1 issue of The Temple News, “Financial Services hold up registration,” page 1, Student Financial Services is already significantly overtaxed, with 8,000 student accounts on hold last month. Adding another potential complication to what is an admittedly inefficient office without making an honest effort to inform the student body was irresponsible.