Temple students enroll in new courses, weigh time off as deadlines near

Class registration is finalized five days after Temple suspended in-person classes.

A person stands at the front desk of Temple University’s Office of the Bursar in Carnell Hall on Sept. 3. | COLLEEN CLAGGETT / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Students are finalizing last-minute adjustments to their fall schedules as Temple University’s deadline for students to add or drop classes passes today. The university’s recent move to keep nearly all classes online for the remainder of the semester complicates their decision.

On Sept. 3, Temple suspended most in-person classes after reporting more than 200 active COVID-19 cases among students.

The university’s decision came four days after administering a two week pause on in-person instruction

The add drop deadline, which is Sept. 8, remained in effect leaving just five days between the announcement and the deadline for students to make changes. 

“We thought it was really important for students to have this weekend to make this decision about their futures,” said Ray Betzner, a spokesperson for the university. “We recognize that students need some time to sort through it, so that’s why we announced on Thursday in advance of the Tuesday add drop period.”

Tyler Lindgren, a junior health professions major and Temple volleyball player, added three credits to her schedule after having more free time when her sports season was cancelled in late August. 

Usually, Lindgren enrolls in more difficult classes in the spring because the fall volleyball season prevents her from taking morning classes and typically causes her to miss Thursdays and Fridays for games, she said. 

“We were waiting because the add drop deadline was coming up and so we were hoping, we obviously wanted to play, but we were hoping a decision either to play or not to play would be made in time for add drop,” Lindgren said. “It was kind of a time crunch thing hoping all these decisions would be made and we could get the classes that we needed because our scheduling is way harder.”

Jack Kelly, a senior ceramics major, had all his classes move online, which limited the amount of studio space he could access to work on projects. 

Many of Kelly’s professors were suggesting students take time off, but he said this is not a viable option for him.

“I’m kind of stuck in a situation where I don’t want to be in college more than four years, so I didn’t have the option to say, ‘You know what this semester is messed up and I’m going to take time off,’” Kelly said. “I just said to myself ‘I have to get through school.’” 

The suspension will not require students to leave campus, but will make approximately 95 percent of courses online only. Classes are considered essential if their educational objectives cannot be achieved without all or some in-person instruction, according to the announcement. 

Students are also considering how their course choices will affect their tuition. Those who drop courses on or before Sept. 8 will receive a reduction of their tuition and fees for the courses dropped, wrote Conrad Muth, the assistant vice president and bursar, in an email to The Temple News. Tuition payment is due Thursday.

The Board of Trustees voted to freeze tuition for the 2020-21 year at its July meeting for the second year in a row.

“From Temple’s perspective, we still have that same cost structure,” said Ken Kaiser, chief financial officer and treasurer. “In fact, [we have] even more of a cost base with COVID, whether we are online, hybrid or in person.”

Reducing tuition was not an option because of “extraordinary costs,” like testing, Kaiser said.

Monisha Sihana, a senior advertising major whose permanent residence is in New York City, New York, was taking three classes in person and three online before the transition to virtual instruction. 

She will likely return to New York for the remainder of the semester to complete her online classes from her parents’ home, she said.

“I’m an out-of-state student, and I pay full out-of-state tuition,” Sihana said. “It just didn’t make sense to sit at home and pay out-of-state tuition for online courses. If I had the option to take a semester off, I would, but I’m so close to completing my degree. It just doesn’t make sense.”

Advising offices will remain open to students through virtual meetings to provide guidance as students make decisions about the semester, said Julian White, senior director for the Center for Undergraduate Advising at the Fox School of Business and Management.

“This is a very fluid situation,” White said. “We continue to emphasize various levels of support available for students. We understand that. . . this was not an easy decision by Temple, but also one that will likely add to some level of confusion and uncertainty.”

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