On Thursday, Oct. 3, Karlee Trebesch, a junior in pre-nursing, tried to log into Moodle during anatomy class, but all of her classes were missing. Confused, she checked Cyberbear, which confirmed she was unenrolled. She was one of 500 students who the Business Services Office tried to contact this semester about unpaid bills on her account.
“I kind of panicked a little bit in class, and I got up and I left class early. I went straight down to registrar,” Trebesch said.
Before being dropped, Trebesch said she received no phone calls or emails warning her. She wasn’t worried about her registration bill because she has a scholarship that covers it, so she didn’t check her bill.
“I got an email saying, ‘hey get ready to register for spring semester,’” Trebesch said. “So, I just assumed everything was going well.”
She was dropped for $40 in unpaid parking tickets from the spring 2019 semester, which she didn’t realize she hadn’t paid.
Trebesch was one of about 500 students that business services tried to contact by email and phone about small unpaid bills. Other students who didn’t pay were dropped from classes in mid-September, but employees at the Business Services Office manually picked out students who had bills less than $100 or who were in communication about another problem.
After talking with the registrar and calling President Bodnar’s office, Trebesch was put in contact with business services, who reinstated her.
Dan Jenko, the business services controller, said the process is imperfect, but that the office puts a lot of effort into trying not to drop students. Communication plays a key role in helping students to not slip through the cracks, and business services is trying to improve this process.
“The communication piece is a two-way road,” said Cheryl Neilson, director of student accounts.
Neilson said a lot of students don’t check their emails and about a quarter of them have inaccurate or outdated phone numbers on their student Cyberbear accounts. However, Trebesch was up to date on her and her parent’s contact info, and she said she looks at her student email regularly. She checked her junk mail and her deleted emails and found nothing from business services saying she was going to be dropped.
Both parties were unsure where the communication went wrong.
“We’re always open to suggestions on communication,” said Neilson. “Because it has been, and I’m sure it will always continue to be, the main point of concern.”
Usually students who are dropped from classes can go through an appeal process. They have their professors sign a sheet that has to be turned in to the registrar’s office. A committee will approve or reject it and the student will have two more weeks to pay their bill and a $160 fine.
Nielson said that the employees don’t like dropping students. It creates more work for everyone in business services, and it is not fun for the student who has to figure it out, which is why they do everything they can to keep it from happening. But ultimately, she said business services needs to collect tuition and fees, and students need to know where they’re at financially.