Late enrollment fees cost students thousands

Jess Hodge

Even with record enrollment at Grand Valley State University this semester, the number of students who enrolled late for the fall semester dropped. The fee for someone who is already registered as a student but needs to add a course late is $25. If someone does not register for the semester at all until past the deadline, then the fee is $50.

Philip Batty, who has been the director of institutional analysis for 11 years, has seen that each fall semester brings in about a combination of 250 students who enroll late for classes and those who enroll late for the semester. That brings in an extra $6,250 to $12,500 for GVSU.

“Combined, we get about somewhere in the neighborhood of 250 (late enrollments) in the fall semester,” Batty said.

Each student is charged for their tardy enrollment, and the money received from the fees is used in a variety of ways.

“The money goes to the university’s general funds account,” Batty said. “It isn’t marked for any particular purpose. It could pay for a professor’s salary or it could pay for the electricity.”

However, Batty also noticed that not as many students enrolled late this semester as they have in past years.

“I did compare where we are this year, a week past the drop/add deadline and compared to last year,” Batty said. “So far, this year is down in (late) enrollments from past years. We had a decrease this year.”

Another trend Batty noted is the difference in late applications between fall and winter semesters. Fewer students apply late in the winter than in the fall.

“There are not quite as many of them in the winter as there are in the fall,” he said. “The dates are very different, and people know where they’re coming from or where they’re going and what they want to do.”

The late fee also applies to internship classes as well, which students often find later in the semester. Batty said the system would automatically add a late fee for any class that is registered more than a week into the semester. He does add that students can feel free to appeal the late fee if they want to.

“Students can appeal their fees and tuitions in general,” Batty said. “If they feel these fees are inappropriate or unjust, there are procedures for doing that; the university does listen to students’ stories about those kinds of problems.”

Batty, nor any other staff or faculty member, can promise what the outcome of an appeal is.

Although the rules state that a fee could be applied to any late registration, GVSU is not implementing those fees right away.

“The language in the rules of the course catalog say that late fees are applied to any late registration, or any registration after classes start essentially,” Batty explained. “For the past several years, however, we have been delaying the implementation of the fees.”

Batty was not a part of the decision to delay implementation, but says the rule is still the same, but in practice they have only been applying fees to those who are “very late” on registration.

“During that first week of classes that official drop/add period students are not being assessed fees this year during that period,” he said. “It’s only if you go past the drop/add period is when you get to the point of the fee being applied.”