Registering and paying for classes can be frustrating, but being dropped from a class can be even worse. Students in California Community Colleges are required to pay their class fees by a certain date. However, while most colleges give their students a few weeks to pay, Citrus gives them only a few days.
Citrus opens up their registration about a month before classes start. After registering, students have a maximum of seven days to pay their fees before they are dropped or “rolled out.”
A roll-out is the process in which the college’s automated system drops students from classes for non-payment. Students who receive financial aid or veterans benefits are not affect by roll-outs.
In 2007, Citrus began implementing the current automated system, Banner, that roll-outs three times during the registration period on every Sunday at 10 p.m.
After classes have begun, a student can only be rolled out for three reasons: failing to meet pre-requisites, multiple tardies or absences and for inappropriate conduct.
Many other community colleges in the local area such as Pasadena City, Mt. San Antonio and Glendale Community colleges, roll-out only once during the registration period.
They also give students a minimum of three weeks to pay, while going as far as allowing their students to continue through the entire semester without paying with no repercussions.
“We had required payment within three days for a long time before we implemented a new system,” said Dee Adams, admissions and records clerk at Pasadena City College. “Then we required payment within a week, and then that was changed. Our previous management changed it to not require payment at all.”
Although PCC students are not required to pay their fees before their classes begin, payment of the fees is required before registering for the following semester.
“We send out reminder notices, and students are not able to register for the next term without payment for the prior term. They would have a hold or be blocked,” Adams said.
The roll-out process at Citrus College is straightforward. Students are required to pay their fees the end of the week. After classes have begun, students who add classes using an add code are not required by Banner to pay their fees. The student can essentially go the entire semester without paying.
“I had no idea [of the roll-out]. I registered for all the classes I needed during the fall and before the semester even started, I was dropped from all my classes for failure to pay,” -Veronica Ortiz-Gil, sophomore
“The students who enroll during the semester that have holds usually end up not paying and we have to send them to collections,” said Gerald Sequeira, dean of admissions and records at Citrus.
Collections is a state-wide collection system for people who owe money to the state. The California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office submits the collection requests for the colleges. Collections retain money from student state tax returns if they are receiving refunds.
Whether the multiple roll-outs system benefits students depends on whom you ask.
“I had no idea [of the roll-out]. I registered for all the classes I needed during the fall and before the semester even started, I was dropped from all my classes for failure to pay,” said sophomore Veronica Ortiz-Gil.
“I registered again for the classes, but I was all the way at the bottom. I was only able to get two out of the four classes I had originally had but at different times and with different teachers,” she said.
Sequeira has a different perspective. By giving students more time to pay, Citrus runs the risk of not recovering the entire amount due when delinquent fees go through collections. Collections also end up charging a penalty fee, which could prove even more harmful to the student.
“It can be five years later, and they finally have a refund coming, and the money gets held back,” Sequeira said. “The school then starts to receive funds and it’s with a penalty, which is about 33 percent of the initial fees.”
Community colleges make policy changes in different ways, but the changes to PCC’s registration process were not all that difficult to implement.
Overseeing admissions services and the registrar’s office, the vice president of enrollment service at PCC had the power to authorize the change.
“They would have that authority to be able to work with I.T to do a setup in the system so students can proceed without payment,” Adams said.
Changing the process at Citrus might involve vetting a proposal through several constituencies. “I’m not quite sure what the process was back in 2007,” said Sequeira. “But I think that if students wanted to change it, they would have a voice through student government.”