Effective fall semester 2003, The University of Texas-Pan American will increase its late registration fees to improve the problems caused by the high number of late registration and late payment of fees.
David Zuniga, UTPA director of Admissions and Records, said the main goal of the change is to encourage students to apply, register and pay for the classes early before the semester begins so all the students are registered by the first day of class.
The registration and payment deadline for this fall is Aug. 6. Students registering and paying after Aug. 11 will pay a $40 fee, $15 more than last year's late fee. Students waiting until the first day of class, Aug. 25, to register and pay will be assessed a $50 late payment fee in addition to the $40 late payment fee for a total of $90 in late fees.
"We want students to know that this is not a punishment but an encouragement to register and pay early because we have to look at how the University utilizes its resources," Zuniga said.
He said late registration hinders planning for the need for more faculty, classroom space or additional classes or sections each semester.
Kelly Shannon, assistant director of Admissions and Records, said besides saving up to $90 in late fees, there is another incentive in registering and paying by Aug. 6.
"Students meeting the Aug. 6 deadline will get three days to themselves for drop/add opportunities. Those students will have first crack at classes being newly added or openings that occur with dropped classes," Shannon said.
Zuniga explained that there are many resources to help the student in registration and payment. Students can register and pay via the web or telephone by credit card or electronic check. The web site to register is firstname.lastname@example.org and the phone number is 956/381-3000. Payment in person can be made at the Payments and Collection office, Room 115 in the Student Services Building. A drop box is also located outside that building for cash, checks and money orders.
Students can pay by installments, or emergency loans are also available. An emergency loan can be applied for online, also at the email@example.com Web site or in person through the Business Affairs Office, Room 214 in the Administration Building.
"The students will have to come in person to sign the promissory note but we don't know of any student that has been turned away from an emergency loan," Zuniga said. Students are also encouraged to apply for financial aid.
The decision to raise the fee came from a committee, appointed by UTPA President Dr. Miguel A. Nevárez, composed of faculty members, staff members of business services offices and students. Using a tracking system developed by Shannon comparing semester to semester and time period to time period within a semester of how many students paid and dropped classes showed there was a problem with late registrations and payments.
Zuniga said the committee looked at fees at other institutions and some students are paying up to $250 to $300 for late registration and payment.
"We don't want the fees to be prohibitive but we hope it encourages the students to do things on a timelier basis. We want them to be able to get instruction the first day of class and not be forced to drop/add because a class has had to be cancelled due to late student registrations and payments," Zuniga said.
Information to students on the new fees has been mailed, e-mailed and advertised on television and radio as well as distributed through flyers and posters located on campus.
For additional information contact the Admissions and Records Office at 956/381-2201 or 381-2206.