Updated: 3 hours ago
Summer is normally a time when I focus on working and spending time with family and friends. However, this summer has been different. As I attempt to prepare myself for senior year, graduate school and the several leadership positions I have on and off campus, I looked for ways to be able to lessen my stress. However, I had no idea that the offices in Johnson Hall would cause more problems and emotional distress.
In March, I filled out a Cooperating Raleigh Colleges (CRC) form to take a class at NC State. I obtained all of the signatures that I needed and was approved by the Registrar’s Office who told me they would send it to NC State once they began accepting the forms. Mid-July, I still hadn’t heard back from either institution about the next steps. I emailed Meredith’s Registrar's office and was told they didn’t have my CRC form on file and to resend it to them. Once I did, the Registrar’s office responded saying that they would send the form to NC State the same day. A week later, I still hadn’t heard from NC State.
I continued to email offices at both institutions and was told conflicting information about my registration status. I started to panic because the class I wanted to register for had less than five seats left and I needed it for my thesis. Additionally, I had planned my entire work schedule around it. Eventually, I called both offices to try and sort things out. Meredith told me that they were sending my CRC paperwork while I was on the phone with them. I emailed NC State the same day to confirm this and was told they were not sent. The following morning, I made plans to take the forms to NCSU myself. Thankfully, I received an email at 9:54 from NC State that they had just received my form and gave me a timeline for how long it would take to process as well as the next steps to confirm my admission.
After having a meeting with my faculty advisors, we agreed it would be best for me to take a summer Sociology class. I registered over the weekend and was ready for the first day of class the following Monday—or so I thought. On Monday, I received an email stating that I was late in paying my summer tuition that was due on May 15. This was at least five days before I had registered for the class, and I had no knowledge of this or a plan to pay the full amount. I was shocked to find out how expensive it was. I’ve had semesters that were cheaper than this 5-week summer course. After speaking with one of my friends, they told me about a grant that lowered their summer tuition cost if students took a certain number of credit hours.
I immediately emailed the Accounting and Financial Aid offices to discuss ways that I could lower my bill. The Financial Aid office said that I could either take out an additional loan (which I refused to do) or that I could take another summer class to qualify for the grant my friend mentioned. However, the Accounting Office told me that I didn’t qualify for the grant even if I added another class, but wouldn’t tell me why I didn’t qualify. After a few days of conflicting information, I was eventually dropped from the class. I kept trying to explain my situation to both offices for several days without being given assistance or understanding that I had less time than others to make a payment plan.
Two weeks after the class started, my family was finally able to pay my tuition and I emailed the Accounting Office to update them. They told me to wait for an email from the Registrar’s Office who told me that I would have to have approval from my academic dean to regain access to the class because it was going to end in 3 weeks. I emailed my academic dean explaining the situation I was in and asked for her to approve my request. The following day, I received her email that she and my professor approved my re-registration and my boss allowed me to run to Accounting to drop off my check. Even though the entire process was an emotionally draining experience and no one besides my academic Dean apologized for how difficult it was, I finished the class with a 98.
When I shared these stories with friends and family, some of them said they experienced the same things with Financial Aid and the Registrar’s office. Taking a summer class and navigating the CRC program was just as difficult and stressful for them. It shouldn’t be as challenging and frustrating for students to navigate the offices in Johnson Hall, especially when the roles of the offices could determine a student’s experience on campus and graduation time. Meredith prides itself in these offices for working with students one-on-one. It’s time for these offices to actually live up to that expectation.
By Charlie Hatch, Contributing Writer