Tuition fees prevent students from enrolling in courses this semester
As the fall semester comes to a close, registration for the winter and spring semester has begun. However, something major changed this year: winter semester classes will include separate tuition fees.
Typically, the winter semester (or Winterim) starts right after New Year’s Day and ends a few days before the spring semester begins. It has been considered as an ideal time to stay on track academically or explore an interesting subject that students don’t have the time or space for during the fall and spring semesters.
This year, changes have been made regarding the costs of taking Winterim classes. Students in the women’s college will be charged with both tuition and registration fees, as opposed to just registration fees. Last year, the registration fees for the Winterim classes were $130 per term, according to Mary Alice Adams, the Student Accounts Assistant. Now, tuition fees will vary depending on how many credits a student takes during Winterim. And due to the 3.8% increase in tuition prices for the women’s college last year, the cost of classes is about $659 per credit. With the cost of registration, students can end up paying an average of $3,127 for a three credit course.
The new policy may stem from the school’s need for greater revenue. According to an online article written by Carrie Wells for the Baltimore Sun, Notre Dame “eliminated fourteen vacant positions” in August this year. This demonstrates changes in more than one academic area in an effort to be more financially efficient.
The extra charges for winter classes left many students with major concerns. Adamary Karelly Sanchez-Martinez, a freshman majoring in chemistry, was worried that “the charges were very high” and hoped that the school would provide extra financial aid “for college students to be able to afford it.” Another student, Jessica Profilio, a freshman majoring in English, expressed similar sentiments to the tuition fees. Profilio finds it “hard enough to pay for the regular tuition fees.”
The ease of taking Winterim classes with only the registration fee proved helpful to many students who needed credits or required classes for their major. According to Kylie Eldrige, a senior majoring in international affairs, the costs of enrolling in Winterim may “dissuade students from taking winter classes.” This belief appears to have grounding. Dr. Joseph Schaub, a professor in the communication arts and marketing communications department, is waiting for more students to register for the Winterim class he offers, Film Themes: “The Wire.” While Dr. Schaub expresses understanding in the decision to attach tuition fees to the Winterim semester, he worries about what “the future of study abroad trips will be.” Some of the winter study abroad trips, like the one to London, will be less affordable to students once they have to pay the trip costs on top of the required tuition fees for Winterim courses.
Dr. Clarenda Phillips, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at Notre Dame, says that the university wanted to keep Winterim to give students the chance to catch up or take classes they find interesting. However, finances were an issue. “Faculty were essentially being paid to teach Winterim and the university didn’t have any way to cover the faculty getting paid,” Phillips explains. “I do expect fewer students to enroll,” she says. “Students have many things to balance and to the extent that Winterim is an additional charge, I think students may not be ready to take that on.”
However, according to Notre Dame’s website, Winterim enrollment will be combined with spring “for the purpose of determining financial aid eligibility.” This means that the combined financial aid for both the winter and spring semester remains unchanged, despite the added tuition fees. Additionally, students still cannot combine spring and winter semester credits in order to have 12 credits required of full-time students. Weariness and worry seem to surround the sentiments of students upon hearing about the added tuition fees, but many still hope that there will still be a chance for students to take all of their necessary classes, with or without the help of Winterim.