Parkland College recently announced major changes to its class registration, payment, and start date policies that will take effect starting the fall 2014 semester.
Biggest among the changes, discussed during a district high school counselors’ forum at the campus late last week, is Parkland’s elimination of its late registration period, which traditionally has allowed students to continue signing up for classes through the first week of the academic semester.
As of this fall, students will have until 11:59 p.m. on the Tuesday before an academic session begins to register and pay for classes within that session. This year, the registration deadline falls on Aug. 12 for Parkland’s full, 16-week session.
Open enrollment for fall 2014 classes begins April 14.
The registration and tuition payment changes are Parkland’s response to institutional research showing that students who register late have lower grade point averages and lower retention/completion rates than students who register on time. College administrators say the new policy will have a positive impact on student success at Parkland.
"On-time registration is an effort to set students up to succeed," said Parkland Dean of Students Marietta Turner. "The new deadlines are intended to improve the chances that students will arrive in class on the first day focused and ready to engage in the class, rather than distracted by finances, buying textbooks, or arranging other personal issues."
Parkland has conducted an internal campaign since January, helping students get an earlier start on fall semester preparations. The college has already had success encouraging students to submit their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible to maximize their financial aid opportunities for fall.
"We have noticed a drastic jump in the number of FAFSAs filed as a result of our student campaign," said Tim Wendt, director of Parkland’s Financial Aid and Veterans Services department. "Normally, FAFSAs trickle in at this time of year, but we have already received approximately 3,000. That’s 30 percent of the total we get in an entire year."
The institution is now encouraging students to consult their academic advisors early to determine the specific courses they need to take in the fall so that they are ready to register for classes when open enrollment begins. Students who have accumulated 30 credit hours or less need to see an advisor before registering for courses.
Also built into the new policy is an earlier course drop for nonpayment. Preregistered students have until the end of July to pay for reserved courses that begin Aug. 18; they will be dropped from courses for failure to meet this deadline (unless they are enrolled in the Nelnet payment plan or have pending financial aid). This early drop allows students time to arrange payment and re-register before the Aug. 12 registration/payment deadline.
Parkland offers classes in 16-week, 13-week, and accelerated 8-week sessions. Parkland’s new class registration and withdrawal policy may be found at www.parkland.edu/registration