Effective summer of 2013, Mercer will enact a new refund policy which prevents students from receiving a 100% discount once a course has begun. This follows a recent $4.00 increase in tuition, approved by the Mercer Board of Trustees for Aug. 2013, previously covered by the VOICE.
The new refund policy, beginning in the 2013 summer semester, will allow a 50 percent refund for 15 week courses or shorter dropped the first two days of the term, and 15 week sessions dropped within the first seven calendar days of the term.
President of the SGA and second year Liberal Arts student at Mercer, Anderson Monken, said, “[Mercer] has taken a step backwards in its mission to provide a nurturing college environment with open admission.”
Previously, full refunds were available to students choosing to drop a 13 week or more course during the first 3 days of class. Any course dropped after this time would result in no refund for the student. Now, in order to receive a complete refund, students will have to drop the course before the first day of the class.
“It’s really disappointing that students might lose the ability to firmly decide if they want to make a large financial commitment after meeting their professor and looking at their syllabus,” said Monken.
Joseph Schachter, a third year communications major at Mercer, said, “I’ve taken classes that I was really close to dropping, because I didn’t think it was on path. I didn’t like the syllabus. I ended up dropping it later because of that. If I was put in that situation again, I would hope I could drop the class early.”
Mercer students will need to research their classes prior to the first day to avoid taking the financial hit. However, Some students are worried they will not be able to properly judge the course until being in the classroom.
“How else are you going to judge whether or not you want to take a class?” said Alexa-Rae Martinez, a liberal arts major at Mercer. “I’ve actually dropped courses based on the first day before. My Spanish class, Spanish 201. Within the first day I knew it was way too easy.”
Dr. Diane Campbell, Dean of Student Affairs at MCCC, identifies the reason for the change in policy as limitations in course slots. “I believe it has to do with seats,” said Campbell. “Once a student has paid for a seat, if we allow the student to hold onto the seat for a week or so, and then they drop, they might have taken a slot from someone else who wanted to get into the course.”
Dr. Campbell says that the new policy will create the biggest problems for students unable to continue with a course due to unforeseen circumstances. “if a student starts a class and then they get, for example, a job offer, and that collides with the class and they ask for a refund, that student may get upset,” said Campbell.
MCCC President Dr. Patricia Donohue could not be reached for an interview about the new refund policy. When contacted by the VOICE, Jacob Eapen, Vice President and Chief Business Officer at MCCC refused to talk about the refund policy.
Monken states that MCCC is acting as a business instead of a college. “Even a good used car business offers a 30 day return policy. If the school feels that they’re providing a good service that students appreciate, then they shouldn’t be afraid of providing that one-week drop policy,” said Monken. “They should be confident that students will be happy with their first class and want to continue.”