MSA stymies plan to unfairly charge students

Recently the Minnesota Student Association successfully blocked a proposal for two controversial fees: one for late registration and another for classes dropped after the first two weeks. Although University President Mark Yudof has tabled the fees for now, the proposal will be reconsidered. The fees would have been additional expenses for students already paying high service and insurance fees.
Students who register after the first day of classes would have been charged a $60 late fee. This was intended to discourage late registration, but it would have had disadvantages for many students. Often students must register for a particular class or section but must adjust their schedules by re-registering on or after the first day. Also, under the longer semester schedule, many students initially sit in on a class to determine if they should enroll or drop it. The penalty, nearly the cost of half a credit, is disproportionate to the benefits the University intended.
The second fee would have charged students for dropping courses after the second week of class. This fee would have ensured that the University would be capitalizing on students’ actions, regardless of whether they enrolled in or dropped classes. For similar reasons, students who had to navigate their way around the University’s classes would have been penalized. Also, as an attempt to improve the University’s graduation rate, this proposal would have backfired. Some students would be discouraged from dropping a class they no longer wanted even though they’ll likely earn no benefit and perform poorly.
The amount of money that would have been earned by the University illustrates its motives. The $900,000 the fees would have raised is insignificant compared to the University’s budget but important for individually contributing students. Although the administration’s attempt to increase graduation rates and discourage late registration is admirable, there are other methods that would accomplish the same goals without enacting additional fees.
At such a large institution, it is important to have flexible policies for students. However, neither of these fee proposals have considered the different circumstances of each student and the occasions when students need to register late or drop a class. Also, the proposals don’t fully consider all of the effects that would result from their implementation. There are other methods that would improve the University’s graduation rates that would fully recognize the needs of all students.