New graduation late fee in place

Jamie Shearer

Students must apply by end of semester

Undergraduates who missed the Sept. 15 deadline to apply for May 2010 graduation dodged the late application processing fee because the university still had to work out the details.

The new $200 fee will start with May 2010 graduate students and August 2010 undergraduate students, whose deadlines to apply are Jan. 22 and Dec. 15, respectively.

Deans of colleges met with Senior Associate Provost Timothy Chandler last week to work out the kinks in the fee, such as how to communicate that there is a fee, why there’s a fee and certain exceptions.

“No one’s gonna get dinged,” Chandler said, “mostly because we haven’t communicated this fully yet.”

But the university will be working to make sure students are aware of this.

“I think our job is to communicate this as well as we can, and that’s what we’ll spend the next little while doing with an information blitz so that people are aware of this,” Chandler said.

Chandler also wants to communicate to students that the reason for the fee is to offset the cost of dealing with late applications, which has been an increasing problem.

“Literally, people are sitting up late at night going through these . We pay them overtime; we have to have them come in on weekends to do this,” he said. “That’s a cost.”

The fees will go to the colleges to help pay for that cost.

Timothy Moore, associate dean for the College of Arts and Sciences, said it’s an inefficient use of time to have staff do catch-up work because a student wasn’t responsible.

“I can see why the decision was made to try and streamline this process and make students more responsible, which is what we all encourage anyway,” he said.

Chandler is expecting some students to be unhappy about the late fees, but he wants them to know they have control over this.

“We’re just saying ‘please take some responsibility for your own academic education and graduation,'” he said. “And we’re not gonna kill anybody over it, we’re just asking that they take some responsibility.”

And responsibility seems to be the point of this fee.

“They can save themselves a lot of frustration by just learning to be responsible for their decisions and the choices they make,” Moore said.

Even with this fee in place, deans will have the flexibility to waive a fee based on special circumstances, such as paperwork not being processed or something that wasn’t held against the student.

Contact academic affairs reporter Jamie Shearer at

[email protected].