Paying earlier is not equal to being a ‘serious’ student

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I won’t lie and tell you that UVU was on the top of my list when I was choosing which college to attend. My plan back then, like many others at that time, was to go to UVU (still UVSC then) for a couple semesters and then transfer to BYU. Despite how much this will date me, back then the school didn’t even have a Bachelor’s degree for my major, Communications.
Well, times have changed, and I honestly couldn’t see myself at another school. As you can tell, I decided to stick around, and I am proud to say that I will be graduating from Utah Valley University this spring.

This university has come a long way from when it first started, and I’ve been amazed by the positive changes and all the progress that has been made, and unlike already established universities, we as students have been an active part of those changes whether we’ve realized it or not. I’m honored to be a part of that progress.

UVU has gone from a two-year tech college to a full-blown university offering several graduate degrees with the list continually growing. It’s a large feat.

But before I get carried away and tell you why I have come to love this school, I have to admit that some recent changes the school has made have been really surprising and, unfortunately, disappointing.

Starting last fall semester, UVU implemented its early tuition deadline and carried it over to this spring semester. For this semester, tuition was due by Dec. 19. During an interview conducted last semester by the UVU Review, we learned that the change is part of the initiatives the university has taken to become a more serious institution and weed out students who either aren’t yet ready for college or aren’t serious about their education.

Though I understand UVU’s need to establish itself further as a university and provide a quality education to quality students, I struggle to comprehend how paying tuition before fall semester grades have even been posted determines whether or not someone is a serious student.

Many students I talked to recently felt the added financial strain of having to pay their tuition right before the Holidays. Between paying to go home and the overall expenses of the holidays, the tuition payment deadline led to an even more stressful finals week.

We don’t want to compare ourselves to other schools, but it’s good to look at other universities to get a good frame of reference. Looking at other schools throughout Utah, specifically universities, UVU is the one of the only ones with such an early tuition payment deadline and severe repercussions for not meeting that deadline.

Brigham Young University’s payment deadline is Dec. 31. After that, students pay a late fee until Jan. 18. University of Utah gives their students until Jan. 22, and Weber State University requires students to pay tuition one week before classes begin. Tuition paid after that deadline is subject to late fees and holds. Interestingly enough, Southern Utah University also drops classes and requires students to re-register instead of reinstating classes, similar to UVU’s new policy. However, their payment deadline is Jan. 3. The school that comes closest to UVU’s new tuition payment policy is Utah State University. Their deadline is Dec. 12, and they too dropped classes for non-payment. The difference is that Utah State does not charge students a $50 activation fee to re-register once their classes have been dropped, making UVU’s policy the harshest among all of these universities.

Early tuition payment deadlines do not a serious university make. We’re seeing enrollment numbers dropping and disgruntled students worrying about paying their tuition right after dealing with the stress of finals.

I applaud UVU for the many steps it has taken to become the school it is today. The new structured enrollment initiative and the requirement for all new students to attend orientation and see an academic adviser shows that this school is all about student success. Those steps help elevate the caliber of students we see walking around campus. And steps like those are what will continue to set us apart as a university.

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