As she sat in class on a recent Friday, Emma Zellmer received an email stating her enrollment had been canceled, and that she no longer was a student.
This came to Zellmer as a surprise, as in addition to being a Minnesota State University, Mankato student, she also represents student as the State Chair of Students United.
“Sitting in class finding out that I am no longer enrolled in said class was a very stressful situation,” said Zellmer, “especially on a Friday, because I could not resolve this issue for three days.”
Zellmer was one of 181 students that had their registration canceled due to not paying a $300 dollar fee by the fifth day of classes.
According to Minnesota State System policy, universities may cancel a student’s registration starting 15 days before the start of the semester, with the last day to accept being the fifth business day of the semester.
This cancellation is not applicable if a student has paid a $300 dollar fee or filled out their FAFSA.
Many students were surprised by the fee, as it had been waived by Chancellor Devinder Malhotra since fall of spring 2020, in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Before the pandemic, the university would run an early registration, as well as a final registration cancellation on the fifth day. This year, it was decided to simply do one on the final day.
“I can understand this semester there might have been some confusion,” said Vice President of Finance and Administration Rick Straka. “New entering freshmen or transfer students might not have been here last time we ran registration for cancellation.”
While 181 students were affected by the policy this year, Straka said this number resembles previous years for early registration.
“This one we did on the sixth day had very similar numbers to what we would see on our early one.” said Straka, “Right around 150 to 200, and that wasn’t very far out of the ordinary.”
In order to mitigate the amount of students whose registration was canceled, the university sent several notices to inform them before the final date.
“So we really tried to reach out and communicate as best we can,” said Straka, stating how the University communicated via several emails, posted on its website and sent postcards to permanent addresses.
It was also indicated on the student’s e-services account via a red flag, which stated the individual had unpaid fees.
Zellmer believes these lines of communication were not enough, and there should have been a better attempt to reach students with a more direct approach.
“I believe the university should have given phone calls to the people they were going to cancel the registration of,” said Zellmer, noting that she, along with many students, do not use their school email account.
“Email, as administration knows, is not the primary source of communication for students, you give them a phone call,” said Zellmer, “We are paying customers, do you not want our money?”
Zellmer brought up the current enrollment situation within the Minnesota State System as well, referring to the need for more students.
“When you are in an enrollment crisis,” said Zellmer, “you should not be kicking out students without giving them a phone call and a chance to resolve this issue.”
After having their registration canceled, students were able to appeal to get back into their classes, which required receiving permission from the University, as well as each of their professors to get back into their classes.
The university said 140 of the students who had their registration dropped were able to re-enroll back into their classes at MSU.
Header Photo: 181 students were affected by the policy this spring semester. 140 out of the 181 students were able to re-enroll. (Maddie Behrens/The Reporter)