The process of registering at any college, whether it is an HBCU or PWI, can be long and stressful, and Saint Augustine’s University is no exception. Registration for new and returning students at Saint Augustine’s University in the Fall 2016 semester was difficult. Students were forced to wait in long lines, and sit in overcrowded buildings.
A lot of new staff were still adjusting to Saint Augustine’s system and the fact that the incoming freshmen class is one of the largest in years only made matters worse. Freshmen and athletes arrived earlier than upperclassmen. All athletes were supposed to be registered by Aug. 10, so there would not be any conflict when all the freshmen came in. But when returning students came back on Monday, Aug. 15, there were still many freshmen and athletes registering.
All of this made the beginning of the year unpleasant for many, such as junior Jena Massey, who said the first two weeks of the semester were “stressful” for her. “I have been going back and forth everyday for over a week and I am still not registered,” Massey said. “I have to worry about going to class on top of trying to register. The line in the Financial Aid Office is ridiculous…Everything is unorganized and just a complete disaster. Hopefully this issue can be fixed soon.”
Shamar Ferguson, a senior, said it took her two weeks to register. “The new staff should’ve been trained before starting the job, because they do not know what they are doing. I had to go from building to building to register.”
University administrators say a big reason for the problems has the fact that departures in the Financial Aid Office over the summer resulted in a large part of registration being thrust on the shoulders of new workers. Gwendolyn Brown, a loan administrator with the Financial Aid office, said she had been at Saint Augustine’s for one month before registration started. She said the problems were not all caused by inexperience.
“One, a lot of students FAFSA (forms) were incomplete,” Ms. Brown said. Two, they waited too long and missed the deadline, three, we were short staffed, and lastly, there are new policies that were put in place. …It could have been different because students could have listened more.”
But Ms. Brown acknowledged that staff inexperience contributed to the problems. “I’ve only been here a month and it has been hectic. This is a totally different administrative side. Prior to working here, I worked at a community college that was more organized. It has just been so overwhelming, but I do believe it will improve in time.”
When registration became severely backed up, the staff offered Saturday registration for those students who were still not finished with the process. However many students were frustrated when they received emails from the Office of Business and Finance as well as from professors stating that students who had not been cleared need to do so as soon as possible. Not everyone was able to complete registration.
Those who were still unregistered the second week of classes were given a deadline. This deadline was referred to as the “purge.” All students were sent an email about the purge Monday, August 28, 2016 stating: “Tomorrow, Monday, August 29, 2016 from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m., unregistered students will have their FINAL opportunity to get registered before the system is purged. All students who have not completed registration and have unofficial schedules are asked to come to the second floor of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Building to complete the registration process at this time. At noon tomorrow, all unregistered students will be dropped from the system and will have to re- register for all of their classes on Tuesday, August 30,2016. Additionally, FREE access to the cafeteria will be prohibited for students without proper student I.D. starting at lunch tomorrow.” As a result to this email, professors were then prompted to send their students to register.
Registration is still taking place, and a lot of students are still un-registered. Not only are they still registering, but they are facing more issues with registering. Many students are stuck with late fees and have to re-register for classes because of new policies put in place that kicked them out of the system. This process could take weeks to become organized and ran smoothly.
— Porsha Cox