Last-minute financial holds are preventing seniors from registering for classes
A few days shy of registration, Daniel Schmidt logged on to his UDSIS account, only to find an account hold waiting for him. This hold, placed by Student Financial Services, prevents Schmidt from registering for his classes for the spring 2019 semester.
Schmidt, a senior who is majoring in chemical engineering, is not the only one affected by this problem. Within the past few weeks, countless seniors at the university have been struck with holds just a few days prior to their registration appointments, preventing them from creating their schedules on time.
“This is a huge problem because I am going into my last semester of college,” Schmidt says. “I am trying to complete a minor and for my major, [there] are really popular classes that fill up quickly.”
In Schmidt’s case, his hold was placed due to an incomplete federal loan training. According to Schmidt, the account hold was issued half a day prior to his registration appointment. However, once Schmidt realized the problem and completed his loan training, the hold mysteriously stayed in place.
After taking up the issue with Student Financial Services — a process that he found lengthy and exhausting — Schmidt learned that his loan training had been complete. However, there was a lag in the system.
“There’s a lag between the notification and the tuition payment and there’s a third lag between the tuition payment and the hold being removed,” Schmidt says. “I believe at least two of those steps are manual steps where someone has to actually enter it.”
For Michaela Knight, a junior who is majoring in human services, the experience with Student Financial Services was less successful: Knight ended up being three days late for her registration appointment. In Knight’s case, a Parent Plus Loan was never credited, resulting in a hold on her account. Knight emailed, called and visited Student Financial Services in person, and it was only after her second in-person visit that she received help with her situation.
“I basically explained that we’ve been having really tight finances lately,” Knight says. “They were able to credit a thousand dollars for that which is really nice. With that, we were able to pay off part of the amount we owed.”
Schmidt and Knight were not the only students to face issues with holds blocking their registration: Danielle Dargis, a senior majoring pre-veterinary medicine and animal biosciences, encountered a similar situation when a hold was placed on her account due to incomplete “To Do” tasks on her UDSIS account. Dargis faced difficulties gaining access to the documents she needed to complete, but was able to finish her “To Do” tasks by Nov. 4, three days before her registration appointment.
“I was hoping that it would be reviewed quickly,” Dargis wrote in an email. “However, when my registration date arrived, I was still blocked by Student Financial Services.”
Like Knight and Schmidt, Dargis faced difficulties getting in contact with Student Financial Services.
“I went to the Student Services building around 10 a.m. on Nov. 7,” Dargis says. “I was hoping to talk to someone in person to see if my registration could be temporarily unblocked. After about an hour’s wait, I had to leave and lost my place in line. I then called Student Services around 1 p.m., an hour after my scheduled registration time. I was placed on hold behind about 113 people and waited on the phone for 40 minutes until they disconnected me.”
Eventually, Dargis was placed in contact with an adviser, who was able to temporarily lift her block so that she could complete her registration. Dargis believes that Student Financial Services failed to handle this issue in an efficient way, and describes the situation as a “frustrating ordeal.”
Student Financial Services has not yet commented on this issue.
Each student’s account emphasizes the poor customer support that they received at Student Financial Services. Knight believes that this is a major problem with the department, and that it could be amended by hiring more staff and “showing more care and concern for students.”
“At this point, there is so much miscommunication,” Knight says. “They’re very quick to send a bill and tell us that we owe money, but they won’t help students get their loans processed.”