By Amethyst Martinez
Rider’s new deregistration policy removed over 400 students from their classes at the beginning of the fall semester due to a variety of reasons, the biggest being financial issues, Rider President Gregory Dell’Omo said at the Sept. 1 faculty convocation.
At the same event, the university president said that this move was to set students up for success.
“Their education and personal and professional development are what we are all about,” said Dell’Omo. “That requires that we set our students up for success … not only success in the classroom, but for their ability to afford their education at our university.”
The new policy, which was implemented last spring semester, requires specific guidelines to be met by a set deadline before the semester, or students will be deregistered from their classes until they’re able to meet the requirements. Causes for deregistration are financial problems, insurance issues, vaccination requirements, waivers and other insufficient documentation.
According to Drew Aromando, the university’s vice president of enrollment management, Rider has always reserved the right to cancel enrollment, place a financial hold on student accounts, prevent registration for future classes and keep receipts of transcripts or diplomas for unpaid balances.
“In the past we would allow students to enroll and work with them throughout the semester to resolve any outstanding balance. Now, students are deregistered prior to the start of the semester if their outstanding balance is greater than $500 after subtracting their financial aid and payment plan resources,” said Aromando.
Rider’s Student Government Association (SGA) senior class vice chair and senior political science major Katy Timari says she met with the administration in the spring semester along with other members of SGA, who were against the new policy.
“A lot of concerns were raised surrounding the mental health of students when the policy was put in place, and those concerns were very much brushed off by administration,” said Timari.
The administration adamantly has said that this decision would benefit students and the university as a whole.
“When students carry outstanding balances into the academic period, it impacts their overall success,” said Aromando. “We want to set our students up for success, and that pertains not only to the classroom but also their ability to afford their education at Rider.”
After talks with the administration, Timari said that it had seemed that they had already made up their mind about the deregistration policy.
“It feels like they kind of went to SGA to talk about it, rather than make any change on what the students wanted or needed,” said Timiari.
At the convocation, Dell’Omo referred to “adverse impacts” due to carrying an outstanding balance, including “additional stress, poor athletic performance, inability to complete the semester, and potential dismissal, which really results in students walking away with nothing to show for their time at Rider.” He also described the old deregistration policy as “an unsustainable way of operating” that required the university to make changes.
For this semester, bills were sent out to students on July 12 with a due date of Aug. 12. Aromando said, “Emails and text messages were sent to students on a weekly basis reminding them to reach out to One Stop Services if they need help developing a financial plan and resolving their outstanding balance. Phone calls were also made to students who had made no financial plans at all and the Dean’s offices notified faculty advisors of the deregistration policy.”
On Aug. 16, a final warning email was sent out to students who qualified for the deregistration policy, and on Aug. 22, they were deregistered from their classes that were set to start on Sept. 7.
Timari said, “[It] didn’t really make sense to me, cutting students off from all the resources Rider has when they’re struggling. But that’s what I was told.”
SGA President Andrew Bernstein said that SGA plans to bring the issue up to Dell’Omo and his cabinet in the near future. “It’s definitely something that’s still going to be at the top of our minds,” said Bernstein. “I want to be able to gather a more comprehensive list of information about it to be able to answer people’s questions a little bit better.”
Aromando directed students towards One Stop Services at email@example.com for deregistration questions and issues.