The Cross Reference: Think before you walk away

Commentary Featured Opinion Opinion

We are about a month away from the last day students can drop classes and receive a “W” on their transcript, and we have passed the date for getting a refund for tuition. Veteran students know about the ease in demand for parking spaces as October passes and the excitement of school begins to cool.

People drop from Western for many reasons. Those reasons are diverse but generally fall into very few categories. Some have health issues and can no longer attend class. Legitimate health problems happen to well-intentioned students. Those with health problems are easily excused. Others have the noble excuses of family or career changes that no longer permit them to attend class.

Some have no excuse at all. They just give up. Maybe they were disillusioned about their expectations of college life or feel the burden of a full-time class load. Before giving up, there are several things students need to consider.

First, they must consider the financial ramifications of leaving school. As stated above, the time for full or partial refunds of tuition has passed. People leaving now can’t expect to get a refund. They have already paid for the classes, so the best advice is to attend on the off chance they could learn something. Also, they might change their mind after the emotions they are experiencing temporarily have time to pass.

An exit interview is mandatory if students want a transcript of what they have completed at Western. They could start the interview process now with the instructor of the classes they are finding difficult. Instructors don’t always tell students what they want to hear, but they always have advice on ways to improve.

More importantly, students may have to pay back part or all of the financial aid they received immediately if the funds are Title IV financial aid. Title IV funding includes Pell Grants, FSEOG, ACG, SMART and federal subsidized loans such as Perkins loans and PLUS loans. Students could put themselves in a very large hole and it could take some time to work their way out.

Whatever the reason to quit students may be contemplating over the next few weeks, they need to be sure they know the facts before just skipping class. Walking away may seem like the thing to do, but things go wrong automatically.

First the campus is required by law to inform those who assisted with tuition cost that the student has left. The funding agencies will start the collection process automatically.

When students leave without complying with the exit interview requirement, they can’t get a copy of their transcript to enroll again later or use what they have accomplished to get a transfer.

Walking away can be the worst thing to do. Sometimes it is just better to push through. Students that complete the semester can find new respect for themselves while enriching their minds.

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