Students and staff talk about new opt-out policies – The Rider News

By Amethyst Martinez

Rider’s new opt-out policy removed more than 400 students from their classes at the start of the fall semester for a variety of reasons, the most significant being financial issues, Rider President Gregory Dell’Omo said during the convocation of the faculty on September 1st.

At the same event, the university’s president said the move was meant to set students up for success.

“Their education and their personal and professional development are our raison d’être,” said Dell’Omo. “It requires that we prepare our students to be successful…not only to be successful in the classroom, but also to their ability to pay for their education at our university.”

The new policy, which was implemented last spring semester, requires specific guidelines to be met within a set timeframe before the semester or students will be unenrolled from their classes until they are able to follow the requirements. Reasons for deregistration include financial issues, insurance issues, vaccination requirements, waivers, and other insufficient documentation.

According to Drew Aromando, vice president of enrollment management at the university, Rider has always reserved the right to cancel enrollment, financially suspend student accounts, prevent enrollment in future courses and keep receipts of transcripts or diplomas for outstanding balances.

“In the past, we allowed students to register and work with them throughout the semester to resolve any outstanding balances. Now, students are unenrolled before the semester begins if their outstanding balance is greater than $500 after subtracting their financial aid and payment plan resources,” Aromando said.

Katy Timari, Rider’s Student Government Association (SGA) senior class vice president and political science major, said she met with the administration during the spring semester along with other SGA members, who were against the new policy.

“Many concerns were raised about the mental health of students when the policy was put in place, and those concerns were largely ignored by the administration,” Timari said.

The administration has been adamant that the move will benefit students and the university as a whole.

“When students keep outstanding balances during the college term, it impacts their overall success,” Aromando said. “We want to prepare our students for success, and that’s not just about the classroom, but about their ability to pay for their Rider education.”

After talks with the administration, Timari said it looks like they’ve already made up their minds on the deregistration policy.

“It feels like they kind of went to SGA to talk about it, rather than making changes to what the students wanted or needed,” Timiari said.

During the call, Dell’Omo referred to “negative impacts” due to exceptional balance, including “additional stress, poor athletic performance, inability to complete the semester, and potential dismissal, causing students leave without showing anything for their time at Rider.He also described the old opt-out policy as “an unsustainable way of operating” that required the university to make changes.

For this semester, invoices were sent to students on July 12 with a due date of August 12. help develop a financial plan and settle their outstanding balance. Phone calls were also made to students who had made no financial plans, and the dean’s offices informed faculty advisers of the opt-out policy.

On August 16, a final warning email was sent to students who qualified for the unenrollment policy, and on August 22, they were unenrolled from their classes that were scheduled to start on September 7.

Timari said:[It] didn’t really make sense to me, depriving students of all the resources Rider has when they’re in trouble. But that’s what I was told. »

SGA Chairman Andrew Bernstein said the SGA plans to take the matter to Dell’Omo and his cabinet in the near future. “It’s definitely something that’s always going to be at the top of our minds,” Bernstein said. “I want to be able to put together a more comprehensive list of information on this so I can answer people’s questions a little better.”

Aromando directed students to One Stop Services at [email protected] for unenrollment questions and issues.

Earnest L. Veasey