Barnard students are already protesting a decision to require students to pay four years of full-time tuition.
Dean Avis Hinkson announced on Wednesday that starting next fall, all students will be required to pay full-time fees for every semester in which they are enrolled—ending the practice that allowed many seniors to pay part-time tuition to begin a job or an internship, and alarming students who will have to rethink their senior year plans.
In an email sent to Barnard students, Hinkson said they were making the change “in order to be financially responsible.”
“Our staffing and financial plans are developed based on full-time enrollment projections. A practice of students opting to become part-time students means that our resources are not being used at the optimum level,” Hinkson said.
Current enrollment practice has allowed students, usually second-semester seniors, who are taking fewer than 12 credits per semester to pay tuition as a part-time student.
Barnard has not released the number of students who were actually taking advantage of that practice. Also unclear is how the policy change will affect students enrolled in the joint program with Barnard and the Jewish Theological Seminary, who pay part-time tuition to Barnard during some semesters, though the change will not affect students choosing to graduate early.
Still, it will likely prompt some Barnard students to reexamine their program plans. Many Barnard students said they were caught off guard by the change, and called it unreasonable following the recent rise in annual tuition and last year’s implementation of a mandatory meal plan.
Hannah Goodman, BC/JTS ’12 and List College Student Council president, called the policy change unfair for Barnard students.
“Barnard is expensive, and if a student wants to save some money in their final semester by not fully enrolling it is their prerogative,” she said. “I understand Barnard needs money in order to function, but there are other avenues that will not hinder the students.”
Thea Briggs, BC ’13, started a Change.org petition calling for the new policy to be redacted. The petition had gathered 155 signatures by early Thursday morning, with comments like “I’m appalled by our administration’s casual treatment of a life-altering issue” and “Now I will graduate a semester early.”
“This greed has been apparent with the stinginess of financial aid, with the absurdity of a mandatory meal plan even for those with food allergies and food restrictions,” Naomi Roochnik BC ’12, said. “We won’t stand for this.”
Jessica Blank BC ’12 and Student Government Association president, acknowledged in a statement that students had already been vocal in their reactions to the change.
“SGA has been receiving a lot of feedback on the new policy and we understand and share many of the student’s concerns,” Blank said. “We will be meeting with Dean Hinkson to voice student opinions and all Barnard students should feel free to email email@example.com with any questions, concerns or ideas on this topic.”
Barnard officials did not respond to requests for comment.