New policy discourages course shopping

In an effort to curb a method of registering for courses known as course shopping, the Board of Regents passed a resolution earlier this month that will charge students $67 extra per credit hour over 16 hours. The resolution will go into effect next semester.

Course shopping consists of registering for an overload of courses with the intention of dropping the disagreeable courses within a week, getting a full refund. Northern Kentucky University President James Votruba said this wastes resources of the university, and it prevents students who really want to enlist in a course from signing up.

“We have students saying they can’t get into courses, and we see empty seats at the end of the semester,” Votruba said.

Critics of the university’s plan to use per unit pricing say it does not effectively address the problem since students will still get a full refund if they drop within a week. Student Government Association President Katie Herschede opposes the increase saying it punishes students who need to take a heavy course load and may persuade potential students to go elsewhere.

“As we become a more selective university, I am concerned that the per unit pricing will discourage students to come here,” Herschede said.

If the policy were put in effect today, it would affect 1,013 students, 8 percent of the student body.

Adriana Hernandez, a sophomore, is one such student affected by per unit pricing and doesn’t approve it. She said she is thinking about changing her major,which will probably force her to take a heavy course load.

“I am already two years into college,” Hernandez said. “If I want to get out in a timely fashion, will have to take over 16 hours.”

Some students also feel course shopping is a legitimate way to decide what to take and shouldn’t cost extra. Jamie Buckner, a senior radio/television major, said he has course shopped before by taking 18 credit hours one semester and dropping one class.

It was effective in determining which classes are good and which are not, while maintaining a full-time schedule, he said.

“You can find out what the professor is like and how hard the class will be,” Buckner said.

Votruba defended the policy saying both students who course shop and students who take large class loads put a higher cost on the university which keeps tuition higher for part-time students.

“I understand the value of students who need to take credits,” Votruba said. ” I don’t see any reason why the students at 12 credits or less should subsidize those taking more.”

Estimates from the office of financial planning show the amount of revenue generated from the additional per unit pricing will be $250,000.

Votruba also said that while students will still get a full refund for dropping courses during the first week, the per unit pricing will still hopefully discourage students by reminding them of the added cost of course shopping. Dave Emery, director of the academic advising resource center, said he doesn’t anticipates a decrease in course shopping as a result of the policy. Not all students who course shop take over 16 credit hours, he said, but take 15 hours and drop to 12, which is the minimum number for full-time status.

“I am not sure (per unit pricing) will hit the nail on the head,” Emery said. “(Course Shopping) probably falls into the 15 to 12 credit hour range.”

While he said he does not advise students to course shop, Emery said course shopping does provide security for some students.

“It gives students a safety net,” Emery said.

Course shopping, however, causes problems in class, especially in the biology department said Dr. Jerry Warner, chair of the department.

“When a student signs up for a course, we have to buy the supplies and materials,” Warner said. “It can be rather expensive.”

To avoid such problems, Emery said going over course options and asking questions regarding specific courses with your advisor can be just as effective, if not more effective, than course shopping.

“We want to help students work it out in the advising process,” Emery said.