By Emily Margeson
At the start of this Spring 2014 semester, a new attendance policy was put in place that requires professors to take attendance once within the first eight days of class. If a student is shown as not attending, they will be dropped from the course the next business day.
If the student wants to stay in the course, they will have that day to contact their instructor and make the final decision on whether to drop or stay.
“Our intention is to avoid dropping students because we don’t want to see that happen any more than the student does,” said Jim Barrett, associate vice chancellor for enrollment management.
Barrett says this new policy took effect for better usage of financial aid and also convenience. There are approximately 65 percent of students getting loans and 80 percent of students receiving financial aid.
This policy allows the students to use their financial aid for what it is intended and be recalculated if their attendance changes.
“If they do get a financial aid check before this is calculated, they will have to send that money back to the government,” Barrett said.
Since the start of the semester, 25 students have been reported as absent. As a result, 4 of these students had to drop their courses, Barrett said.
Every day, online rosters are reported by faculty members and list students that are not attending. Once the student is reported, an email will be sent to them so they can make their drop or stay decision in a timely matter.
“Each of the faculty members have their own attendance policies and we are not trying to take those away from them,” Barrett said.
Implementing the new attendance policy has caused mixed emotions on campus.
“I feel like if we’re paying for the classes we should have the choice whether or not to go,” said University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point student Katie Kovach.
Another complaint about the policy was posted to the school Twitter account. Their issue was addressed directly by Barrett.
“Once we explained it is a federal requirement, the person seemed okay with that,” Barrett said.
On the other hand, students trying to get into required classes see this as an opportunity to take dropped students place on the roster.
“I think it’s the right thing to do,” said UWSP student Hussain Alwalah. “It leaves a spot for people who are in need of the class.”
Large lecture halls have been problem when trying to carry out this policy.
“We know that in large lecture halls this can be an issue but we are working with information technology to try and get clickers in those classrooms,” Barrett said.
Recent cold weather in Stevens Point has caused the university to modify this policy for students that cannot make it to class.
On Monday and Tuesday, an email was sent to students stating that if they notified their professors about a weather-related absence, they would not be penalized.