Admissions, Records, Scheduling and Student Aid
March 13, 2018
Steven Andelin, Clark Brigger, Anna Griswold, Harold Hayford, James Jaap, Robert Kubat, Jake Springer, Shuang Shen, Maura Shea, Darryl Thomas, Mary Beth Williams, Douglas Wolfe.
Members Absent: Victoria Braithwaite, Wei-fan Chen.
Chair Mary Beth Williams indicated that a presentation by guest speaker, Dr. John Hinshaw, President of the Pennsylvania Division of the American Association of University Professors AAUP, on the pros and cons of unionization took place the previous evening. Williams recognized fellow committee member and soon-to-be retiree, Anna Griswold, who provided 27 years of service to the university. Today’s meeting would be Griswold’s last. Williams introduced Melissa Kunes, Assistant Vice President for Undergraduate Education and Executive Director for Student Aid, who replaces Griswold (Kunes attended the meeting remotely via phone.)
Clark Brigger announced that the LionPATH governance committee is requesting to have ARSSA members and other select groups provide input on perceived functionality/interfacing issues, as well as usage needs regarding LionPATH. The governance committee proposes to then use this feedback to assist in development of action plans. Brigger mentioned that the other select groups could be from faculty senate (including students), but he was not certain how invitation to meetings would disseminate to other non-senate faculty and staff groups. Brigger indicated he would send out a doodle poll to determine committee availability.
Approval of Minutes
The minutes of the January 23, 2018 meeting were approved.
Mandated Report on Senate Scholarships (Informational, Final). The report is on today’s plenary agenda and Senate Council has allocated Griswold five minutes for presentation. There was discussion concerning how future reports should account for World Campus scholarship recipients. It was decided that the committee would need to explore relevant data as well as any pertinent policy differences applying to World Campus students (e.g., Determine the minimum course credit-load for WC students qualify as full-time if the number of credits is less than 12 for this cohort; and 2. Determine when WC reports student headcounts for credit hours; etc.) The committee would need to get this information before the next scholarship cycle begins (November 18, 2018) for next year’s report on the previous 2017-2018 scholarship award cycle.
Late Fees Report (Advisory/Consultative, Draft). The Committee on Educational Equity and Campus Environment is looking at this issue currently. Chair Williams indicated that she would try to get that committee’s input and send out another draft version in the near future. This report is important to rollout, because college affordability is a primary issue for the university. Of great concern is that the late fee total receipts from all university location presently exceeds $3,000,000.
Prior to implementation of LionPATH, any student who was in SCHED status (enrolled, but tuition unpaid) could potentially decide to stop attending classes and walking away without paying a tuition bill and not be subject to the payment of any late fees. Presently, LionPATH now requires students to have any financial holds removed prior to being able to register a schedule, so those students with no immediate access to funds for tuition payment are now subject to a late fee assessment. Those students are offered an option that allows for avoiding late fee assessment, if payment of outstanding tuition is made in three payments of one/third of the amount owed (1st payment made immediately).
Late fees may be waived by The Office of the Bursar on the basis of two scenarios: 1. The student is granted a “one-time courtesy” (committee members were not clear which conditions would qualify a student for this type of waiver), and 2. The non-payment was the result of internal administrative circumstances due to no fault of the student. Although there are write-offs for students who are simply unable to pay the total bill in full, for those who are assessed the late fee, there are penalty fees that apply that can accrue at an interest rate of up to 19%.
Of significant concern: 1. Students were largely not aware that this new procedure was in effect, and 2. Students who already have high levels of debt find themselves in far worse scenario due to the assessment of the late fees and penalties. Lastly, it is not clear what is currently being done with the monies collected from these late fees and penalties.
Kunes indicated that the university has been benchmarking with other universities that assess students a late fee. She recommended consideration of the procedure utilized by Indiana University where assessment of the late fee is postponed until after the passing of the drop/add period. Indiana has indicated that adoption of this policy as reduced the number of contacts students must make and reduced the number of late fee assessments in general. It was pointed out that some institutions, such as West Virginia University structure the late fee as a % of the student’s outstanding balance, not to exceed a certain amount. Another recommendation was to modify the currently used option but allow students to pay an increased number of smaller payments that would be more manageable. Griswold iterated that their needs to be a separation of the academic vs financial implications for a student, in that they should be able to complete a current semester, but not permitted to continue further, or obtain an official transcript needed to transfer to another institution. Jake Springer shared that it is a common student perception that PSU appears to pale in relation to other universities in meeting student’s financial needs. Presently Griswold and Kunes are actively working in the Office of Financial Aid on the assessment of the overall typical level of student financial need, university-wide.
Student Academic Recovery (Legislative, Draft). Brief discussion was made concerning the change of the maximum allowable number of attempts to succeed at any one course. It was questioned if attempts made by students who utilize a regular drop at the beginning of the semester, a late drop prior to the end of the twelfth week are counted toward the limits. It was agreed that student advising and counseling should be a key factor in determining a best remedy.
High School Nondegree Report (Informational, Final) Brigger provided background for this annual report, indicating that students are eligible to take non-degree courses at local PSU campuses while in high school. The program has in the past demonstrated the capability of generating a high yield of students who ultimately enroll at PSU as undergraduates. In 2009, there were significant grant monies provided by the state for this program and yield was quite high. Since the funding level for these state grants has been depleted, there has been a significant decline in the number of students taking advantage. The report was unanimously approved for Senate Council submission. (Afterwards, Brigger offered, “Should students be able to take these courses for free in summer?”)
Due to insufficient time, discussion on Alignment of Major and General Education Program Years was postponed.
The meeting was adjourned at 10:43 AM.
January 23, 2018
Clark Brigger, Victoria Braithwaite, Wei-fan Chen, Anna Griswold, Harold Hayford, James Jaap, Robert Kubat, Jake Springer, Shuang Shen, Maura Shea, Darryl Thomas, Mary Beth Williams.
Steven Andelin, Douglas Wolfe.
Chair Mary Beth Williams provided announcements from the Officers and Chairs Meeting. Williams predicted 1) the Revision of AC-21 Definition of Academic Ranks – Provision of
Multi-Year Contracts 12/03/17 advisory/consultative report from the senate committees on Faculty Affairs and Intra-University Relations was only accepted in-part by President Barron, based on possible budgetary concerns, and 2) the ARSSA informational report, Update on LionPATH Implementation, would likely generate much discussion, possibly spirited, at today’s plenary meeting. Williams provided an update on the committee’s mid-year planning report.
Approval of Minutes
The minutes of the December 5, 2017 meeting were approved, with a minor correction that committee member Maura Shea was incorrectly recorded as absent.
Mandated Report on Senate Scholarships (Draft Report) – There was discussion concerning the World Campus status in specifying the number of Penn State campuses as 19 vs. 18. Historically, the report has utilized World Campus as a separate campus in recording the percentage of university enrollment by the campus, but several committee members maintain that there are compelling factors that maintain the World Campus is more of a Delivery Unit than a true campus. Since there was no way to resolve this question without more data to consider, it was recommended that this determination become a discussion item for the 2018-18 ARSSA committee. The committee unanimously voted to approve and send the current version of the report to Senate Council for inclusion on the March senate agenda.
The committee received updates from on potential joint SCUE/ARSSA reports. The report on Aligning General Education and Program Year will be a legislative report initially written by SCUE and forwarded to ARSSA for sponsorship consideration (initially, ARSSA committee discussion did not find rationale making this a compelling issue). In addition, there is a planned joint subcommittee report with SCUE on student recovery relating to the policy on academic suspension (54-00).
The committee received updates on the LionPATH capability for prerequisite checking. At present, it has been determined that there are issues in LionPATH programmed ability to distinguish between pre-requisites and courses that have program control status. Prerequisite checking is planned for all mathematics courses for Fall 2018.
Due to time limitations, the issue student loan debt patterns was not discussed.
The meeting was adjourned at 10:39AM
December 5, 2017
Members Present: Clark Brigger, Harold Hayford, James Jaap, Robert Kubat, Jake Springer, Mary Beth Williams, Douglas Wolfe.
Members Absent: Steven Andelin, Victoria Braithwaite, Wei-fan Chen, Anna Griswold, Shuang Shen, Maura Shea, Darryl Thomas.
Guests: Robert Pangborn, David Smith, Stephanie Szakal.
Approval of Minutes
The minutes of the October 17, 2017 meeting were approved.
Chair Mary Beth Williams provided announcements from the Officers and Chairs Meeting.
- Update on LionPATH (draft report). David Smith, Leader, LionPATH Governance team and Stephanie Szakal, Director, LionPATH Development and Maintenance Organization (LDMO) provided a preview of the presentation for the Update on LionPATH report to be presented during the January plenary meeting of the senate. The report provides a historical overview on the initial implementation of LionPATH and the creation of the LionPATH Governance Team and LDMO after the completion of the first LionPATH project in January 2017. The report includes a prioritized list of the most problematic and time-consuming processes for LionPATH. The list was created in response to a survey sent to colleges and functional units at the request of the university Provost in September 2017 and is included as a report appendix. The report also includes extensive documentation of the workflow and structure of the governance and LDMO groups.Much of the discussion centered on the planned update/upgrade scheduled for a discrete period of April through July 2019. The planned update focuses on changing/improving processes and interfaces, and will be visible to staff as well as students. The upgrade will be done as a parallel process to real-time operations (which will continue using the present version of the program), thereby creating less disruptions of day-to-day university operations that rely on LionPATH. There will be a moratorium on new development of applications for the period immediately prior to, as well as during the upgrade period. This will allow the update to focus primarily on the Oracle programming upgrade to the software. One committee member inquired about costs associated with LionPATH. It was determined that the original LionPATH implementation cost approximately $63M + additional costs for various upgrades. The planned upgrade/update will be relatively minor involving 1 FTE for a developer and 6-8 weeks for implementation of the update. The original LionPATH training materials have reached end-of-life and will need to be replaced. Committee members requested that the presenters provide senators with an actual breakdown of all associated LionPATH costs as much as feasibly possible when the report is presented.
- Reserved Spaces Annual Report. Robert Pangborn provided the committee with a historical overview on situations which necessitate the need to provide some reserved spaces at university park for undergraduate students who need to be enrolled at University Park but initially gain admission at another location. Some causative factors being students who fall short of required admission criteria such as SAT scores, SI/EI predictors, high school grades, one member of a twin being accepted at UP but the other not, etc. The report shows the breakdown of number of reserved spaces utilized based on major categories such as Senate Approved (Arts&Arch Talent, EOP/CAMP, Veterans), Other Academic (ROTC Scholars, Admissions Review Committee), and Administrative (Athletes, Team Sports, Blue Band, Vice President & Dean) both by GPA category and also an annual comparison (Fall 2010 through Fall 2017).
The meeting was adjourned at 10:27AM.
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October 17, 2017
Mary Beth Williams, James Jaap, Steven Andelin, Maura Sheen, Wei Fan-Chen, Douglas Wolfe, Jake Springer, Clark Brigger
Robert Kubat, Anna Griswold, Charles Abdalla, Shuang Shen, Darryl Thomas, Harold Hayford, Victoria Braithwaite
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
The minutes of the September 12, 2017 minutes were approved.
Brief report from Chairs and Officers meeting.
Charge A1, concerning the new university bulletin, was addressed. The committee heard a brief presentation that detailed the vendor, updates, and rollout of a new University Bulletin for Penn State. ARSSA was charged with sponsoring a bill approving the new University Bulletin alongside an informational presentation for Faculty Senate. It was decided that, if passed, Committee Member Kubat would be giving the presentation at the December meeting together with the Bulletin committee chair Alan Rieck. The new interface was discussed as well as the timeline for the rollout, which would be in the 2018-2019 school year. The new bulletin will continually be updated and much more user-friendly. Any interested party is encouraged to experiment with current bulletins by the same vendor, such as the University of California – Berkeley. Will continue to be updated, as the Bulletin should currently be. The motion to put it to the floor was approved.
Charge A2, requested by ACUE, was the alignment of Faculty Senate policy 83-80 (2), (3) and 58-50 (1). 83-80 applies to whenever a person hits 60 credits, and states that the last 60 credits of a graduate’s degree must have been earned in the five years previous to graduation. The proposed change is to 58-50 (1), which could newly require any student applying for re-enrollment to the university, not a specific program, to have been a student within the past five years. It was discussed whether academic programs truly change within five years, and if any student applying for re-enrollment would still be fit. An example of taking a higher-level mathematics course after five or more years away from lower mathematics courses was presented. The committee did not see inconsistency between the two policies, as many potential problems are by specific college and program, not the university in general which is the focus of 58-50 (1). A motion passed to put the policy under review but signal we are not in favor of only adding the requested line. Chair Williams was charged by the committee to work on edits and sending out successive drafts to the committee for review up to the December meeting.
Charge A3 was to change “provisional” to “conditional student” in Faculty Senate policies 02-50 and 12-00. It was made known that Lionpath required this to be changed to “DUS with conditions”. A provisional student is one that may have been admitted without the traditional qualifications. The committee recognized that there are many policies that use “provisional” which must also be revised. The question was raised as to whether this sort of task should this be under the role of an office or a committee? Another question was raised as to any Federal Aid legislation mentioning provisional students and conditional students. Chair Williams was requested to attain any federal language concerning provisional and conditional to make sure there would be no problems. “DUS Students with Conditions” vs “Conditional students”. Chair Williams was also charged with finding where provisional is in the legislation, and making the changes without showing all specific policies to the committee in the hopes of saving time.
Charge A4 was to discuss Faculty Senate Policy 82-20 concerning General Education requirements and major requirements are made when that student enters the major. This policy makes general education, which are also entrance to major requirements, fluid for current students attempting entrance into a program. Discussion concerning certain colleges began, such as the College of Education’s specific situation with state certification requirements. Committee member Shea mentioned how the College of Communications previously “grandfathered” students into the program when they changed the Entrance to Major requirements, and did not institute them until a new class had entered the university. Discussion was also had as to whether this is a large problem and if it should just be waived by deans in a case-by-case basis. Benchmarked schools are mixed, largely on the side of fluid general education requirements. Questions were raised as to if any student has been denied due to this issue, and what kind of changes have been made in colleges throughout the year. Questions concerning the possibility for other campuses to offer these changed courses in such short notice were also raised. The committee was split on the pros and cons. Two other committees (Committee on Curricular Affairs, Committee on Undergraduate Education) are looking at it. ARSSA was tasked with summarizing our discussion and having the other two committees look at it.
The meeting was adjourned at 10:46 a.m.
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September 12, 2017
Members Present: Steven Andelin, Victoria Braithwaite, Clark Brigger, Wei-fan Chen, Anna Griswold, Harold Hayford, James Jaap, Robert Kubat, Maura Shea, Jake Springer, Mary Beth Williams, Douglas Wolfe
Members Absent: Shuang Shen, Darryl Thomas
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
The minutes of the April 25, 2017 minutes were approved.
Chair Mary Beth Williams welcomed everyone to the committee and members introduced themselves.
The committee discussed committee charges for the 2017-18 Academic Year. Charge A1 is a recommendation coming from ACUE requesting that the committee consider the alignment of general education and major requirements with the year the student enters the university. The recommendation is in response to consequences from the implementation of LionPATH. Students now can request entrance to major at a point when they satisfy all the requirements for a chosen major, and this can vary among students. Problems have arisen concerning majors with enrollment controls and majors that have undergone recent curricular changes. At present, if a program has undergone enrollment control changes or curricular changes, students cannot be grandfathered into an older version of the major since the student had not completed the entrance to major process. Academic planning for students enrolled in DUS may become rather complex for students wishing to enroll in majors with enrollment controls. Chair Williams will pull discussion on this item from ongoing ACUE meetings and it was agreed that this issue should remain at the top of the committee charge list.
Committee charge A2 is a request to prepare an informational report entitled “Progress Report on LionPATH.” The report should highlight areas of improvement, as well as issues of ongoing concern. Clark Brigger reminded the committee that there exists an Office of LionPATH Development and Maintenance (LPDM) which is housed under the Office of the University Registrar. He suggested that the report be prepared in part by that office. In order to lend credibility to the endeavor, Robert Kubat suggested that this report be a shared venture by a joint group consisting of members of the LPDM and also personnel from a governance committee under Senior Vice President David Grey of the University Office of Finance and Business.
Committee charge A3 concerns a committee review of all senate policies and removal of any references to e-Lion or ISIS. Chair Williams performed a search of senate policies and found only one reference (in 48-39.) In this instance, it was proposed that the removal of the clause making reference to e-Lion was sufficient for revision and the committee concurred. The committee decided that policies found in subsequent searches could be remediated and voted on by email. The committee will prepare a legislative report on these affected policies and include references to LionPATH where appropriate.
Policy 54-40 on academic suspension is under consideration again this year (charge A4.) There is concern with the need for consideration of whether an exception may be granted by permitting the dean of the college to waive one term of suspension when warranted. In addition, there are issues related to the timing of grade reporting that affect when the students at risk of having their GPA fall below 2.0 to officially become “suspended”. In some cases, semesters may pass before the affected students are even made aware that they are suspended. The assignment of NG (no grade) or DF (deferred grade) pose additional problems affecting the status of student at risk of suspension. It was also revealed that there is no actual senate policy that advises on the timeframe for submission of student grades by faculty (AAPPM policy G-1 specifies procedures for grade reporting.) It was proposed that ARSSA consider 1) drafting an advisory policy on the timeframe for grade submissions, and 2) the formation of a subcommittee to examine the academic suspension issue. It was recommended that David Smith, Associate Dean for Advising and Executive Director of DUS be invited as a resource person. Chair Williams will send an email soliciting names of those wishing to serve on this subcommittee.
Charge A5, concerns the issue of students petitioning for retroactive registration in a course. The committee is planning to jointly draft legislation with the Committee on Undergraduate Education that would place limitations on the number of classes and/or semesters for which a student can make such a petition. There are numerous liability considerations relating to the practice of students not officially registering or auditing a course, but just physically attending the class. These include risks related to disease exposure, fire safety, classroom space, etc.
Due to lack of time, committee charges A6 (freshman grade forgiveness policy under 47-80) and A7 (revisions to 02-50 concerning degree-seeking provisional students) were deferred until the October meeting of the standing committee, as was an additional request to look at 58-50 (Conditions for Re-enrollment as a Degree Seeking Candidate) to align with 83-80 (Limitations on Source and Time for Credit Acquisition). The committee briefly discussed the timeline and point persons for the committee’s four mandated reports.
The meeting was adjourned at 10:33AM.