Drexel Central released students’ financial aid packages at the end of July for the upcoming 2014-2015 academic year. In response to the changes in their financial aid packets, some students are voicing concerns and blaming the usual suspect: The Drexel Shaft. Though Drexel has sometimes earned its reputation for shafting its students, this is not the case here. Students were informed of the changes to the billing system last fall through detailed messages explaining the effects of the new system. We assume that some students read the emails, but it seems that few took the time to fully digest the content of the message. When the proposed changes went into effect, therefore, many students were left feeling frustrated with the University. In this case, however, we have to reexamine our approach to these changes and acknowledge our lack of attention to information provided by the Drexel administration.
Often when we receive an email from Drexel, it’s all too easy to ignore or delete it right away, disregarding the subject line. Which is exactly what seems to have happened with the transition to the new quarterly billing system. In November 2013, President John A. Fry announced the University would be making the move from annual billing to quarterly billing. The email explained that only full-time undergraduate students would be affected by the change, and they would receive a letter in December detailing their individual financial plans—based off their 2013-2014 financial information–under the new system. (Students’ individual billing plan estimates can be found under the Student tab in DrexelOne.) Drexel Central even set up online webinars for students and parents to gain a better understanding of the new system. Drexel Central also sent an email July 22 to remind students about the quarterly billing changes, explaining how the new system affects students while on co-op and where students can go to review the upcoming changes.
With the new billing system, students are only required to pay tuition for the terms that they take classes, not for the terms they are on co-op. Makes sense, right? Therefore, the amount of money students have to pay for the years they are on co-op is less than before. Also meaning that scholarship and financial aid amounts have been redistributed to reflect this decrease in charges. Since it’s proportional, if you’re paying less tuition, you will receive less aid. Aid will increase for the years students are not on co-op and take three terms of classes.
From what we can tell, the University made a serious effort to inform and prepare students for this change. While we may be slightly frustrated with not understanding how the new system works, or maybe for some of us the math doesn’t seem to add up, we can’t blame the unforgiving Shaft. All of the information was provided with ample time and resources to work through any questions or concerns. We hope this serves as a lesson to Drexel students to at least scan through emails that look relatively important, especially ones related to finances.
For more information on the quarterly billing system or to make an appointment with a Drexel Central representative, visit drexel.edu/drexelcentral or call 215-895-1600.