Registrar changes registration and billing processes

Meghan Morris

The Office of the Registrar will implement changes for Fall Quarter in the registration and billing processes for undergraduate students.

University Registrar Jaci Casazza said these alterations will streamline registration and billing processes. She said CAESAR, the online portal used by Northwestern students to register for classes, will now be more user-friendly because some of the jargon related to the registration process was removed from the website.

In an email sent to students Wednesday, Casazza wrote that most students will now be able to take as many as 5.5 credits without University approval.

Weinberg students will be able to register for a fifth class online instead of filling out a hard copy add form, Casazza said. Previously, those seeking to take a fifth class in Weinberg needed to get permission from the specific professor or department, get the dean’s signature and take the paper to the Office of the Registrar.

Weinberg sophomore Cassie Zhang said the process to take a fifth class was tedious when she added a political science class to her schedule. She said she will likely take five classes in the future, so this is a welcome change.

“It seemed like an extra step,” she said. “It makes everything clearer and easier, and it feels like the school can trust us.”

Students in other undergraduate schools could register for up to 5.5 credits online, but Weinberg has a GPA requirement for students who want to take extra courses.

“If every other school didn’t have this, why did we?” Zhang said.

Starting in Fall Quarter, students who want to take classes part-time can fill out an online form declaring their intention to do so. Previously, they had to petition the Office of Student Accounts to be billed for part-time coursework instead of full-time status.

“In the past, this never would have happened,” Casazza said. “You would get a bill for full tuition even if you were taking one class.”

Weinberg junior Jai Broome, a former Daily staffer, switched from full-time to part-time status last quarter. He said this change will make the process much easier.

“Dealing with the administration is a bureaucratic process and anything they can do to make it easier is really valuable,” Broome said. “When people are doing this they’re dealing with difficult things in their lives, so not worrying about their standing with the University will only help.”

The other billing change applies to students taking more than a full-time courseload of 5.5 credits in order to graduate early. Before the change, these students would pay for the extra courses when they were graduating rather than during the specific quarter in which they took more classes.

“You could be a senior thinking everything’s fine, that you paid for your full quarters, and then you would get to the end of your time at Northwestern and get this bill for all of the courses you used to accelerate your degree,” Casazza said. “That’s a lousy way to leave the University.”

This change will make it easier for students to plan ahead, even though few students take more than 5.5 credits per quarter, she said.

Bienen School of Music students who must overload during academic quarters with additional performance classes will not incur additional charges.

Casazza said the undergraduate schools coordinated efforts to produce these new rules.

“We’re seeing a lot more collaboration between the undergraduate schools on these policies, and that’s important as students move between these schools and not just transfers,” she said. “It’s nice to have consistent policies across the board.”

In addition to the email sent out Wednesday, Casazza said students will receive an email in the fall reiterating these policies.

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