CWU Hacks

What some students don’t know, can definitely hurt them

Summer session sign outside of Randall Hall.

Summer session sign outside of Randall Hall.

There’s a reason that University 101 exists, and it isn’t just to torture freshmen. Unless they skipped a grade or two, college students are adults and are expected to act as such. This can come as a bit of a culture shock after the hand-holding and rigid structure of high school.

Sarah Swager, dean of student success, described University 101 classes and mandatory orientations as tools that the university uses to inform students of policies on campus.

“We want you to do well, we want to help you do well,” Swager said. “I’m sure that students sometimes love [University 101] and sometimes don’t, and I get that, but part of what University 101 is about, is helping students learn the ropes.”

Despite the tedium, University 101 classes are designed to provide students with important information regarding the rules and policies that they’ll be expected to follow for the next four years of their life.

But… they may not include all of the information.

Listed below are 8 things that CWU students typically aren’t aware of. I’ve compiled this list partially out of personally experience, partially by speaking with my fellow students, but mostly by doing thorough research on campus.

1. Want to save time and waste money?

Ever thought about taking summer classes to speed up graduating? You should know you’re also probably speeding your way into more debt.

Summer session sign outside of Randall Hall.
Summer session sign outside of Randall Hall.

According to the numbers provided on the registrar’s website, summer tuition and fees are 3.24* percent more expensive at 10 credits than 10 credits during the rest of the academic year. However, if a student were to take 18 credits, typically the maximum number of credits a student can take during the academic year, during summer session, they would be paying 43.66* percent more for those credits.

During the academic year, students pay the same amount in tuition whether they’re taking 10 credits or 18 credits. Anything below or over that is calculated separately.

However, during summer session, students are charged $264.70 per credit.

“Summer Session is run differently that the regular academic year; the provost is the principal administrator working through the office of continuing education,” Spodobalski-Brower said. “The office of continuing education prepares and submits summer session budget in early fall quarter, which includes summer tuition.  The final approval for all funding is made by the Board of Trustees.”

2. You pay for the recreation center, even if you don’t use it

The recreation center in the SURC, with its weight rooms, indoor track and rock wall, is pretty impressive. It’s also pretty expensive.

Each quarter, $102 is tacked onto your tuition in order to pay for it, whether you use the facility or not.

Rec Center Membership fees for the 2016-17 academic year.
Rec Center Membership fees for the 2016-17 academic year.

For students on campus who have not, and do not plan on using the rec center, the knowledge that they’re still paying for it is often a nasty surprise.

“I feel like it’s unnecessary to charge all students for the rec center when they aren’t using it,” said Jessica Galster, senior early childhood education major. “I think those who use it should pay a fee, similar to a parking pass.”

However, should you decide that you have a better use for $102, you can fill out some paperwork and attempt to have your fee waived.

According to Rusty Vineyard, director of the recreation center, waiver forms can be picked up in the office of student success on the second floor of Bouillon Hall.

“We have a student rec advisory council… and those [waiver forms] go before that student council. They review all the waivers, and based on the revised codes of Washington, and or the Washington administrative codes, they make the decision… if they are going to carry forward the fee or waiver,” Vineyard said.

However, don’t expect to have your fee waived just because you don’t plan to use the rec center. According to Vineyard, waivers are generally only granted when a student can prove that they do not have sufficient access to the rec center, such as when they live out of town or only take online classes.

The CWU website has information on how to attempt to have this, and other fees, waived.

3. Double dipping can keep you from graduating

So, you’ve finally decided on a major and a minor, and even better, you can double dip classes between them to fulfill multiple requirements and save time and money?

That may not be the smartest idea, however.

According to the registrar’s website, students are required to have taken and passed 180 credits worth of classes to graduate.

Karen Malella, from degree checkout, said students often find themselves nearing their assumed graduation date with less than 180 credits due to using classes to fulfill multiple requirements.

Scott Carlton said that sometimes students use the same class to fulfill requirements for a major, a minor, and even a second major, but the credits are only counted once for the overall 180 credit requirement.

To combat this, “Some departments have rules about [students] double dip,” Carlton said.

4. CWU’s B.A. language requirement is more flexible than you might think

Most people on campus believe that you are required to take one full year of a world language at the college level, or two years at the high school level, of a single language in order to fulfill the language requirement for a B.A..

Most people are wrong.

Despite what it says on the registrar’s website, according to Karen Malella, a credentials evaluator for the College of Arts and Humanities, if you petition the registrar, you can use up to three different language 151 classes to fulfill the requirement.

“There are other avenues to go,” Malella said. “It just has to be petitioned to the registrar.”

Rose Spodobalski-Brower, associate registrar, said that petitions are considered on a case by case basis.

“Any exception to [the language] policy requires a petition,” Spodobalski-Brower said. “Any exception to requirements in general education, major or minors has had committee and/or dean approval to make it an exception for all students.”

As someone who is taking advantage of this work around, I can say that it would have saved me time, money, and most importantly, a fair bit of my sanity had I known about it sooner.

When I did find out about it, I’d already wasted several hundred dollars on tuition and lost valuable time I could have used on another class.

5. You can’t just pick a major, it has to pick you too

One of the hardest things to do for students is picking a major. Or, picking another major after they decide their first one wasn’t for them.

Regardless, deciding what to get a degree in isn’t easy, especially since you also have to consider whether you’ll even be accepted into the program.

At CWU, most majors have some sort of pre-requisite, from writing exams to entry classes to essays.

“If [majors] have a requirement, there’s a reason for it,” said Scott Carlton, director of advising at CWU.

Jessie Rosenow, a junior psychology major, had previously attempted to enter the environmental studies major. However, the requirements eventually led to her switching her major.

“The classes [the environmental studies major] required did not work together in the schedule I tried to build,” Rosenow said. “It was very stressful at the time so I decided to change my major because I knew it was only becoming a vicious cycle of stress.”

According to Carlton, pre-requisites are designed to not only make sure a student will be able to succeed in the major, but to also give students a taste of what their future major will have in store for them.

More information about majors and their pre-requisites can be found here.

6. Deadlines, deadlines, deadlines

Have you ever woken up and felt like you’ve forgotten something? Me too.

The life of a college student is full of endless deadlines. Deadlines for financial aid, deadlines for housing, deadlines for dropping classes etc.

According to Brianne Kreppein, an enrollment assistant from the registrar, students frequently miss deadlines when trying to drop or add classes. However, most information regarding these deadlines can be found online.

“Look at the calendar,” Kreppein said, referring to the quarterly, finals, and yearly academic calendars that can be found here, on the registrar’s website.

Financial aid deadlines can be found here, on the CWU website. Important dates include the CWU general scholarship application for following academic year due on Feb. 1, and the FAFSA priority deadline on March 15.

“Financial aid doesn’t advertise the deadline,” said Haley Curl, senior digital journalism major. “The scholarship application deadline in February is way earlier than what I would have expected.”

Another deadline students frequently miss is applying for graduation. According to the 2016-17 academic calendar, June 30 is the deadlines to apply for graduation in for Fall 2016.

Withdrawal and graduation deadlines for Fall 2016.
Withdrawal and graduation deadlines for Fall 2016.

If you can’t do the math, that’s nearly three full months before the quarter even starts. The deadlines for following quarters are similar, with Winter 2017 graduation applications due on Sept. 30, and Spring 2017 applications due at the beginning of January.

7. Working on campus

Money doesn’t usually buy happiness, but it certainly buys food, clothing, and toiletries, all of which are pretty essential for the average college student.

For many students, a job on campus is used to help support themselves and supplement whatever refunds they get from grants, loans, or (if they’re lucky) their parents.

However, whether you’re wiping tables in the SURC or working as an office assistant in a dean’s office, there are a few basic rules all student employees must follow.

One of the most important, and often overlooked, rules relates to the number of hours a student can work.

“If you’re a full time student, you can work 19* hours a week, and once your last final is over, on a break, you can work 40 hours a week,” Kathy Johnson, an HR partner who oversees student employment at CWU, said. “You have to have ‘student status,’ is what we call it.”

8. The number of hours a non-work study student employee can work was recently extended to 20 hours a week, according to this press release from the office of student employment.

However, if a student drops below 12 credits, which is the minimum to be considered full time, the hours you’re allowed to work drop down to 15. If you drop below six credits, you aren’t considered to have ‘student status’ and are ineligible to work.

“The less you’re going to school, the less hours you can work,” Johnson said.

According to Johnson, these policies are based upon Washington Administrative Codes for work study, and no exceptions are made.

However, students can be hired by departments on campus as temporary employees if they are unable to work as student employees.

“Sometimes students are great employees, and [the department] doesn’t want to lose you,” Johnson said. “What you can do to keep that student is turn them into a temp employee.”