Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Rackham delays reinstatement fee in continuous enrollment policy

The Rackham School of Graduate Studies will suspend for the 2010-11 academic year a reinstatement fee for former students who return to their doctoral studies. The fee had been planned as part of a new continuous enrollment policy.

Rackham Dean Janet Weiss said Monday the fee would be put on hold for another year to give Rackham time to better evaluate the appropriate level of the fee.

“We have heard the concern expressed by faculty and students who questioned the need for a reinstatement fee,” Weiss said. “We are taking this feedback seriously.”

After reviewing the experience of the 2010-11 academic year, which will be the first year the policy will be in effect, Weiss said that Rackham would be able to set an appropriate reinstatement fee.

“It remains important that the policies in place with continuous enrollment encourage student registration, discourage casual discontinuation and reinstatement, and provide no incentive for a program to favor a short-term financial gain from a student’s discontinuation over enabling students to be continuously enrolled with tuition support,” the dean said.  

Provost Teresa Sullivan, who approved the fee suspension, mentioned it Monday in response to a question asked during her visit to the Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs. Later SACUA unanimously approved a resolution endorsing a reinstatement fee of no more than $100.

The plan had been to set the reinstatement fee at 25 percent of the cost of tuition for each missed semester, up to a limit of eight semesters.

Sullivan told SACUA that the Board of Regents will be asked to approve a reduction in Ph.D. candidate tuition at their June meeting; the tuition reduction will make the continuous enrollment policy revenue neutral.

The policy is designed to help doctoral students make steady progress toward their degrees. After the policy becomes effective this fall, Ph.D. students will register each fall and winter semester from the beginning of their programs until they graduate, with exceptions for students on approved leaves of absence.

To better understand individual circumstances, Weiss said Rackham would document the circumstances of each student who discontinues doctoral study in the coming year.  Rackham also will survey all discontinued students to learn more about their experiences in their programs and their reasons for leaving.