Cal Poly is embarking on precedented ground when it opens fall registration May 6. It is one of the last schools in the CSU system to make the change to an earlier date which is intended to benefit students by allowing Cal Poly more time to monitor class demand and adjust accordingly.
Traditionally, fall registration began in July, which didn’t allow much time to hire new faculty or open new courses as needed, Provost Robert Koob said.
This change will not affect the due date of tuition; students will still pay on July 27.
“We don’t want students to have to pay (now). We just paid for spring registration, (so if students have to) pay for summer, it would be really intense,” said Associated Students Inc. president Angela Kramer.
Those students taking prerequisites summer quarter shouldn’t have problems registering for their classes as long as they are enrolled in the prerequisite before they register for fall classes, assistant vice provost for systems and resource management Kimi Ikeda said.
An earlier registration date will mean students need to create their schedules sooner, but will have the opportunity to consult with advisors and professors whereas in the past, many students registered from home without these resources.
Planning on which courses to offer for fall is a challenge with the College Based Fees still pending.
“We haven’t scheduled with (cuts) in mind. We have scheduled with what the students need to take,” Ikeda said. “We are actually airing on the side of offering more.”
If Cal Poly’s CBF increase is approved, class styles will still have a high professor-to-student ratio and small class sizes, Koob said. If the fees are not approved, cut backs will occur.
“If the budget comes in and it’s significantly less than we have anticipated or we can’t charge the College Based Fee, then we are going to have to regroup and teach the courses differently,” Ikeda said.
She said the potential changes could mean cutting classes that aren’t high in demand, increasing class sizes and team teaching.
“We are really trying to maintain our commitment to the students but also not go into a deficit,” she said.
An earlier registration will enable the administration to plan more effectively for incoming students, since current students will register before them.
“We will know how many classes and how much extra workspace to provide our first years and our transfer students,” Kramer said. “In addition to that, we will have enough time to rally the money together to be able to pay for it.”
Along with this change comes more emphasis on graduating on time. One way to smooth out the process is to require the new freshman class to have a block schedule their first quarter. Ikeda said incoming freshmen will be enrolled in at least 12 units with the option of taking 16 units.
“The goal in that is to make sure freshmen start off their career here on the right track and take courses that actually meet requirements rather than just filling a schedule,” she said. “It may not be at the time you want it or with the instructor that you want but we will offer the courses.”
After fall quarter there will be a suggested class schedule for the rest of the year.
“We want to demonstrate to the new freshman that yes, you can graduate on time; yes, you can get the classes you need, but it requires you exercising the responsibility of making good choices,” Koob said.