Grace Kitayama is a journalism sophomore and Mustang News columnist. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of Mustang News.
Priority registration is granted to resident advisors, students in the Honors Program, athletes and Polyreps because their programs require specific scheduling in advance. However, a group that is excluded from early access to classes are students who require Federal Work-Study (FWS).
Priority registration is granted by the university’s president by recommendation of the Registration and Scheduling Committee, according to Cal Poly’s Academic Programs and Planning website. I urge the Committee to consider recommending that FWS students be granted priority registration when signing up for classes.
It costs the Cal Poly Corporation only 25 percent of the cost of hiring a non-FWS student, according to the Federal Work-Study Procedures webpage. If the university is advertising how much money they can save by hiring FWS students, they should help the students remain students in any way possible.
Environmental management junior Lauren Moore has two jobs in addition to being a full-time student and said that registering early allows her more time to plan out her quarter with her bosses.
“I’ve registered early and I’ve registered late before and it’s honestly always helped me to be able to [have] the time to meet my boss and discuss important matters so I’m not stressed about getting fired,” Moore said. “‘Cause if I get fired and I’m not able to make these hours, I won’t be here next year.”
Cal Poly is a heavily impacted school. It is common that students do not get into the classes they shoot for, especially freshmen and sophomores because there are simply too many students trying to get into the classes. This results in students taking fewer classes per quarter, thus delaying their graduation or taking classes that sacrifice other commitments such as work and clubs.
Liberal arts and engineering studies sophomore Jackie Jacobson is struggling to find classes that she can take and will accommodate her schedule.
“A lot of the shifts that you need have to be at least like four hours or like three hours at least and sometimes I don’t have those blocks of time,” Jacobson said.
If students cannot use all the hours allotted for FWS, they lose the money that is given to them by FAFSA and it is given to another student who qualifies for FWS. This is why Jacobson worries about fitting enough hours of the week into her schedule for FWS along with the rest of her classes.
Computer science junior Alex Ramirez struggles by having a heavily impacted major in addition to having to do FWS.
“I feel like if I have to work extra hard to go to school, [I] should at least get the classes that I need,” Ramirez said.
Ramirez recalls his freshman year, losing hours of sleep due to having to balance FWS as well as his classes and homework.
“I would go to class and then work and then I wouldn’t sleep until like 3 a.m. doing homework or whatever I wanted to do and that definitely messed up my sleep cycle. I think that just overall made it much more difficult my first year,” Ramirez said.
College is stressful. Paying for college is stressful. Registering for classes is stressful. Giving students on FWS priority registration costs the university nothing, and can make a major difference in a student’s quarter. Students already working for Cal Poly in order to go here should not be forced to choose between losing sleep, or attending classes when also trying to figure out how to fit enough hours of work into their schedule. It is blatantly exploitative to not assist the students on FWS with priority registration — especially since the work they are doing benefits the very university that is preventing them from being both good employees and students. It is not only fair but logical that the university does everything in its power to keep those working for the Cal Poly Corporation enrolled as students.
“Just do it,” Moore said. “We’re such a small tiny portion of the population. It will help so much.”