The campus is abuzz with worry about what some students call the “new” attendance policy. Truth is, the policy itself is not new, JSU’s procedure in relation to the policy is new. So what does that mean for students?
“It has always been a federal regulation; however, the JSU policy needed to be updated to use new available technology,” said Assistant Director of Student Financial Services Stephanie Miller in an email.
“In order for a student to have financial aid applied to his/her account, the student must have begun attendance or have academic engagement in class,” said Miller, “We are, in effect, verifying that students have started the race, not that they have finished the race,” said Director of Academic Enhancement and Tutoring Services Dr. Janet Moore, also in an email.
Attendance will be verified by each professor twice every semester, on the last day to add/drop a class and once more a week later. The first verification date is September 1.
“Individual professors will determine how he or she will verify attendance in these classes,” said Moore.
When it applies to hybrid or online classes, “Attendance is defined as academic engagement in the courses, so this could be a discussion board post, syllabus quiz, or any other online engagement.”
“Simply logging into Blackboard does not count as academic engagement,” Moore clarified.
Students have to attend and participate in order to receive federal aid in a lecture setting.
Departmental or class attendance policies still apply, and this verification process is separate. We are required to verify that students have started each class before disbursing financial aid, said Moore.
If a student’s attendance is not verified by the professor, the students will not receive aid for that class.
Where overcutting a class can result in academic penalty, the federal attendance verification has the ability to reduce the amount of aid a student receives for a class, whether it is for one class or all classes for which a student registered.
If students do not verify attendance, they see a drop in their federal aid, whether it is a loan or a grant. The only way for a student to know his or her aid was reduced is to go to the financial aid portion of MyJSU.
If aid is reduced, there is no way to get it back. After aid is reduced, the student will have to pay the balance.
“If a student drops or withdraws from all classes of receives all failing or no credit grades in all classes, he or she will be required to pay back all or a portion of financial aid at the end of the semester,” said Miller.
Aid will not be expended to the student body until after the second verification date, despite the fact it appears in the students’ accounts beforehand.
”As soon as attendance or academic engagement is verified for each course, that student’s aid will be disbursed,” said Moore, “This does not mean that students aren’t required to continue to attend classes, in fact, students still must abide by the contract they signed to receive the aid.”