Silver City, NM- Last Thursday, numerous WNMU students received emails in their Mustang Express inboxes reminding them of the financial risks of withdrawing from a semester. The email was sent out specifically to students who are receiving federal aid, and informed them that a student must complete and participate at least 60% of their courses, or else they would owe a portion of their aid back to the University, Federal Student Aid, or both. For the Spring 2018 semester, the 60% point would be March 29.
The email was sent to students by Cheryl Haine, the Director of Financial Aid, in hopes of retaining students and combating the idea that a student can stop attending class in the middle of the semester. Haine explained that students can be left with a huge balance if withdrawing before completing 60% of their courses, and revealed that at least 120-150 students had been left with balances averaging around $3,000 to $4,000. Students that are billed are unable to return to college until the balance has been paid in full, which is why Haine stresses the importance of staying in class.
The email from the Financial Aid office was ultimately very effective, with Haine claiming that numerous students had come by her office at a steady pace with questions and concerns. Haine did admit that she needed to tweak the email that she’d sent out, worrying that perhaps the original email came off as a little too fierce. One thing she says she’s considered was having the email open with “Dear Student” as opposed to the system putting in a student’s name and W-number. Director Haine says that she plans to send this notice out to students annually, at least once a semester.
One student, James Lee, who plays defensive end for the Mustang football team, found the email to be a positive notice. During the interview, the Bayard, NM-native stopped by the office to inquire about the email.
“[This] is a motivation for me to continue through this semester,” James said. He also stated that he hasn’t missed a single week of class this semester.
Cheryl Haine and the Office of Financial Aid can be found on the second floor of the WNMU Juan Chacon Building.
EDIT: The Office of Financial Aid can be found on the second floor of the WNMU Juan Chacon building. The article originally stated it was on the first.