Bursar holds affect advance registration

By Gus Bode

Victoria Valle said having a 3.5 grade point average, scoring a 24 on the ACT and graduating in the top 50 percent of a high school class would get a student into SIUC.

But the number that matters most is the one on the bursar bill, Valle said. Balances of $500 or more will prevent a student from enrolling in the next semester.

Valle, assistant vice chancellor for enrollment management, said she has been meeting with students who have a bursar hold on enrolling for next semester in hopes of finding a way to keep the student at the university.


The university is hoping bursar holds are part of the reason for a 3.4 percent decline in advance registration that was documented Dec. 1, Valle said.

By Dec. 1 of last year, 13,982 students had already registered for the spring semester, which is 479 more than the 13,503 students that had registered by Monday.

Valle said the university needs to help its students get through tough economic situations and cannot afford to lose so many quality people.

‘Students struggle to pay for everything and it is tough right now with finals and all the stress they are going through,’ Valle said. ‘This office isn’t going to close until Christmas Eve and we are going to help students find a way to get back to school next semester.’

The class most affected by the decline is the junior class, which lost 308 students compared to last year. Valle said that would be expected since it would reflect 350 less juniors in the fall, though she is optimistic the number will not be as high when the spring semester officially starts.

One way to make sure the number goes down is through the 25 new jobs the university is hoping to create for students, Valle said. She said the new jobs would be located in admissions and enrollment or within the student’s major so everyone benefits.

‘I just helped a student today who couldn’t find a job and was struggling with her bursar bill,’ Valle said. ‘We got her set up with a job and worked out a deal with her parents and she will be back.’


Gary Kolb, dean for the College of Mass Communication and Media Arts, said his department is doing their best to get as many students to return as possible.

Kolb said the college could have a decline of at least 5.4 percent, but his staff has already started to call the 240 students who are eligible to enroll but have yet to do so.

He said so far 85 students have said they are on bursar hold and 65 of those said the reason was financial trouble.

‘A lot of the problem is financial right now with students, but we also have more December graduations than usual,’ Kolb said. ‘I am still confident we can turn this around, but it is going to take some time. We are doing everything we can.’

Some of the colleges are already showing an end to declining enrollment could be coming.

Dennis Cradit, dean for the College of Business and Administration, said the college is down 4.3 percent compared to advanced registration last year – the result of a decline in enrollment two years ago.

He said while the junior and senior classes are down, the freshman class is up 15.2 percent and the sophomore class 8.1 percent. He said the trends the past two years are promising.

‘We are not seeing as many juniors and seniors as last year because they don’t exist,’ Cradit said. ‘But the recent trend looks good and I think we will see results in a year or two.’

The College of Education and Human Services is not immune to the decline either, though it recorded a decline of 44 students, or roughly 2 percent, Kenneth Teitelbaum said.

Teitelbaum, dean for the College of Education and Human Services, said the college has worked to keep students in a variety of ways.

The college has reconstructed its Web site, offered more off-campus programs, built up its advisement department and worked programs into the national rankings, Teitelbaum said.

He said the college is also working with one of its new professors from Thailand to find ways to attract international students.

The biggest battle for the college now is in the job market.

‘When people read teaching jobs are being cut, that effects us,’ Teitelbaum said.’ ‘We need to do a better job of marketing to students and meeting their needs to stop the problem.’

Jeff Engelhardt can be reached at

536-3311 ext. 268 or [email protected]