By Kaylee Lindenmuth
Despite a Thursday, Feb. 8 deadline for professors to submit attendance reports, KU students received emails on Tuesday, Feb. 6, showing their class attendance status had not been verified in at least one course, potentially jeopardizing their financial aid.
The attendance verification policy was put in place in the Spring 2017 semester, to bring the university into compliance with federal law. The law requires all institutions of higher education to verify student attendance, or face a fine. In an email to faculty, university registrar Ted Witryk stated that each student’s attendance has to be verified for every course in which they are enrolled in order to receive financial aid.
“I got an email for two of my classes that said my attendance wasn’t verified, when I did go, and did attend, and did sign in,” said sophomore Alexis Dongvort. “One of my professors told us in an email that it was a mess up, and it was incorrect and to disregard the previous email.”
The emails caused several students to email professors out of concern, as the email suggested students do.
“Several students have emailed me concerned that I had not verified their attendance. I verified attendance in all my classes last week,” Professor Patricia Derr said in an email to her History 025 classes Wednesday. “EVERYONE on all my class lists was verified. I don’t know what is going on, but this is an administrative problem.”
Professor Derek Mace also sent out an email to students, reading in part, “your professors are inputting your attendance, giving you multiple chances to make the class roster throughout this past week. That input will be done on the eighth.”
On Wednesday, Feb. 7 at 6:00 a.m., an email was distributed to students by Director of Financial Aid Services Bernard McCree reading “you may have received an email showing verified and non-verified classes indicating your attendance. Please be reminded faculty have until 3 pm Thursday, February 8th to confirm your attendance, and I ask your patience in giving them time to complete the attendance verification process.”
A request for comment sent to University Registrar Ted Witryk was deferred to McCree, who was unavailable for an interview but clarified the situation via email.
“In an effort to assist many of our students, who are looking for their refunds, Financial Aid Services sent out the email to students showing verified and not verified courses prematurely on Tuesday. I regret the inconvenience this caused.” McCree said. “Our motive was simply to get funds into the hands of many of our students who are waiting for those monies to pay rent, buy books and provide for other expenses concerning their welfare. We realized that the communication caused confusion.”
Attendance verifications were sent out once again on Friday, Feb. 9, showing the updated attendance reports.