Registration hold turns student’s life upside-down

Stefanie Buhrman

Although most students get a few of the classes they wanted, some don’t get the opportunity to register because of their registration holds. One ISU student’s hold has halted his semester altogether.

When Tommy Hoffman, freshman in pre-business, signed onto AccessPlus to register for classes, he discovered his financial hold.

“After I freaked out about my financial hold and I failed all my classes, I got put on academic probation,” Hoffman said.

This was quite a shock for Hoffman, and it left him feeling anxious and frantic.

“[The amount of money] was a lot,” said Hoffman. “I had a six-week panic attack trying to figure out how I was going to get all that money. Banks had turned me down for loans before. My credit history was only six months long at that point.”

With registration beginning as early as the first part of November for some, finding out about a financial hold can be quite stressful, as a significant portion of the semester is still left.

“So after that looming over all of finals, finances made it hard for me to focus on classes. It wasn’t a surprise when I failed,” Hoffman said.

After finals week, Hoffman had the semester break to figure out what he could do.

“I spent all of break exhausting every option I could find, trying to get some cash,” Hoffman said.

“About a week before we had to get back for class, I finally convinced a family member to co-sign a loan.”

On Jan. 14, the first day of classes, Hoffman’s loan money had not arrived, and he was still not registered for classes.

“I moved back into the dorms. I’ve been sitting in on classes and waiting for my loan to get back to me,” he said.

“I went online and planned out my schedule, and I go to as many classes as I can – which is not as much as I like since I have been making phone calls, writing e-mails, trying to expedite this as much as I can.”

Even after the hard work he put into trying to get himself into classes, things did not get better for Hoffman. On Jan. 29, he received some dire news.

“I received an e-mail that said I had to be out by Friday evening because I wasn’t registered yet. So [on Jan. 30] my loan got here, but for the wrong amount,” Hoffman said. “After four hours of phone calls, I’m working with the bank to resize my loans without having to reapply – and hopefully get registered.”

Hoffman is still in his residence hall and working out the terms of his loan – the Department of Residence extended its ultimatum, recognizing that his financial circumstances are out of his control.

Even after things had started to look up for Hoffman, he still continues to wait for his loan. However, not every hold is such a drastic case. Different types of holds require different actions.

“If there is an advisor hold, I’ve asked you to do something. I need you to come see me. All new students come and see us,” said Ann Coppernoll, academic advisor and program coordinator of undergraduate programs in the College of Business.

Other holds can come from colleges, accounts receivable and loans receivable. Students can also receive holds from various offices around campus, such as the Memorial Union or the Thielen Student Health Center.

A student receiving a hold should take immediate action and find out where to go.

“Students need to ask questions,” Coppernoll said.

“They need to take the initiative. If they have a problem, they need to go to the source.”

Although holds can make students’ lives more difficult, they are meant to be helpful.

“The whole idea is not meant to be punitive,” Coppernoll said. “Maybe you just need better time management. Advisors help you do better – that’s what they are there for.”