By SHAQ DAVIS
As the spring semester culminates, Pima Community College has given the green light to enroll in Fall 2014 courses.
Registration for fall classes started April 7. Students are encouraged to start looking now for the courses that fit their particular schedules.
Enrolling early gives students the best chance to enroll in programs of interest, fit classes into their schedule and receive the instructor of their choosing.
Student Lance Edwards has already signed up, and believes in registering early.
“It is to make sure you get the classes and instructors you want and the best schedule that fits your needs,” he said.
PCC instructor Erich Saphir feels students should be more involved when registering.
“It is important to meet with advisors early,” he said. “Students should be more proactive meeting with instructors, as faculty can be more proactive in helping students.”
Enrolling early also ensures that students take their desired number of credit hours without entering a class that they may not do well in or enjoy.
“Students really help themselves in meeting their requirements when registering early,” Saphir said. “It is a very good idea.”
Saphir said the college should give students and faculty members a status report if a course is in danger of cancellation.
“A solution the college can do is let those instructors and students know well in advance, at least a week before,” he said.
Student Services Manager Craig Winters said PCC gives students ample time to sign up for classes, enroll in payment plans and receive financial aid.
“The early registration payment deadline is pushed back as far as possible to give students as much time to get their financial aid and their other finances together to pay,” he said.
At the same time, however, he said the deadline has to be close enough to the new semester to ensure that students are committed to taking the classes.
Early student enrollment also helps with planning logistics, Advanced Program Manager Larry Bearden said.
“It helps give an idea, realistically, to see if we have enough money to pay the instructor,” he said.
Winters said many students who attend Pima receive financial assistance.
June 1 is the financial aid priority deadline, and completing all required paperwork by then should ensure aid is received in a timely manner.
If the forms are not finished by June 1, the college cannot guarantee that aid will be delivered by the time the fall semester starts. Students could be dropped from their classes if not enrolled in a payment plan.
Even if financial aid students have to enroll in a plan by paying 10 percent of their total semester cost, their money will be reimbursed once the aid paperwork is finalized.
One potential solution for students to keep up with important deadline dates is to follow PCC on social media.
“Now the college has a Facebook page, where they send updates and reminders to everybody on the most important deadlines,” Winters said. Facebook updates can be found at facebook.com/pimacccd.
Bearden checks the PCC Facebook page regularly and believes the college is getting better at it over time.
“There has been more use with the Facebook page, and the college is embracing social media more,” he said.
The Fall 2014 semester will begin on Aug. 26.