by Amory Thomas / Editor in Chief
At the start of this semester, Salem State University implemented the “1 + 2 = KEY” policy, which made it much more difficult for all students coming back to campus. The new policy meant that students had to complete two requests by the school before starting classes. The first one made sure your medical papers and shots are all up to date, and the second included settling your student bill.
Of the two, the latter seemed to be the most problematic among students (as expected),
which made coming to campus not only a hassle to some, but downright impossible to others.
For the past few years here at SSU, I’ve had to use a payment plan in order to pay to go to school.Last year, in particular, I had a very large student bill, that I could only pay small portions of every couple of months, hence, straying from the payment plan. If I didn’t do this, then there was no way I could effectively pay for school on my own.
This year however, thanks to the new move-in policy, I had to have my bill completely settled before moving in, or else I would not be given access to my residence hall. Luckily, I was given very good financial aid this year and was able to pay it on the spot.
But what about all those who weren’t so lucky? Those who were excited for classes, but couldn’t come up with the funds for their first payment plan deposit and could not return to school? In putting this new policy in effect, it seems as if SSU is weeding out their students, saying that only those who can afford to come here, can.
In any sense, I think it was completely unfair and ridiculous to implement the “1 + 2 = Key” policy. Just because some students struggle with paying for school doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be allowed to move in, especially after paying the $375 housing deposit the previous semester.
Students should also not be faulted for not having their medical records up to date. Even though it is important to keep on track of your health, it can take weeks or months for someone to be able to get an appointment with their doctors, or even have to reduce to using the school’s health center (which they wouldn’t be able to do, if they aren’t allowed back on campus).
Worst of all, was the way the school treated the students who didn’t settle their bills on time. I was called multiple times, told to call back, with no one responding to me. I had a scholarship that was not to be processed until after the add/drop period at school, which was two weeks after move-in day. After battling with financial services on the phone for days, getting multiple emails and no responses back, and being treated like an ignorant child on the phone from a frustrated Navigation Center employee, I was finally in the clear to be able to move in.
Just because you have problems settling account or have difficulties getting into the ever-packed doctor’s office, doesn’t mean the school has the right to deny you of your education or living space.
Often times, it’s confusion on the school’s end, or processing time on the payment plan service’s end, or whatever situations such as mine which arise, which made this whole process that much more insufferable.
So you’d think SSU would take into account the $400 for a resident parking pass, hundreds of dollars for textbooks, $6,500 for tuition (not including the obscure ‘University Fees’), $8,000+ for living expenses, $2,500 for health insurance, and countless other expenses, that we may need a little wiggle room to pay our tuition. Tuition is not a priority, our livelihood is the main priority. By having this policy, SSU is sending the wrong message.