Student Academic and Financial Affairs Committee (SAFAC)

2009-2010 Annual Report

Compiled by

Augustine O. Esogbue (ISYE, Chair)

 

Committee: Susan Burns (CEE), Christophe Ippolito (Modern Languages), Augustine Esogbue (ISYE, CHAIR), Mo Li (MSE), Craig Tovey (ISYE), Reta Pikowsky (Registrar), Ruperto Perez(Counseling), Robert McEntyre (undergrad student), Tyler Jackson (undergraduate student), Bob Feigenbau (graduate student), Sonit Bafna (architecture/Executive Board Liaison)

 

The Committee met formally seven times during the year in addition to several in between meeting calls and assignments usually in response to urgent requests for feedback to the Registrar on how to handle exceptions. The highlights of tasks performed include:

         Provided periodic feedback on how to handle certain non routine requests for excused absences. Some examples include an excused absence request for a veterinary medicine field trip to Egypt for a biology major; the problem the professor had was a justification for choosing a vet conference in Egypt and at a time that conflicted with a pre-scheduled class. A yet another case involved a request for excused absences for student athletes traveling for a game but departing early outside of a reasonable travel window. There was a need for caution to be exercised in granting such requests to avoid the possibility of an abuse of the policy.

         The Committee examined the possible effects of the financial crises and economic downspin as well as Institute financial resources and policies on students. Presentations by both the Director of Scholarships & Financial Aid and the Dean of Students as well as ensuing discussions revealed that (i) that over the past 4 years, there has been a considerable increase in the cost of a GT undergraduate education (over 21%) for both Georgia resident and non- resident students.(ii) considerable increase in the number of students requesting financial aid due to the economic conditions in the country and a dramatic (126%) rise in the number of students submitting appeals for special consideration and (iii) average loan per year and total annual borrowing increased for both undergraduates and graduate students. Many students form various counties in Georgia have begun to avail themselves of the G. Wayne Clough RISE program for indigent students.(iii) It appears that desperation to succeed and maintain scholarships such as HOPE with its various uncertainties, creates considerable pressure to graduate within 4 years as well as other resultant integrity issues.

         Prodded by a systems integrative mindset, the Committee observed that there is a need for the provision of feedback on student performance to the Admissions Office from the Registrar. This could improve the process with respect to the quality of future matriculates. For example, it may be instructive to investigate the degree to which input requirements of the admission decision process affects the quality of our graduates when this type of feedback is provided from the Registrar.

         The Committee reviewed the SGA inspired submission on the DEAD WEEK policy, made valuable inputs that led to an acceptable revision and provided a resultant endorsement of the policy that was subsequently passed by the Senate.

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Cc: "christophe ippolito" <christophe.ippolito@modlangs.gatech.edu>, "augustine esogbue" <augustine.eso
gbue@isye.gatech.edu