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Online registration successful at College

Justin Tardiff | Wednesday, January 19, 2005

LeMans Hall’s Stapleton Lounge sat dark and empty Jan. 11, where students once lined to officially reaffirm their presences at Saint Mary’s College.For the second consecutive semester, students were asked to enroll and update addresses through the same secure online program – PRISM – also used to access course grades and financial aid information.Saint Mary’s College Registrar Lorraine Kitchner said the switch to online enrollment was a move toward greater student convenience.”Students can register any time, from any computer,” she said.Provided students enroll within the given one-week time frame, they don’t have to be present on campus to proclaim their attendance. For some, this meant an extended break – if only for a day. “I logged on from home this year and was able to come Monday night instead of Sunday,” said Emily Griesemer, a Saint Mary’s sophomore.Whereas the previous system asked students to appear in Stapleton during a specific 15-minute window, according to students’ last names, PRISM enrollment has no such alphabetic requirements.”This system relieves the urgency to get there within a specified time period,” Kitchner said. “We wanted to make it easier on students.”The increased convenience, though, has not affected the number of students who miss the deadline, but Kitchner remains optimistic.”We have always had to track students down anyway,” Kitchner said.This year, many of those who experienced problems had misplaced their PIN numbers to access the PRISM system. As with the prior enrollment method, timely completion is vital for students’ recognition with the National Student Clearinghouse for loan deferment. To protect students, encourage cooperation and aid the Registrar’s office, penalties will be charged to late enrollers. “After Jan. 19, a student will be assessed $25 fee and dropped from all classes until she enrolls in person,” Kitchner said. “Waiting too long to enroll risks students’ standing with loans.”Meanwhile, students like Saint Mary’s junior Jen Hanlon will continue to enjoy the new freedoms online enrollment can bring.”This past semester it actually allowed me to go down to Indiana University to visit a friend for her birthday and not have to be back until Monday,” Hanlon said.