TCU restricting ‘shop and drops’


    Students who “shop and drop” classes has led the registrar to prohibit students from registering for more than 17 hours until the first day of class, university officials said.

    Shop and drop is when students enroll for 18 hours and drop a class the first week of school once they find out if the class is hard, said Patrick Miller, registrar and director of enrollment management.

    “We have rational students who shop and drop classes,” Miller said.

    The restriction, which went into effect last year, has already been criticized by some students.

    Junior Perry Cottrell said he was surprised to learn over winter break that he couldn’t enroll for his money and banking course.

    “When I tried to enroll in the course there were errors saying I couldn’t enroll for more than 17 hours,” said Cottrell, a marketing and entrepreneurial management major. “I then went to the business building to fill out the maximum unit load form, which allows students to enroll for 18 hours or more.”

    Cottrell went back to the business building and administrators said he couldn’t enroll for 18 hours until the first day of class.

    But Miller said more students will have the opportunity to enroll in the classes they need because they will not be held by students who intend to shop and drop. That means more classes will be open for underclassmen and new students since they generally enroll later, he said.

    The policy accommodates the flat-rate tuition plan that allows students to take 12 to 18 hours for the same price, Miller said. Students without the block tuition plan pay on a hourly basis.

    “Students under the hourly tuition plan who enrolled for 18 hours and dropped a class had to pay for some of the hours dropped,” Miller said.

    When TCU finally switched to a block tuition plan, students could drop hours without paying for it, Miller said.

    “I think everyone has enrolled in classes and then dropped one,” said Angela Stodieck, junior middle school education major. “However, I don’t think it’s right when students intentionally enroll in a class just to see if it’s hard or easy and then decide to drop it.”

    Stodieck said other students could need those classes for their major.

    Cottrell said his decision to enroll in a 3000 or 4000 level classes won’t hurt underclassmen because they aren’t permitted to enroll in those courses.

    “While the policy makes sense in theory, it does not work,” Cottrell said. “I can understand why the registrar has implemented the rule, but the inflexibility of the policy makes it very difficult for students who are following a rigid degree plan.”

    Cottrell said he felt students holding classes for themselves wasn’t a large enough problem to implement a restrictive policy.

    The enrollment policy prevents a large problem, while maintaining class enrollment for everyone, Miller said.

    “I think the larger problem is that the university does not offer enough classes to satisfy students’ needs,” Cottrell said.