Frequently Asked Questions for Students
Posted July 24, 2009 / Updated August 14, 2009
This is the FAQ from the fall 2009 semester. The current FAQ may be found here.
Registering for Classes
- Why can't I find any classes with available seats?
The State of California is experiencing unprecedented budget problems leading to a likely budget cut to the California State University system of $584 million for the 2009/2010 academic year. While every attempt has been made to cut costs that do not affect instruction, some courses and sections had to be eliminated. Every class removed from the schedule places more demand on the classes we do offer.
- I went into a class today and there were empty seats. But the instructor said she couldn't add anyone. Why not?
The simple answer is that each course is assigned a maximum enrollment cap (the maximum number of students who can take the class). This cap is based on a variety of factors such as the type of instruction (e.g. lecture, seminar or laboratory) and the kinds of assignments that will be required (e.g. intensive writing, lab sessions). The cap is designed to maximize learning and is not related to room size. Rooms are often allocated on a space available basis, so large rooms may be given to courses with smaller permissible enrollments. So, while the room looks like it isn't full, the course is.
The goal of our University is make sure that each student receives the best possible education. We do not want to diminish student learning by exceeding the enrollment caps that are thoughtfully constructed. To do so would be to shortchange students.
- Can I get on a waiting list for the next available seat?
Each department makes its own decisions about how to add students as seats become available. Some departments create waiting lists; some allocate seats according to the number of units a student has earned, with graduating seniors getting preference; some give seats out on a first-come, first-served basis on the first day of class; and some leave the decision up to the individual instructor.
The best way to find out how available seats will be allocated in the class you want is either to email the instructor or attend the first day of class and ask for the procedures that will govern "adds" in the class you want. A permission number will be required to add any class on or after the first day in instruction.
- What's a permission number and how do I get one?
Permission is required to add restricted classes at all times. Some classes are restricted before instruction for a term begins; all classes are restricted after instruction begins. Restricted classes display the Class Note "Department or Instructor Consent Required" in SOLAR Class Search.
To obtain permission to add a class, contact the department or the instructor of the course (see #3 above). You may receive either a permission number or a student specific permission. Either kind of permission is valid until you successfully enroll in the class, until it expires, or until the end of the third week of a semester—whichever comes first. See the Late Registration/Schedule Adjustment deadlines at: http://www.csun.edu/anr/soc/adjsched.html.
Use permissions for the Fall 2009 semester before September 11. After that date, classes can be added only for serious and compelling reasons, and a Late Change in Academic Schedule form must be completed. The form is available at: http://www.csun.edu/anr/forms/UGS_5thweek.pdf.
Learn more with the tutorial "Add a Class Using a Permission Number" at http://www.csun.edu/anr/soc/guides/permission.html.
- If I get a permission number and I find I can't use it, can I give it to a friend or trade it for a seat in a different class?
Absolutely not. Permission numbers may not be given to or exchanged with other students. A permission number is a permit given to a specific student for a specific seat in a specific class. It is regarded as academic dishonesty to sell, give or trade permission numbers or to use a permission number given to another student.
Class rosters are audited to make certain that students who register in restricted classes are only those for whom a specific permission number was issued by a department office or instructor. A registered student who either has given or obtained a permission number that was not authorized by the department will be subject to academic discipline as well as dismissal from the class.
- I can't get into a certain class I need to graduate or to meet a prerequisite. What can I do?
Make an appointment with your department chair/department advisor to explore options. Sometimes, if accreditation permits substitutions or equivalencies, the department will suggest alternative ways to meet department graduation requirements. You may be able to take needed classes at community colleges, other CSUs or online at other 4-year universities.
Check with http://www.assist.org/ to see if a course offered at another institution has been approved for transferability to CSUN. If not, get a copy of the catalog description of the class you want to substitute. If you think the description closely matches that of the CSUN class, submit the description to your department chair who will advise you on whether it is an acceptable alternative.
Beware that this option may not be possible because of accreditation or related academic issues that require certain courses to be taken only at CSUN.
Fees and Tuition
- Did the CSU Board of Trustees raise fees again?
Yes, on July 21, 2009 the Board of Trustees increased the 2009-2010 State University Fee by an additional annual amount of $672 for California resident undergraduate students, $780 for California resident credential program students and $828 for California graduate and post-baccalaureate students. An additional per unit tuition increase of $33 for non-resident tuition was also approved. Please note that this increase is in addition to the 10% increase in fees announced in the spring.
The CSU makes every effort to keep student costs to a minimum. Fees listed in published schedules or student accounts may need to be increased when public funding is inadequate. Therefore, CSU must reserve the right, even after initial fee payments are made, to increase or modify any listed fees, without notice, until the date when instruction for a particular semester or quarter has begun. All CSU listed fees should be regarded as estimates that are subject to change upon approval by The Board of Trustees.
- When will the increase in fees be due?
- If you registered for Fall 2009 classes and paid your total fees before the increase, you can expect to see the amount of the increase on your account (summary) under the charge type "Tuition and Fees." The "Total Charges Outstanding" and "Current Balance Outstanding" will reflect the increase. Your Student Account Information history will reflect a separate line item for the increase. You should check your account regularly. You will have until August 17, 2009* to pay the additional amount outstanding. For additional information on fee payments please go to http://www-admn.csun.edu/ucs/ and click on "Tuition and Fees Fall 2009" for due dates.
- If you registered for classes before the increase but have not paid, your Student Account history will reflect the increase as a separate line item. You will have until August 17, 2009* to pay the "Current Balance Outstanding." For additional information on fee payments please go to http://www-admn.csun.edu/ucs/ and click on "Tuition and Fees Fall 2009" for due dates.
- If you registered for classes after the increase, the increase will be incorporated in your total "Tuition and Fees" and not indicated as a separate line item on your Student Account history. You will have until August 17, 2009* to pay the "Current Balance Outstanding." For additional information on fee payments please go to http://www-admn.csun.edu/ucs/ and click on "Tuition and Fees Fall 2009" for due dates.
* Students will not be disenrolled solely for failure to pay the July 21 fee increase by the due date. Students with outstanding balances will be unable to register for spring semester until fall semester fees are paid in full.
Financial Aid Adjustments
- Will my financial aid be increased to cover the increase in fees and tuition?
- Students with State University Grant (SUG) awards will not be affected by the fee increase. SUG awards will be adjusted automatically to accommodate the new fee increase. Students will receive an updated award letter as close to the start of the fall semester as possible.
- t is not yet known whether the additional increase in fees will be covered by the Cal Grant award. The California State Budget process will determine the amount of Cal Grants for the CSU. Students who have been awarded Cal Grants will have their enrollment protected until funds are available for the Cal Grants to be paid. If the State does not approve Cal Grant funding for the additional increase in fees, the Financial Aid and Scholarship Department will notify you of alternatives that may be available, if any, to cover the difference between the already approved Cal Grant amount and the total State University Fee.
- Students with non-grant aid will have their financial aid award automatically reviewed during fall semester. Students do not need to contact the Department of Financial Aid and Scholarships. Students who are eligible for additional aid will be notified of the aid options available to them. Students who have not yet accepted their non-grant aid such as loans may want to consider accepting at least part of the loan to protect their enrollment and to pay the increased fee.
- Is it too late to apply for financial aid?
You can apply for financial aid for the 2009-2010 academic year at any time before the last day of Spring 2010 semester. Obviously, the sooner you apply the better. For information on applying for financial aid go to http://www.csun.edu/finaid/apply.html.
- Can I repeat courses if I want to earn a better grade?
The University understands that undergraduates may need to repeat courses in order to fulfill degree requirements and/or enhance skills. At the same time, the faculty had to determine how to balance the needs of students who are repeating courses with the needs of students who are taking courses for the first time. In Spring 2009, the Faculty Senate, following a mandate from the CSU Chancellor's Office, wrote a new repeat policy that is available at: http://www.csun.edu/senate/policies/undergrad_repeating_courses.pdf
In summary, the new policy allows undergraduate students to repeat a maximum of 16 semester units of CSU Northridge coursework in which they earned less than a C grade. These 16 units may be repeated for the purpose of excluding grades (grade forgiveness) from the computation of your overall GPA. Only the first 16 semester units repeated are eligible for grade forgiveness.
An additional 12 semester units of coursework may be repeated for grade averaging, i.e. both the original grade and the repeat shall be calculated into the student's total GPA. This policy does not pertain to repeats in courses such as Music Ensembles and Independent Study where the curriculum allows, permits or requires repeats.
Any course taken at CSUN must be re-taken at CSUN to replace (or forgive) the previous C-, D, F, or WU grade within the 16-unit maximum. Any course repeated at another college will be averaged into your cumulative GPA; your previous grade will not be forgiven. For assistance, contact your academic advisor at: http://www.csun.edu/ugs/advisement.html.
- Why do I have to wait until the first day of class to add a class that I want to repeat?
This Fall 2009, because of the budget situation, students who want to repeat courses must wait until the first day of class and obtain a permission number from the instructor to enroll. SOLAR blocks a student's ability to repeat enrollment in a course until the first day of instruction. See section "Registering for Classes" (above) #3 and #4 for additional information about adding classes on or after the first day. In summary, the new repeat policy allows every student to have one chance in a class before any student has multiple chances.
- Last year, my cousin/friend was disqualified from CSUN because his grades were too low, but he was allowed to return for another try even though he was disqualified. Why can't I have another chance, too?
Because of the budget situation, several policies have been adopted that will help ensure that there are enough classes for continuing students. One of these is the discontinuation of the "grace or renewal" semester. Beginning in Fall 2009, students who receive their first disqualification (DQ) are treated in an identical manner to second DQs. Both categories of disqualified students must wait to enroll in CSUN courses through the regular enrollment process until Fall 2010. They must reapply to the University and be readmitted under an Academic Performance Agreement. For readmission deadlines, see the Application Filing Periods at: http://www.csun.edu/anr/AdmissionStatus.html.
- What GPA do I need to remain in good academic standing?
Undergraduate students need both a CSUN GPA and a cumulative GPA of 2.00 (minimum) to be in good standing. If either of these falls below 2.00 in any semester, you will be placed on academic probation. You remain on probation until you achieve a minimum 2.00 in both categories or are disqualified.
- When will I be disqualified?
Disqualification depends on the number of units you have earned. If you are on probation and either the CSUN or cumulative GPA falls below the listed minimums in any semester you will be disqualified. Please note: Developmental courses count toward units earned.
Minimum cumulative and/or CSUN GPA
- In addition, if your cumulative GPA FALLS BELOW A 1.00 at the conclusion of any semester, you will be disqualified immediately WITHOUT FIRST BEING PLACED ON PROBATION. This policy will not apply to first-time freshmen who fall below 1.0 in their first semester only. In all subsequent semesters, all students are subject to this policy.
- How many courses will I be able to withdraw from during my studies at CSUN?
Undergraduate students may withdraw from no more than 18 semester units of CSUN courses during their academic career. This 18 semester-unit limit does not apply to the first 20 days of each semester when withdrawals from courses are permitted without restriction or penalty. The maximum of 18 semester units applies only to units completed at CSU Northridge, and applies whether a student is matriculated or enrolled through self-support such as Extended Learning.
- Does this include medical withdrawals?
No. Approved medical withdrawals, whether partial or complete, do not count toward the maximum 18 units.
Parking and Traffic
- Can I buy a parking permit on-line?
Yes, Student residential, semester, and academic-year parking permits are available for on-line purchase. This fast, easy and convenient process can be accessed through "my Northridge Portal" on the csun.edu website. Please note that no additional 2.9% credit card convenience fees will be charged for purchasing online parking permits.
- Do I have to have a parking permit on the first day of class?
Yes, a parking permit is required at all times. Parking without a permit may result in a parking violation fine.
- How difficult is it to find parking on campus?
During the first several weeks of the semester traffic is at its heaviest and parking spaces on the west side of campus ("B" lots) fill up quickly. Students are encouraged to utilize the new G3 parking structure located off of Zelzah Ave and Prairie St.
- What is a Freshman Intent to Register?
In order to monitor the size of the entering freshman class for Fall 2009 so that we can assure adequate resources to serve every enrolled student, CSUN required that all First-Time Freshmen electronically indicate their Intent to Register.
- What was the deadline for students to indicate their Intent to Register? June 15, 2009 was the DEADLINE for indicating Intent to Register through the myNorthridge portal.
- What if I didn't comply with this requirement by the deadline?
You will not be able to attend CSUN in Fall 09.
- Can I appeal this decision?
No, the deadline to file the Intent to Register is absolute. University policy and practices related to the current California budget crisis have made deviation from this June 15 deadline impossible.
- I was never told about this requirement. It's not fair to hold me to this deadline.
The requirement to file the Intent to Register was communicated to all freshmen in many forms; individual letters were mailed to the homes of over 12,000 students, emails were sent to all students who were accepted to the University after the regulation was enacted, letters were sent to all high school counselors asking for their help in informing students about the requirement and media carried news stories about the Intent to Register policy.
- What are my options if I didn't file an Intent to Register by the deadline?
You may want to consider attending a community college. You can transfer to CSU Northridge after you have earned 60 units and after you complete your basic subjects and lower division general education OR
You can request CSUN to move your application from Fall 2009 to another term beginning Fall 2010. In order to make this request, you complete the form at http://www.csun.edu/anr/forms/newterm.pdf. Please note that a request to forward your application to a future term is not a guarantee of admission.
- Can I reapply/apply to CSUN for Spring 2010?
CSUN is not accepting applications for undergraduate study for Spring 2010. Please check the Admissions and Records website below for additional information as it becomes available: http://www.csun.edu/anr/AdmissionStatus.html
- What are the EPT/ELM tests?
The California State University system requires that each entering First Time Freshman, except those who qualify for an exemption, take these CSU placement exams prior to enrollment in classes. They are a condition of enrollment. Learn more at: http://www.csun.edu/testing/placement/.
- When can I take the test(s)?
June 13, 2009 was the DEADLINE for completing the EPT/ELM requirement. Results from EPT/ELM tests taken after June 13, 2009 will not be accepted at CSU Northridge for the Fall 2009 semester.
- What happens if I missed the deadline?
You will not be able to attend CSUN in Fall 2009 as a First-Time Freshman unless you were exempt from the test(s) because of high SAT or ACT scores, AP tests or completion of certain EAP courses in high school.
- I never heard about the EPT/ELM requirement. Why can't I take it later?
There were numerous opportunities to take these placements exams throughout the application cycle. The requirement to test and the deadline to test were communicated to all prospective freshmen in many forms-- letters, email, websites, etc.
- What are my options if I missed the EPT/ELM test?
You may want to consider attending a community college. You can transfer to CSU Northridge after you have earned 60 units and after you complete your basic subjects and lower division general education courses OR
You can request CSU Northridge to move your application from Fall 2009 to another term. To make this request, complete the form at: http://www.csun.edu/anr/forms/newterm.pdf
* Note that a request to forward your application to a future term is not a guarantee of admission.
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