THE PACE CHRONICLE

Students Experience Confusion Regarding Graduation Paperwork

Kaitlyn Szilagyi, Health Editor

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On Oct. 24 of this year, Vice President of Programming, Tameka Bazile, informed students attending the week’s SGA meeting that some seniors (set to graduate in May 2015) had been sent emails with information regarding their diploma verification form and degree audits from the Office of Student Assistance (OSA), while others had not.

According to the information she had received, this diploma verification form was due on September 30, almost a full month earlier.

The email, which was sent out to select students, requested the diploma verification form (available at www.pace.edu/OSA) to be submitted by September 30, 2014. According to OSA, there was no such form due on September 30. However, the Office of Student Assistance Graduation page claimed the form was, in fact, due on September 30. Anxious, several students rushed to complete the online degree verification form as well as the audit form.

When first asked, OSA staff stated no such email had been sent, that no forms were required. Also, the degree audit would most likely be completed automatically and electronically by staff as long as student accounts recorded enough credits to be considered a senior.

When asked again, staff stated the form was “not a requirement anymore. It’s more for the audit folks.” There would be no penalty for submitting the form late.

The issue here is not limited to seniors’ degree verification form. The true issue here lies in communication. It is no secret that communicating with the Office of Student Assistance hardly runs smoothly. Graduate psychology student, Kay Lanza, graduated from Pace with a Bachelor’s in psychology in May 2014. She recalled her own experience attempting to work with OSA in preparation for her graduation.

“They were kind of hard to get a hold of. I kept trying to reach out to them but didn’t really get a response. I really had to track them down, send emails, and show up at the office to get a hold of them. They were not very forthcoming,” Lanza said. “I didn’t even get my degree audit until March 2014.”

Beyond seniors’ concerns with graduation, communication with this office is historically troublesome.

As a student who was made anxious by the poor and scattered emails, phone calls, and discussions regarding the diploma verification form, I took a very important lesson from the experience: Be proactive, not reactive.

While trying to figure out what requirements I needed to fulfill in order to make sure I graduate, I realized I could have very easily asked my advisor at the start of the semester whether or not any paperwork was necessary for graduation. As I usually set appointments with career services and advising within two weeks of returning to campus, I could very easily have done the same with the Office of Student Assistance.

For those who would like some peace of mind and would like to complete the diploma verification form or the audit form, it is available online at www.pace.edu/paperless.

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