Student-athletes are one of several student groups approved for priority course registration by the Educational Policy Committee.
The Student-Athlete Academic Initiative Working Group identified and compiled recommendations from reports over the past several years and linked each report recommendation to 21 academic processes. Report Recommendations for Registration
6.0 Registration and Priority Registration for Student-Athletes
Student-athletes, like all UNC students, must register for their courses according to the University’s registration schedule. The Office of the University Registrar manages all registration schedules and procedures.
6.1 UNC Registration Procedures
By policy of the Faculty Council (Resolution 2007–3), the University limits students to eight semesters of full-time study. To help ensure graduation within the eight-semester limit, a student’s registration priority is based on the number of semesters completed; the more semesters completed, the higher the registration priority. For more details see Registration Priority in the Undergraduate Bulletin.
6.2 Priority Registration
Priority Registration allows selected student groups to register between 8 and 8:30 a.m. on their day of regular registration for the following semester. After Priority Registration ends, regular registration begins for all other students, who are prioritized based on the number of semesters they have completed. Groups of approximately 750 students register in 15-minute iterations throughout the regular registration period. If selected students do not register during Priority Registration, their registration kicks back to their original registration appointment time.
Several student groups currently are approved for Priority Registration: Athletics, Robertson Scholars, Education majors for their junior year (in advance of student teaching), and students sponsored by Accessibility Resources and Service. Previous groups that have had approval but no longer do include Cheerleading and ROTC.
6.2.1 Priority Registration Advisory Committee (PRAC)
Priority Registration is approved and monitored by the Priority Registration Advisory Committee (PRAC) within the Educational Policy Committee, an elected faculty committee that meets once per month during the fall and spring terms.
At the beginning of each spring term (for the subsequent fall-term registration) and the beginning of each fall term (for the subsequent spring-term registration), the University Registrar announces to the campus community the process and timeline for submitting requests for Priority Registration on behalf of student groups. The PRAC reviews all requests. The Academic Support Program for Student-Athletes (ASPSA) submits a comprehensive list of all active student-athletes and an application form to the PRAC. (The PRAC does not see the list of individual names of student-athletes). The form seeks to answer the question, “Are there University obligations that limit these students’ time to take classes?”
Unless there are exceptions to the ASPSA’s Priority Registration request, the entire proposal does not need to be re-submitted each semester.
PRAC meetings are open to the public, and all of the PRAC’s rationale statements, tallies and decisions are publicly available. The PRAC routinely reviews summary data regarding the operation of Priority Registration including specific courses selected during the process. For example, the Committee monitors whether students register for the classes they say they will take. The PRAC suggests modifications to the Priority Registration Policy as needed, and the Educational Policy Committee considers these suggestions, making policy decisions accordingly. The Registrar presents an annual report to the Educational Policy Committee indicating the number of students granted or denied Priority Registration, along with an evaluation of whether course selection during Priority Registration appears to serve its intended purpose.
Student-athletes, including entering first-years, are granted Priority Registration for fall and spring semesters only; not for summer sessions.
6.2.2 Impact of Priority Registration
Priority Registration enables selected groups of students to get into certain classes before they close and get into preferred time slots before they close. There is ample evidence to suggest the latter is a driving force for student-athletes especially. In Fall 2013, a sub-committee formed by Educational Policy Committee looked at the effectiveness of priority registration before re-affirming it as a policy. An analysis of the courses that student-athletes enrolled in during priority registration showed a greater than 90% (for certain teams, greater than 95%) correlation between the meeting times of the enrolled classes and the availability for class times indicated on the PRAC applications. The analysis involved multiple teams and included those who had indicated the same schedule limitations for both Fall and Spring semesters and those who had submitted different schedules for each term. This is clear evidence that Priority Registration is being used for choosing classes that best fit student-athletes’ limited schedule availability due to their participation in a sport.
6.3 Proxy Registration
Proxy registration was allowed on a very limited basis by the Academic Support Program for Student-Athletes (ASPSA) until Fall 2014. Proxy registration was infrequent (2-3 cases/semester) and allowed only in very specific situations when a student-athlete was traveling for official competition during Priority Registration and the student could not access the registration system at that time. At this time, there is no proxy registration and no alternatives are available.