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UC Looks to Abolish Add-Drop Fees, Votes to Help Offset Cost of Students’ Textbooks

The Undergraduate Council passed legislation Sunday calling on Harvard to abolish the $10 fee to add, drop, or change courses after the third Monday of the semester.
The Undergraduate Council passed legislation Sunday calling on Harvard to abolish the $10 fee to add, drop, or change courses after the third Monday of the semester. By Kathryn S. Kuhar
By Mayesha R. Soshi and Lucas J. Walsh, Crimson Staff Writers

The Undergraduate Council passed legislation to release a statement in favor of the abolishment of Harvard's add-drop period course change fee during a Sunday meeting.

The legislation calls for a statement to be issued calling on the University to remove the fee owed by students who change their courses after the third Monday of the semester. The fee requires students to pay $10 for each class added or dropped from their schedules after this deadline.

“For whatever reason, Harvard College charges students a fee to add, drop, or change courses after the third Monday of each semester,” the statement reads. “The imposition of this fee serves as an unnecessary financial barrier that prevents many Harvard students from taking full advantage of the course add/drop period.”

The legislation was sponsored by Quincy House Representative Michael Y. Cheng ’22. Since the UC does not have the power to abolish the fee, Cheng said he hopes the statement brings the idea to the attention of the University.

The UC also voted to allocate $5,000 to the Books Fund to help offset the costs of textbooks for students experiencing financial difficulties amid the coronavirus pandemic. The fund — sponsored by Council President Noah A. Harris ’22, Vice President Jenny Y. Gan ’22, and First Year Class Committee Chair Esther Xiang ’23 — plans to serve up to 100 students and disburse up to $50 in aid to eligible applicants.

The UC also passed legislation to fund a printing and laundry subsidy for on-campus students.

Sponsored by Harris and Gan, the legislation will provide a $20 Crimson Cash subsidy to 200 students and will partner with Gnomon Copy to provide $11 allowances to 150 students.

In response to student feedback, the UC also introduced “open hours,” a monthly town hall to facilitate discussions between students and UC members.

“Open Hours will be available to the entirety of the student body, will serve a mode of transparent conversation between representatives and constituents, and will be recognized as an opportunity for constituents to seek clarification on, provide feedback on, and even suggest legislation,” the legislation reads.

Open hours will be scheduled at various times throughout the month to accommodate students in different time zones.

—Staff writer Mayesha R. Soshi can be reached at mayesha.soshi@thecrimson.com.

—Staff writer Lucas J. Walsh can be reached at lucas.walsh@thecrimson.com.

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