Dash deficits may restrict Fall term registration

by Justin Evans | 8/14/97 5:00am

The Dash Program Committee decided on Tuesday that students with negative balances of $200 or more in their administrative accounts will not be allowed to register for classes this fall.

The decision could affect as many as 250 students who currently have large negative balances, according to Dash Program Administrator Jeannette Montgomery.

Spring term, 35 students were not allowed to register because they owed more than $300.

The total outstanding debt on all student administrative accounts was $177,497 as of July 15, according to the Dash office.

If all students owing more than $200 were to reconcile their accounts, 43 percent of the outstanding administrative debt would be eliminated.

The Dash office has been notifying students with negative administrative balances by BlitzMail several times a term, although the notifications do not indicate the amount due, Montgomery said. Starting Fall term, notifications will include the amount due.

The Dash office will notify all students with negative balances through BlitzMail before the end of this term, Montgomery said. But to find out how much they actually owe, students must visit the Dash office in Thayer Dining Hall or use SideCar/KClient software in conjunction with the Dash web page.

About 50 of the 250 students owing more than $200 in their administrative accounts have outstanding balances of $500 or more, Montgomery said.

"Of those with more than $300 as an outstanding balance, parking contributes the majority of that," Montgomery said.

Under the Dash program, the cost of alcohol education classes student must attend as penalty for "incidents of intoxication" are automatically billed to administrative accounts, which students can delay paying until graduation or until they owe more than $200 and can no longer register, according Undergraduate Judicial Affairs Officer Marcia Kelly.

Before the inception of the Dash program, the $50 cost of alcohol education classes for "incidents of intoxication" was directly billed to parents if students did not pay the fee.

Other changes to the Dash program this coming year include the addition of a few residence hall washing machines and a new brochure Dash officials hope will help decrease student confusion.

Mass Row, NewHamp/Topliff and RipWoodSmith residence hall clusters will feature new laundry machines that accept Dash cards starting this fall, Associate Director of Administrative Services Bill Barr said.

Last year several incoming freshmen deposited large amounts of money in their discretionary accounts thinking they could use the Dash card to buy books, Director of Financial Services Win Johnson said.

"A lot of people came with the expectation that Dartmouth owned its own bookstore," he said. "People had put in really, really large amounts."

As a result, the Dash program granted refunds to these students, Johnson said.

Montgomery said she has received several calls from parents of students in the Class of 2001 asking whether students can buy books with Dash cards.

This year's brochure includes a new statement that the College does not own a bookstore, and bookstores do not accept Dash cards. The new information is located on page 21 of the 25-page pamphlet.

This year's new brochure, mailed to students last week, includes information about all four Dash accounts -- administrative, DarTalk, declining balance and discretionary -- as well as information about dining facilities.

"Our phones aren't ringing off the wall like they were last year," Montgomery said. "There were three- to four-hour periods last year when we couldn't even use the phone."

"Half of the calls this year have been asking when the dining option cards will be sent out," Montgomery said.

Montgomery said she has had to deal with irate parents regarding declining balance account pre-billing that increased from $450 last year to $700 this year.

This fall, the Athletic Department will introduce an instant billing procedure for discretionary account charges. Currently, Athletic ticket charges -- such as library overdue fines -- are deducted on a monthly basis. The committee hopes to expand these services to the golf course, the Dartmouth Skiway and the Hopkins Center, as well.

Other plans in the works for the Dash program include combining the DarTalk account with the discretionary account, as well as enabling students to pay dues for Ledyard Canoe Club and Moosilauke Ravine Lodge on their Dash cards.