posted 2011-04-06 12:00:16

E-sims replacement becomes a hassle for students

Cunyfirst or Cunyworst?

E-sims replacement becomes a hassle for students

NIPA HOSSAIN

Staff Writer

A decade in the making, students at Queensborough and Queens College have begun to use CUNYfirst, a new, innovative registration system. A plan to replace E-sims began in the early 2000’s in response to laws regulating personal security.

There were allegedly various incidents in which students’ and staff’s social secu­rity numbers were divulged to numerous CUNY academic and business programs as a means of identification. As such, many people believe that the current system is nonintegrated, outdated, and unable to keep pace with new standards in Internet functionality. The new CUNYfirst system merges different programs and uses a stu­dent given ID as identification rather than the Social Security number.

Despite improvements, CUNYfirst has left many students frustrated. From error pages to delayed responses, lack of commu­nication from administrators seemed to be a common area of concern.

Queens College junior Manveer Saini said, “I hate CUNYfirst. It is honestly the worst system they have ever created. The day before registration, I found out that they had not changed my major in the sys­tem even though I had changed it months before and therefore I could not register for my major classes. I had to run around trying to fix this problem. And it’s so slow. When I search for classes, it keeps saying processing. I feel like I’m back to intel.”

Apparently, completion of registration did not address these issues, as some stu­dents were dropped from their classes after the official withdrawal period had ended. Saini continued, “People in my human de­velopment class were dropped even though there was two weeks of school left. My pro­fessor had to open up her class so that they could register again.”

Many others found issue with the fi­nancial aid system. Due to a malfunction, students in both Queens and Queensbor­ough faced delays in receiving financial aid because CUNYfirst had listed the wrong amounts. Some students’ bills were listed as unpaid even though they receive finan­cial aid, while others could not view their bills at all.

Fear of being dropped from classes sent students running to the office of the Bur­sar. Students also complained about either not receiving checks or receiving checks of insufficient value.

Queensborough sophomore Manisha Bhojwani said, “because of CUNYfirst, students haven’t got their financial aid in time. I usually receive my checks by the first week of March and it’s April now and we just got emails stating that there are problems with the system. Students really deserve their money on time and some are in need for it.”

Bhojwani also complained about unex­plained stops on her record. “When the sys­tem first changed, I had problems register­ing for classes. I had stops on my account from Queens College when I’m a student at Queensborough and never went to Queens. My home page was Queens College too. Then when all that was fixed, from time to time I had problems logging in.”

Apparently, many students have had such a poor experience with CUNY first that a Facebook.com page has been created called “CUNY FIRST SUCKS.”

Although many students are unhappy with CUNYfirst, administrators have de­fended the system.

CUNY communications director Mi­chael Arena says “35,000 graduate and un­dergraduate students at Queens College and Queensborough Community College successfully registered via CUNYfirst for their spring classes. The vast majority of students eligible for financial aid received their financial aid checks in the timely manner required by federal law. At Queens

College, there have been limited reports that some amounts were not correct. The college is working to identify the issues and correct them.”

In order to make the transition easier, CUNY has posted a CUNYfirst tutorial at first.cuny.edu. Even with the help available online, students maintain that the transi­tion has been far from smooth.

Queens’s sophomore Sadia Reza said, “They went overboard with adding too many features trying to make it convenient and it just backfired.”

Student Life at Queens College ac­knowledged that there was a problem but stated, “It’s unfortunate, but CUNYfirst is a work in progress.”

Despite the wave of problems, CUNY plans to continue its launch of CUNYfirst at the remaining CUNY schools. Commu­nity Colleges along with CUNY Law School will be brought into the program, along with Brooklyn, City Tech, Medgar Evers, York, and the College of Staten Island in 2012. Baruch, City, Hunter, John Jay, along with the Graduate Schools of Journalism, Public Health, Social Work, School of Pro­fessional Studies, and the Graduate Center will follow in 2012 or 2013.