By Daniel C. Houston
Baylor President Ken Starr will sign an agreement today to approve the creation of a program allowing a small group of students to jointly enroll at Baylor and McLennan Community College with the opportunity to graduate with a Baylor degree.
The Baylor@MCC Co-Enrollment Program will give students who qualify for admission to Baylor the chance to spend one or two years taking classes from both institutions while enjoying many of the benefits a full-time Baylor student would have, according to the document to be signed by Starr and MCC President Dr. Johnette McKown.
The presidents will sign the agreement at 10 a.m. in the first floor reading room of the Sheila & Walter Umphrey Law Center.
Dr. Sinda Vanderpool, assistant vice provost for enrollment management, said Baylor has a greater capacity to serve upperclassmen than it does freshmen and sophomores, due primarily to the limitations of facilities and personnel. She said she hopes the new program will attract more transfer students and facilitate their transition to becoming full-time Baylor students.
“This program is a way for Baylor to ensure that the transfer students that we get will be well-prepared students,” Vanderpool said.
Dr. Donnie Balmos, MCC vice president of instruction, said the program gives his institution an opportunity to further build upon its relationship with Baylor.
“I think it’s a great deal for everybody concerned,” Balmos said. “We’ve had a great relationship with Baylor over the years and I’m looking forward to us moving to the next level.”
Students participating in Baylor@MCC would pay the hourly tuition rate for each class at each institution, Vanderpool said. Students participating in the one-year program would take 18 hours of MCC courses and six hours of Baylor courses, before becoming full-time Baylor students to complete their degrees; the two-year program would require taking 36 hours at MCC and 12 hours at Baylor.
Additionally, Baylor@MCC students will be required to pay the Baylor general student fee, which will be $3,130 in the 2012-2013 school year, granting them access to most school events and facilities, including the library system, the McLane Student Life Center and all university athletic events.
Unlike Baylor’s full-time enrolled students, Baylor@MCC students will not be required to live in an on-campus residence hall their first year in the program and will not have to purchase a dining plan their first semester, although these options will still be available to them.
“They will be able to live elsewhere,” Vanderpool said. “There are plans to have a living-learning center that this group of students could be part of if they want to, but it would be an option.”
The agreement is for a three-year pilot program whose goal is to admit 50 students in the 2012-2013 school year, 75 in 2013-2014 and 100 in 2014-2015. The program, Vanderpool said, will be assessed before a decision to extend the agreement is made.
Balmos said MCC has a sufficiently staffed faculty and the facilities to accommodate the rate of growth anticipated in the agreement, but mentioned MCC might have to take other measures if the program exceeds those expectations.
“If they stay within those numbers, we have the human resources to accommodate those students,” Balmos said. “Where we will have a challenge is physical space. … We will have to look at offering more classes in the afternoon, in the evenings and online.”
Students who are interested in the program will need to apply to Baylor as part of its normal admissions process. All students who are qualified for regular admission but for whom Baylor does not have space will be offered a spot in the program.