No room in the inn: Campus Living and Learning struggles to find space for record-size freshman class

Rebecca Flannery
Staff Writer

The effect of yet another record-breaking enrollment year for Baylor became evident a month before move-in day when upperclassmen were asked to make room for new students.

More than 3,600 freshmen and approximately 2,000 upper-division students moved into all the dorms and university-owned apartments last week during Move2BU. Because Baylor requires freshmen to live on campus, finding housing for overflow was essential, said Tiffany Lowe, director for Campus Living and Learning.

CL&L representatives sent an email to students locked in two-year housing contracts and asked if they would prefer to move out for the fall to make room for incoming students. The email said Baylor was expecting a large amount of students and would offer a free release from contracts for student already thinking about living off-campus.

Lowe said the email was only one of several methods the school employed to create more space.

“We offered upper-division students suggestions to move to Baylor Plaza One, Two or Three,” Lowe said.  “However, once they opted out of our contracts, we weren’t responsible to find them housing.”

The closure of North Russell Residence Hall for renovations this school year has also decreased housing options for freshman women by 475 beds. Lowe said because North Russell is out of commission, adjustments for women had to be made.

“The reopening of South Russell helps a lot,” Lowe said. “But we had to make some of the regularly co-ed residence halls strictly female to accommodate.”

Texana House, University House and Baylor Arbors are female-only housing this year.

“The enrollment displays the fact that there’s more excitement than ever before to be a Bear,” Lowe said.

If the trend of an increasing freshman class continues, the next step would either be add or expand residence halls, Lowe said.

Jennifer Carron, assistant vice president of admission services, said in a university press release the increase in students would make this class the most diverse.

“Our enrollment systems were a bit overwhelmed by the volume of students paying deposits and entering our orientation process, but we are delighted by the record rise in students deciding to attend Baylor, and we are ready for them when they arrive. This year’s class will be one of the most talented and diverse in Baylor history,” she said.

Lori Fogleman, assistant vice president for Baylor Media Communications, said that while the enlarged class size is an impressive feat, Baylor admissions does not expect the enrollment for first-year students to continue with this growth trend.

“Our Board of Regents and administration have outlined our incoming class goal for 2015 to be the same size as the past several years,” she said in an email to the Lariat. “For fall 2015, around 3,200 freshmen and 450 transfers. That has been our approximate goal for the past four-plus years. The growth this year will not change our enrollment goal in the future, and the university’s size, as outlined in Pro Futuris, is to remain the same in terms of total undergraduate enrollment.”