By Emily Cousins | Staff Writer
With record-breaking freshman enrollment this fall of over 4,200, Baylor has sought ways to open more space in the residence halls and freshman classes.
Some pre-nursing, pre-business and pre-education freshmen were offered to start online in the summer with a discount on tuition or defer enrollment to the spring with free tuition and housing, Baylor spokesperson Lori Fogleman said via email.
“Eighty-four students accepted a deferral to start early over the summer  and another 84 students accepted a deferral until spring 2022,” Fogleman said.
Plano freshman Elise Bonenberger said she had originally planned to take summer classes and get a head start on her pre-nursing major, but when she received the offer in May to defer, she decided to use this semester to get a job.
“They had a very generous offer, so it was too good to pass up,” Bonenberger said.
Birmingham, Ala., freshman Cally Watson said she also decided to take Baylor up on its offer for full tuition in the spring. However, that meant she had to withdraw from Line Camp.
“[It’s hard] when you see it on Instagram. All my friends I’ve met have made new friends and get to start to meet people. I know I’m gonna come in late and people already know each other,” Cally Watson said. “So it is hard to see people doing the fun traditions that I’ll miss out on.”
Lynne Watson, Cally’s mother, said she was sad to learn that her daughter would not be allowed to rush in the spring.
“She’s been in conversation with Panhellenic, and because she wasn’t on campus in the fall, they made that decision,” Lynne Watson said. “Which is kind of disappointing because she was helping out the university, and our wallet, to say, ‘Yeah, I’ll wait.’”
Aldie, Va., freshman Victoria Baron said she didn’t know she wouldn’t be able to rush when she accepted the offer to defer enrollment.
“If I knew that, I probably would have thought a little bit differently about it,” Baron said. “I’m really hoping that they change the rule, honestly, because I just feel like it would be a good way to meet new people because I am coming in the middle of the year.”
Baylor said in the deferral offer they plan to have a special Welcome Week.
“Join hundreds of other incoming spring students and participate in Welcome Week during the few days prior to classes starting in January,” the offer stated.
The university has also asked students who are enrolled in a two-year-contract option to break the contract and move off campus.
Fogleman said the contract buyout was $2,000 plus an additional $500 if they chose to lease from Brothers Management.
Crofton, Md., sophomore Killian Karvois was offered to end his two-year housing contract to free up space in the dorms, but he decided to decline the offer. He said he was worried about finding housing so close to the next semester.
Fogleman said fewer than 200 students accepted the buyout offer.
Even with freshmen deferring fall enrollment and two-year-contract students moving off campus, there is still not enough space in the dorms. Around 150 freshmen will be living in Marriot Springhill Suites, Fogleman said.
Ellington, Conn., freshman Toby Wan said he checked his housing portal a few weeks before move-in and discovered he would be living at the hotel, or as the university is calling it: Cityside.
“I was kind of both excited and … a little concerned just because the whole, you know, transportation, and it’s not like directly on campus,” Wan said.
Wan said he learned recently there will be a bus transporting students to and from the hotel every 20 minutes from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
The students in Cityside are allowed to decorate their rooms, and they have regular dining plans, Wan said.
“So far, it’s been great,” Wan said. “It’s very nice for a freshman dorm.”