Anew policy at BYU, BYU-Hawaii and LDS Business College will make readmission easier for students who wish to postpone their schooling to serve full-time missions.
The policy allows students to fill out an application for deferment and delay their studies without penalty.The plan works in two ways. Students who are already enrolled in school can fill out the form to avoid applying for readmittance at the end of their missions.
Or incoming freshmen can fill out the deferment application and instead of beginning college they can serve a mission. In both cases, to be eligible for the program, students must leave on their missions during the semester in which deferment was granted.
BYU adopted the policy in January, and BYU-Hawaii and LDS Business College followed with similar policies. A committee has been formed at Ricks College to review the deferment options at that school.BYU
Once BYU students complete the "Application for Deferment of BYU Admission and Scholarship" form and return it to the Admissions Office, the students' projected return dates are recorded and their enrollment is assured for that semester.
"If the student is a recipient of a BYU scholarship, we coordinate that deferment as well for the same time period," said Jeff Tanner, associate dean of admissions and records at BYU.
Students must fill out the form once they have received their official missionary call. The form requires that they list the mission and the date they will enter the Missionary Training Center.
Students who received deferment are automatically admitted to BYU following their missions so long as they have met the stipulations of the deferment.
Those stipulations include not attending any other college or university since attending BYU, not being suspended or dismissed from the university and having completed a full-term mission, receiving an honorable release.
"We are obviously in the business of encouraging all who want to go on a M mission," Tanner explained. "We don't want anything we are doing to not be supportive of students who want to go on a mission."
The change will cut back on unnecessary paperwork as well, he added. "We already have their address, birthday and other information on record." It seemed to be a waste to ask for it again, he said. The new process also eliminates a $10 reapplication fee, needed previously to process paperwork.
The change will also relieve concerns some students had that the entrance requirements would change and they wouldn't be eligible to return, Tanner remarked. "That would never happen, but we wanted to alleviate that fear and let them know right up front that they can come back without a problem.
"This procedure will allow missionaries to focus all their months on missionary work so they are not having to be distracted at the end of their mission by getting in their application."
BYU is currently at its enrollment ceiling, which is 27,000 students.BYU-HAWAII
BYU-Hawaii students can defer their enrollment and BYU-Hawaii scholarships by filling out a regular admission application before they leave, said David Settle, director of admissions at BYU-Hawaii.
"BYU-Hawaii is unique in that it offers a returned missionary award," he remarked. "If returned missionaries enroll at BYU-Hawaii within 12 months of their release, they are given half-tuition for a semester. It is a one-time award."
To be eligible for the award, students have to be admissable to the university.
BYU-Hawaii has 2,000 students, and has been at its ceiling since 1985.LDS BUSINESS COLLEGE
"We were pleased to hear of that policy and we wanted to follow suit," said Pres. Stephen K. Woodhouse. "We are not in the same situation as BYU because of our open enrollment policy, but this eliminates the possibility that missionaries have to worry about their academic pursuits while serving a mission because all enrollment has been taken care of before they leave."
There are approximately 800 students at LDS Business College.RICKS
Students at Ricks College who plan to serve a mission must reapply for admission because of the school's open enrollment policy.
"At this point their (BYU's) needs are different than ours," explained Gordon Westenskow, director of admissions and scholarships at Ricks College. "We encourage returned missionaries to apply prior to six months before they are released.
"We try to accommodate as many missionaries, but it is just impossible to guarantee everyone who goes on a mission a space, even if they are former students. Maybe somewhere down the line we may in fact try to do something similar, but at this point we are not going to because we are having enough trouble trying to get numbers under control in an open enrollment college."
Ricks' enrollment ceiling is set at 7,500 and there are currently 7,728 students enrolled this semester at the school.
"We try to live within the spirit of open admission, but that is really difficult," Westenskow said.
Ricks students who leave for a mission, however, may defer Ricks scholarships until they return to the school. - Sheridan R. Sheffield