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With smaller-than-normal incoming class, Beloit College offering tuition-free extra semesters

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BELOIT (WKOW) -- Fall semesters across the country will look a little bit different this year due to COVID-19, with some students deciding to hold off until next year -- but amid smaller-than-usual enrollment numbers, administrators at Beloit College are offering a big incentive: tuition-free 9th and 10th semesters.

"We recognize that the pandemic will affect the experience of being on campus in the coming year," said Leslie Davidson, vice president for enrollment at the college. "We want to ensure that our students are able to experience all of the dimensions of a Beloit education."

The offer applies to any student enrolled full-time for the 2020-21 school year. After eight semesters, they'll be eligible for a tuition-free 9th and 10th.

"Let's say you're a soccer player," Davidson said. "In the fall sports, you won't be able to compete this season. This would give a chance to recoup that time on campus."

Earlier this summer, Beloit College rolled out a reopening plan which includes breaking semesters down into two halves, where students take two classes each -- allowing for more flexibility with the pandemic whenever classes need to shift between online and in-person.

For the school of 1,000, administrators say all the innovation is necessary to keep the student experience as positive as possible through the pandemic, and to keep students coming back.

"Students don't have to worry about a trade-off between a fall that may look different than they're accustomed to and a fall that may look typical," Davidson said.

Students also don't have to decide if they want to take advantage of the extra semesters right now. This year's seniors can make the decision this spring, and this year's first-year students can decide at the end of their four years.

Andrew Merica

Reporter/Producer, 27 News

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