Thousands of young Latter-day Saints took advantage of the change in age for missionary service after it was announced almost two years ago. It won’t be long before some of those missionaries will be coming home. KUER’s Dan Bammes reports the University of Utah is making plans to accommodate them.
Normally, about 3400 incoming freshmen enroll at the University of Utah each year. But Matt Lopez, the U’s Director of Admissions, says that because church leaders lowered the age for missionary service, about 300 students from that group decided to put off going to college last year.
Some of them took advantage of a deferment program that allowed them to apply and be admitted to the university before they started their missions.
Lopez tells KUER, “We’re expecting, probably, about 275 of these students that took advantage of the deferment process to return to the university. So we’ve had time and we obviously have statistics to be able to prepare ourselves.”
Lopez says other colleges and universities in Utah’s system of higher education are also making plans to accommodate returning missionaries, but those with open enrollment won’t know how many more students will be signing up until classes begin.
Women are allowed to begin missionary service in the LDS church at age 19 and finish after 18 months. Men can start at age 18 and serve for two years.
Church leaders said this week the number of missionaries around the world is expected to peak at about 88,000 later this year.