After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, many colleges opened their doors to students from Tulane University. After all, Tulane had to close for the second time in its history after the storm (the school also closed for the Civil War…an excellent reason for a school closing if you ask us!). After Katrina, the university remained closed for the first semester and if not for other institutions that welcomed these students in with open arms, they’d have had nowhere to attend college at the time. Well, Tulane University is now paying it forward, welcoming in Puerto Ricans who’ve been ravaged by Hurricane Maria as well as folks from the U.S. Virgin Islands and St. Martin grappling with the aftereffects of Hurricane Irma.
Tulane University Opens Up Its Heart
As Katie Reckdall writes in a piece entitled ” Tulane extends a helping hand to Puerto Rican college students” for “The New Orleans Advocate,” “The urge to do something was there as soon as Maria, a Category 5 storm, slammed into Puerto Rico last month. ‘As I was reading the news, I knew that there were ways to help the situation,’ said Jeff Schiffman, the director of Tulane’s Office of Undergraduate Admission…Then the light bulb went on, after a 2006 Tulane graduate walked into the undergraduate admissions office accompanied by her cousin, a college student from Puerto Rico who had evacuated to New Orleans. The Tulane alumna asked Schiffman, ‘Do you have anything set up for Puerto Rican students, like what schools did for us after Katrina?'”
“At that point, they had nothing in place. But Schiffman liked the idea. ‘So many schools opened up their hearts to us back then,’ he said, explaining how, after Katrina, Tulane students paid their tuition to Tulane but were able to attend other schools that gave them guest-student status but did not charge them tuition. In the end, a total of 600 schools waived tuition to help Tulane rebuild and get back on its feet financially. Schiffman went to work, discussing possibilities with Tulane administrators. Last week, Tulane announced the new program, which allows students from Puerto Rico to pay their spring tuition to their school at home while attending Tulane for a guest semester, with no tuition. The program is also open to students from other storm-affected areas such as the U.S. Virgin Islands and St. Martin/St. Maarten, a Caribbean island hit by Hurricane Irma.”
A Salute to Tulane University
There is no more fitting university than Tulane University to set the tone for universities across America to welcome in college students from Puerto Rico, St. Martin, and the U.S. Virgin Islands during this time of trouble. To allow these students to attend classes at Tulane — to welcome them in with open arms — all while these students pay tuition not to Tulane but rather to their home institutions — it’s a wonderful gesture that brings to mind a line from “Friday Night Lights”: “Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.” May more universities follow the example of Tulane. May more universities welcome in these college students and embrace them with full hearts as part of their communities during this difficult time. Ivy Coach salutes Tulane University and its director of undergraduate admissions, Jeff Schiffman, for putting this plan in place. Tulane University is truly paying it forward.