Evacuees start seeking admission

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Although shopping period is nearing an end, Yale students may notice a few new faces in their classes in coming days as the University prepares to enroll 20 to 25 students from colleges in New Orleans for the fall semester while their schools rebuild after the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina.

Over the weekend, the University notified undergraduates from affected colleges that they could submit applications to study at Yale College for one semester on a temporary, nonresidential basis in the Non-Degree Special Students Program.

Before announcing details of the application process, the admissions office received dozens of inquiries from displaced students looking for a school at which to continue their studies after the hurricane. As of Tuesday afternoon, 10 formal applications had been received, Yale College Dean Peter Salovey said last night.

A priority in the admissions process is getting students onto campus and into classrooms as soon as possible, Salovey said. He said the number of students that the University plans to admit will not strain the capacity of the school, but ordinary restrictions may apply for admission into seminars and other classes where enrollment is capped. The regular prerequisites will also apply to visiting students.

“They may not be able to get into every class they want to, but we suspect there will be room in most courses,” Salovey said.

Students will earn credit that will carry over at their home institutions, but they cannot live on campus because there is no housing available.

“We indicated that students would have to demonstrate they could provide housing,” Yale President Richard Levin said. “Presumably it would be people with friends or family in the nearby area.”

In addition to looking for students who already have somewhere to live near Yale, Salovey said the admissions office is reviewing students’ transcripts. Both Levin and acting Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Margit Dahl said they anticipate more students will submit applications than can enroll.

“I wrote an e-mail to all of them … urging them to explore other options since we undoubtedly will not be able to admit them all,” Dahl said.

Levin said Yale’s target of 20 to 25 New Orleans students is comparable to the number that other Ivy League universities plan to enroll.

Harvard University announced Friday that it would accept 25 students from the Boston region affected by the hurricane through the Harvard College Visiting Undergraduate Students program. Unlike Yale, Harvard has some on-campus housing available that will be given first to students who were rendered homeless by the storm. In addition, the Harvard Extension School will allow any affected students who live within commuting distance of campus to take courses, while all affected students are eligible to take online courses through the school.

Guidelines for admitting students from affected New Orleans colleges were crafted by a coalition of nine higher education organizations, including the American Association of Universities and the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. Up to 100,000 students from more than 30 colleges and universities have been displaced by the hurricane, according to the presidents of the organizations.

The guidelines specify that students should be only provisionally enrolled for classes at other colleges, so that they remain students of their home institutions. They also request that students from New Orleans colleges not be charged tuition except by their home institution.

“We hope each of our member institutions will hear the call for help from their Gulf Coast colleagues and find ways to honor these important financial requests as they continue their unprecedented efforts of assistance,” the presidents of the organizations wrote in a joint statement.

Tulane President Scott Cowen told students in a message posted on Tulane’s emergency Web site that he has received an “avalanche of support” from other universities. Tulane expects to reopen for a spring semester, he wrote.

“I know that a number of students elected not to enroll in other colleges/universities this fall and want to return to the campus and city as soon as possible,” Cowen wrote.

At a meeting Monday night, Yale student organizations working on the campus relief effort discussed the possibility of creating a “Big Sib/Little Sib” program for the students. If realized, the program would be one of many projects now under the umbrella organization HERO, or Hurricane Emergency Relief Organization. Salovey said the University will also take steps to bring visiting students into the life of the college, specifically by assigning them to a residential college master who will serve as an adviser during their time at Yale.

“I’ve been very pleased that many student organizations have contacted me about wanting to hold an event at which they can invite students from the Gulf states to join them,” Salovey said.

Students discuss and plan relief efforts for victims of Hurricane Katrina. The University will admit students as part of the effort.
Han Xu
Students discuss and plan relief efforts for victims of Hurricane Katrina. The University will admit students as part of the effort.

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