Tulane University remembers what it is like to have your campus destroyed by a powerful hurricane, so in the wake of Hurricane Maria's direct hit on the island of Puerto Rico -- the New Orleans-based university wants to "pay it forward."
Tulane announced late last week that it will offer any student from a college or university in Puerto Rico a tuition-free guest semester at Tulane during the Spring of 2018.
Tulane's admissions blog goes on to explain that all an interested student will need to do is fill out a short application and pay spring tuition to his/her home university. Tulane officials say they will make every effort to accommodate students who cannot obtain a transcript or other academic records that may have been lost or damaged in the storms, and it will also make every effort to help these visiting students find free or reduced housing in and around Tulane's Uptown New Orleans campus.
The announcement is being met with widespread praise on social media, especially from Tulane alums who were displaced for an entire semester following Hurricane Katrina.
"Honestly, I almost cried", Tulane alum and New Orleans native Victoria Griggs told Circa about how she felt when she heard about Tulane's aid offer. "I just thought, this is how the world should be. Tulane students experienced so much pain during and after Katrina. I couldn't be more proud that the administration has chosen to use that painful experience as motivation to make the world better."
During Fall 2005, Tulane University was forced to close for the entire semester due to the widespread damage caused to the city of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina. All Tulane students either had to enroll at another school or take the semester off.
For students who attended other colleges and universities, Tulane asked those schools to allow Tulane students to attend classes, free of charge, and without the typically required college transcripts and records.
"It was my senior year," Tulane alum Ariel Baverman explained to Circa while reflecting on her "Katrina" semester at Oglethorpe University. "Having to worry about whether this storm could potentially derail the rest of my life plans was too huge to fathom. Being able to attend school, when I couldn't reach my teachers gave me back a sense of normalcy. I wasn't sitting at home every day stressing about what was or wasn't happening. I could continue to work on my education and I was still able to graduate on time."
Tulane is also extending the offer for next semester to any students from the U.S. Virgin Islands and St. Maarten. Both of those islands were hit hard by Hurricane Irma.