UA officials decided to offer in-state tuition to students attending higher education institutions in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands that have been damaged by Hurricane Maria.
Chancellor Joseph Steinmetz and Provost Jim Coleman decided to do this because universities in affected areas may not be reopened and operating by January 2018, said Steve Voorhies, manager of UA Media Relations.
When Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana in 2005, the damages shut down several schools in that area. The universities affected by Hurricane Katrina were not able to operate so UA officials decided to offer those students in-state tuition.
UA officials recognized the similarities between the situation caused by Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Maria, Voorhies said.
“This is an opportunity to offer students an education,” Voorhies said. “They can come here starting next semester for a semester or two until their own universities are ready to open again.”
Students must be academically qualified to be eligible for in-state tuition, meaning they have already been accepted into a higher education institution in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands or have the credentials the UofA would expect of U.S. students, Voorhies said.
UA enrollment officials are not sure whether they will be able to access students’ transcripts because of the damages done to their schools, Voorhies said. If transcripts cannot be accessed, the decision to award in-state tuition will be left to Suzanne McCray, the vice provost for enrollment and dean of admissions.
This initiative is an opportunity for the UofA to reach out to another academic institution in a time of need, Voorhies said.