4 Ways To Respond To Unchurched Students BestsellerMagazine.com - CATEGORY Breaking news: TITLE NOLA.com You are signed in as Edit Public Profile Sign Out The Times-Picayune Newsletters RSS Feeds Mobile Apps >Tulane offers free semester program for students hit by Hurricane Maria Updated on October 16, 2017 at 4:42 PMPosted on October 16, 2017 at 3:30 PM Tulane is offering a free semester to college students in Puerto Rico who were affected by Hurricane Maria.(Photo by Sally Asher) By Wilborn P. Nobles III email@example.com, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune Thousands of college students in Puerto Rico were flooded out of their homes and schools nearly a month ago after Hurricane Maria hit the U.S. territory Sept. 20. As the island continues to struggle toward recovery, one New Orleans university is striving to aid students displaced by the Category 4 hurricane. Tulane University is offering a guest semester program to students from colleges and universities in Puerto Rico. Students must apply by Nov. 1 to attend Tulane in the spring semester, and Tulane will have admitted students pay spring tuition at their home college. The university's guest semester program was first announced in an Oct. 13 blog post from Tulane's admissions department. The program is also open to students affected by Hurricane Irma in the U.S. Virgin Islands and St. Maarten. Tulane is offering this option to students after the university's students received similar opportunities from universities nationwide after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. Robin Forman, Tulane's provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, stressed by phone Monday that "doing nothing was not an option" for Tulane in response to Maria's aftermath. "After Katrina, Tulane's very existence was called into question," Forman said. "We would not have survived in any way like the Tulane we are today if it hadn't been for several dozen universities stepping forward and supporting our students and our faculty." "We owe our existence to others and it's very much part of our essence that we look for opportunities to help others in the way that they've helped us." Although the logistics of the program are still being sorted out, Forman said Tulane wants guest students to use their tuition to support the recovery efforts at their respective colleges. Tulane's recent announcement has already attracted "expressions of interest" from more than 100 students, Forman added. "We are hoping that many more universities step forward to help the University of Puerto Rico and other universities that are facing the devastation of those hurricanes. It becomes a collective effort," he said. Forman said Tulane is already in touch with other colleges in the area eager to assist collegians affected by Maria. Although the recent circumstances differ from Katrina's impact on New Orleans, he stressed Tulane's offer is "very much aligned with the spirit of what universities offered our students." Students enrolling into Tulane will be deemed full-time, non-degree-seeking undergraduates in the Newcomb-Tulane College. Tulane will also offer advisors to these students, and students are required to return to their home colleges in Puerto Rico once the spring semester ends. Tulane is advising applicants to research off-campus housing options. The university is also seeking residents interested in housing a guest student for the semester. Residents willing to assist Tulane are asked to contact Jeff Schiffman, Tulane's director of admission who wrote the blog post. "It is our hope to be able to provide a temporary home to a group of students who have dealt with the challenges of Hurricane Maria and her aftermath," Schiffman wrote. "The city of New Orleans and Tulane hope to welcome you this spring to help you get your education back on track. New Orleans may not be your home, but we'll do our best to make your temporary shelter from the storm." Tulane's effort to aid students in Puerto Rico comes after several Florida colleges agreed to provide in-state tuition to students from the island. The Associated Press reported Oct. 14 that Maria caused 48 deaths in Puerto Rico. Gov. Ricardo Rossello's office stated about 85 percent of the island remains without power. He told the news service he plans to have power back for half of the island by Nov. 15. The University of Puerto Rico's 11 campuses closed due to Maria's impact. Although students from those universities have already been approved for Tulane's program, Puerto Rican students from other schools are asked to state their consent to the program to Satyajit Dattagupta, Tulane's vice president for enrollment management and dean of undergraduate admission. Students can find the application online (link here), and Tulane encourages applicants to attempt to get any form of transcripts or records of grades for the application. The university will even accept screenshots or photos of the documents. Students notified about their admission have until January 10 to accept Tulane's offer. . . . . . . . >Wilborn P. Nobles III is an education reporter based in >New Orleans. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at >@WilNobles.