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Harvard To Take in Students Affected by Hurricane

University to match donations up to $100

Following the lead of several Boston-area schools, Harvard announced today that a limited number of students enrolled at universities and colleges shut down by Hurricane Katrina would be welcomed this fall at the University.

Harvard will also match donations up to $100 made by students, staff, and faculty to specific charitable relief organizations.

Harvard’s announcement came a day after schools such as Tufts University and Boston University promised educational sanctuary for students from affected schools, such as Tulane University in New Orleans.

The University will provide some on-campus housing and will waive tuition costs for students who have already paid tuition to colleges and universities on the Gulf Coast.

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University spokesman John Longbrake said yesterday that students taken in by the College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences would most likely not be housed in occupied student housing, but in vacancies across campus.

“On-campus housing will be provided on a space-available basis and priority will be given to students rendered homeless by the storm,” Dean of the Faculty William C. Kirby wrote in a letter.

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Harvard’s Law School, College, Graduate School of Education (GSE), Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and Extension School have all announced their intentions to accept displaced students as “visiting students” for the semester.

Each of these schools will accept up to 25 students, with the exception of the Extension School, which will allow all students from affected schools staying within a commuting distance to enroll in courses tuition-free.

Additionally, the Extension School will offer spots in its 36 online courses to students affected by the storm who are not living within a commuting distance to Harvard. The Extension School will waive tuition fees for these online courses but will still charge these students, as well as its on-campus students, a $50 registration fee.

Harvard Law School said it would restrict entry to students at Tulane and Loyola law schools, while the College will process applications “on an expedited basis,” according to Kirby’s letter.

High-school students from the flooded areas who temporarily relocate to Boston will be allowed to enroll in introductory math, science, and language Extension School classes that satisfy the Advanced Placement requirements set forth by the College Board.

In a letter to the Harvard community, University President Lawrence H. Summers outlined the University's aid efforts.

"Our schools continue to seek out Harvard students and alumni who have been affected directly by this disaster."

The president added that the University was "focused especially on ensuring contact with current students in need and considering what special assistance they may require at this difficult time."

Harvard’s other graduate schools have not yet made decisions about accepting visiting students, although the deans of Harvard Business School (HBS) and the Harvard School of Public Health have made statements expressing concern and condolences for the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

According to the American Council of Education, 175,000 students are enrolled in colleges in the storm-ravaged areas of Southern Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama.

“The devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina have stunned us all,” Kirby wrote in his letter today. “The loss of life, destruction of property, and unimaginably severe conditions that remain in parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, are profoundly saddening. Our thoughts, prayers, and sympathies are with all those who have suffered from the storm and its aftermath, and naturally we want to do what we can as a university to help.”

Staff at several of Harvard schools, including the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the GSE, and HBS, are attempting to contact Harvard students who live in the affected areas in order to offer aid and assistance in returning to Cambridge for the fall term.

—Staff writer Joshua P. Rogers can be reached at jprogers@fas.harvard.edu.

—Staff writer Daniel J. T. Schuker can be reached at dschuker@fas.harvard.edu.

—Staff writer Lauren A. E. Schuker can be reached at schuker@fas.harvard.edu.

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