Officials at Concordia are in a race against time to aid relief efforts for displaced New Orleans students who have been forced to put their education on hold in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Provided that academic qualifications are met and spaces are available, visiting students from the Gulf Coast and New Orleans could begin arriving at Concordia as early as next week. University officials hope most U.S. students will make it in time for Concordia’s course add/drop deadline Sept. 20.
More than a week ago, thousands of American students along the U.S. Gulf Coast were busy buying books, setting up rooms and meeting new friends. Many students were attending orientations and their biggest problems involved getting around and standing in line to change a class schedule.
Now they’re scrambling to find admittance to other schools in the wake of what is being called America’s worst natural disaster.
“We’re trying to be as helpful as we can,” said Roger Cote, the executive director of Enrollment and Student Services at Concordia. “There are plenty of issues that have to be dealt with, but Concordia will make available all the resources possible.”
According to the Presidents of Colleges Association (PCA) on the Gulf Coast, and the American Association of Universities, Hurricane Katrina severely damaged more than 30 colleges and universities, shutting down operations and services and affecting as many as 100,000 students.
In New Orleans, Loyola University has cancelled all its fall classes and plans to reopen in January 2006. The University of New Orleans will also be closed until January but plans to make electronic classes available as early as October. The situation is similar in Mississippi and Alabama and all along the Gulf Coast.
The PCA also reports that there are over 10,000 foreign students who have been displaced by Katrina, creating unique immigration problems.
“There are a number of immigration issues we have to deal with,” Cote said. “Students attending US universities from different countries have different and unique immigration situations. We have to deal with different countries and it certainly creates some problems.”
Both the Concordia Student Union (CSU) and the job and housing bank are preparing to make accomodations. Vice President of Communications, Steven Rosenshein said all services available to Concordia students would be offered to visiting American students displaced by Katrina.
“We will make sure that we accommodate our fellow students and we will treat them with the same amount of respect we do everyone who attends Concordia,” Rosenshein said.
McGill University and Universite de Montreal also announced that they will provide room for New Orleans students. McGill is accepting students from Tulane University in New Orleans and the Universite de Montreal will accept students from the University of New Orleans.
For more information, contact Concordia’s International Students Office at (514) 848-2424 ext. 3514.