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Pennsylvania's 14 state universities waive fees for hurricane-displaced students

Debra Erdley
| Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017, 4:39 p.m.
A student walks past the Keystone Education Center, at the California University of Pennsylvania on Friday, Oct. 15, 2016.
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
A student walks past the Keystone Education Center, at the California University of Pennsylvania on Friday, Oct. 15, 2016.

From tony Ivy League schools to struggling public institutions, universities and colleges on the U.S. mainland are moving to assist college students displaced by the hurricanes that ravaged the Caribbean earlier this year.

Pennsylvania's 14 state-owned universities this week moved to join the wave of schools offering various plans for such students.

The Board of Governors of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education temporarily waived out-of-state tuition and fees to students displaced by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. On Monday, they approved a permanent policy allowing its universities, which include California, Clarion, Edinboro, Indiana and Slippery Rock in Western Pennsylvania, to extend such offers to students displaced by natural disasters.

It's unclear whether any of the PASSHE schools have enrolled or had inquiries from any of the tens of thousands of students displaced by the hurricanes that have struck college campuses in the Caribbean.

“But the new policy would allow students to access courses during our winter term, which offers many online courses,” state system spokesman Kenn Marshal said.

The policy provides for a waiver of fees and discounts on out-of-state tuition as low as 102 percent of in-state for such students. It is similar to a policy the State University of New York adopted last month providing in-state tuition for students from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Elsewhere, schools have launched programs that are even more generous. They range from one at the University of Florida that will offer free online courses to such students beginning this spring, to a complete waiver of fees and room and board costs for 50 students at Brown University in Providence, R.I.

New York University and Cornell University have announced they will offer packages similar to Brown's to a limited number of students from Puerto Rico.

Debra Erdley is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 412-320-7996, derdley@tribweb.com or via Twitter @deberdley_trib.

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