Small Suggestion

This idea has cropped up in a couple of variant forms in various places–Glenn Reynolds notes that the University of Tennessee has already taken 50 law students from Tulane and Loyola— but it’ll take quick action to systematically reproduce that kind of assistance . Academics are asking what Tulane, Xavier and Loyola intend to do next–the Tulane website has been compelling reading since Katrina hit. (Xavier and Loyola’s websites appear to have been taken out by the crisis, from what I can see tonight.)

Why not get a huge network of colleges and universities together, proportionately distribute the student bodies of all these institutions across the network, offer automatic transfer admissions to your size-adjusted and randomly designated proportion of that student population, with the New Orleans institutions agreeing to honor all credits taken at the host institution as if they were taken at Tulane, Xavier or Loyola. Treat the tuition paid to the New Orleans schools as if it were paid to your institution but allow Tulane, Xavier and Loyola to keep the tuition so they can make their bills for the academic year. (E.g., the host institutions would accept the transfer students as a freebie). Pay transport costs for the affected students and waive the cost of their room and board for the year as well. If there’s any desire to do it, just do it quickly and without quibbles and carping, as a way to help those institutions keep themselves intact and financially sound as institutions, considering that it’s likely to be at least a year before they can operate on any basis roughly comparable to what they were doing before Katrina hit. For senior undergraduates who were beginning culminating projects or research, or graduate students, try to work out some kind of ongoing distance connection to their faculty supervisors, and maybe even have the host pay to bring the faculty supervisors to visit their advisees for a week in the spring.

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11 Responses to Small Suggestion

  1. I’ve sent this around to my colleagues. I would think that public institutions would be the natural “first responders” in these situations, much as the National Guard is for search and rescue….

  2. Witchy Prof says:

    I haven’t seen much news coverage of Tulane University — did it withstand the storm enough to survive?

  3. isorkin1 says:

    Didn’t Swarthmore do a similar thing a year or two ago in taking a few students from some place in Bulgaria (?) whose school had…I forget. Point is, even Swarthmore can do it.

  4. The first reply I got from my colleagues contained an interesting suggestion: on-line courses could accomodate students (those whose family homes were not also in the region) with less logistical challenges.

  5. Timothy Burke says:

    Online would be fine too, except that I think it would take more, not less, complicated initial efforts to set up, and would probably require more, not less discussion from Tulane, Xavier and Loyola’s administrations about whether it’s a good idea or not.

    It may be that this small helpful gesture will best be accomplished by a series of ad hoc gestures by individual institutions–say, large public universities in a regional ring around New Orleans/Southern Mississippi. It’s already happening to a limited degree. But it seems to me the basic idea is important for the institutional continuity of those three universities–keep their money flowing in for a year, keep their students’ educational programs going as planned. Otherwise I think those three universities are going to face a very serious crisis next fall even if New Orleans is restored to some kind of functioning order: lots of their students will have transferred during the year and their intake of new students will likely be far smaller than normal.

    I’ve been thinking that another thing the federal government might plan on doing after the immediate crisis is over is building a large temporary office park to host New Orleans-area businesses that have some ability to continue their operations if only they’ve got access to a facility fairly near to the larger New Orleans metro area.

  6. librarygrrrl says:

    According to a friend who works there, Ole Miss is helping out some too.

  7. librarygrrrl says:

    UPenn too.

    “Penn expects to be able to accommodate as many as 100 undergraduate students. In addition, graduate and professional students will be considered on an individual basis, depending on available space.

    Penn will not be charging tuition to the displaced students, instead allowing tuition dollars to continue to be directed towards the students’ “home” school. If students have already paid their fall semester tuition to another college or university, Penn will provide available space in classes at no additional cost and will work with students to assure they remain eligible for federal financial aid.”

  8. Timothy Burke says:

    I forgot Dillard, by the way: my bad.

    Anyway, looks like this is kind of covered: I just worry now that there won’t be an adequate supply of ad hoc admissions of the kind that Penn and Ole Miss and Tennessee are doing, or that it’ll be left entirely up to the students to find these opportunities for themselves. The Tulane website entry of Sept. 1 almost makes it sound like they’re contemplating trying to open late for this semester, which strikes me as utter madness.

  9. turtel says:

    Emory in Atl appears involved as well. This is from their website ( :

    Emory is working actively with the Association of American Universities and other national higher education organizations to identify and respond to the needs of individual students and institutions. We believe that most, if not all, of these students will find places to continue their study, if they wish. Although most of our academic divisions are more than fully subscribed, we will enroll as transient students for the fall semester about 100 undergraduate students in Emory College, the School of Nursing, and the Business School. Enrolling these students in temporary status, rather than as transfers, protects the future viability of the institutions in which the students are currently enrolled.

    In response to the deans of Tulane Law School and Loyola (New Orleans) Law School, Emory Law School will admit some 40 second- and third-year students from those two schools as transient students. The Goizueta Business School MBA program has offered to enroll 30 to 40 second-year MBA students. The Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing also is accepting transient applications for graduate programs. Faculty and staff from the Rollins School of Public Health are working closely with the Tulane School of Public Health to address the academic needs of approximately three dozen international students evacuated from New Orleans to Atlanta. The Emory Libraries are offering to all faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students at institutions affected by Hurricane Katrina borrowing privileges, interlibrary loan privileges, and access to the Information Commons (databases) in Woodruff.

    The School of Medicine has received numerous inquiries from Tulane and LSU students and housestaff regarding the possibility of transferring to Emory. The AAMC and ACGME have asked that any change in student or resident assignments be coordinated nationally through these respective organizations. According to the most recent updates from the AAMC, the students from Tulane will continue their education in Houston and the students from LSU New Orleans will transfer to Baton Rouge. The AAMC website,, provides regular updates.”

  10. bj says:

    University of Washington is doing this as well (we got an e-mail from our president this morning). If you remember, Emmert, UW’s present used to be at Lousiana State.

    So far, they’re planning on undergraduates.

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