Eastern offers in-state tuition to displaced students

Staff Report

University personnel are working on ways to help students displaced by Hurricane Harvey enroll at Eastern.

Students whose education has been disrupted because of the storm will be given in-state tuition rates and can have all application and late fees waived, Eastern President David Glassman announced in a press release.

According to the release, employees will work with students affected by the storm to develop flexible payment plans and find them available sources of financial aid.

Admissions director Kelly Miller said in the press release that the university plans to work with students as “expeditiously as possible to help with the admissions and class registration processes.”

Eastern is prepared to help displaced students with enrollment for both Fall 2017 and Spring 2018.

“The EIU community embraces these students and their families and is committed to helping them during this difficult time,” she said.

Classes officially began Aug. 21 for the Fall 2017 semester.

Josh Norman, associate vice president of enrollment management, said getting the students into classes at this point in the semester is not a normal process, but it is important.

“When you’ve got 30,000 people who are displaced from their homes and hundreds of thousands of homes that are flooded— just my heart just hurts for these people,” Norman said.

Norman said Ryan Hendrickson, dean of the graduate school, suggested doing something about students affected by Hurricane Harvey to some other administrators.

After this, Norman sent out an email to staff members such as the registrar, admissions director and the person who oversees campus advisement to see what they could do.

“This is what we’re committed to doing for potential students and families on a one-on-one basis,” Norman said. “They come in and we’re just like, ‘We’re going to figure it out.’ We’re going to work with faculty to make it work, (we’ll) work with classes, work with the director of admissions.”

In drastic situations when this kind of help is needed, Norman said it is important to outline abnormal processes to meet people’s needs.

“I think that with the hurricane making landfall as recently as it did, we’re just getting to the point where people are going to be thinking about these sort of things right now,” Norman said. “(While) some of those folks are just like, ‘Where am I going to sleep tonight?’”

Students will be served on a case-by-case basis.

“They’re going to tell us what they need. We’re going to do everything we can to help them,” Norman said.

For alumni who are in areas affected by the storm, the university will re-print their damaged diplomas for free.

“This is just such a caring campus. I think we’re known for our heart for people,” Norman said.

While Norman said he is not sure of the exact universities impacted by Hurricane Harvey, the university wanted to get the word out there, as they knew there would be a general need for help.

“We want to be there to offer that support to students and families if needed,” he said. “We wanted to offer that hand to help.”

Those who need help can contact the Admissions Office at 1-877-581-2348 or [email protected] for more information.

The News staff can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].