University Students Displaced By Hurricane Maria Could Soon Be Going To School In Connecticut

Oct 5, 2017

The news at universities in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands is bad.

Communications are down. Power is spotty. Which all points to this: students can’t go to school.

Mark Ojakian, president of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities, says the state wants to change that.

“You know, this is very local for us. Because many of our students have relatives in Puerto Rico. Many of our faculty and staff have relatives and friends in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.”

Ojakian has submitted a proposal that would offer in-state tuition rates to displaced students from the University of Puerto Rico and the University of the Virgin Islands. They could come here, go to school, and also get support.

“A lot of these students may need counseling. They’ve just been through a very horrific event. If they’re going to pick up and leave their families and come here, they’re going to need help adjusting.”

The proposal still needs to be approved by the Board of Regents. Ojakian says he wants to get the idea moving now, so state universities are ready to begin taking in students in the coming weeks.

This report comes from the New England News Collaborative, eight public media companies coming together to tell the story of a changing region, with support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.