Thousands of students in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands have had their education interrupted as a result of Hurricane Maria. Now, Connecticut State Colleges and Universities are offering to open their classrooms to these students. It may not be the vision students on the islands may have had, but it may become their reality.
President Mark Ojakian of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities submitted a proposal that would allow students from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands impacted by hurricane Maria to continue their studies at CSCU.
“I think it’s a good idea,” said CCSU freshman Devyn Rockefeller. “Give them more opportunity to educate themselves while their homes are being repaired.”
If the proposal is passed, displaced full-time and part-time students from the University of Puerto Rico and the University of the Virgin Islands can attend one of the four CSCU universities, or 12 community colleges. Students would pay in-state tuition rates.
How many students could come to Connecticut, however, is up in the air according to CSCU spokeswoman Maribel La Luz.
“We haven’t gotten a specific request yet,” said La Luz “And probably because communication right now is really difficult. It’s logistically difficult to communicate with actual universities and colleges.”
A hurdle they’ll face until the power is restored on the island. Until then, La Luz said, “We just want to be ready and prepared if and when we get that request, because it’s an issue that’s close to home for a lot of our faculty, a lot of our staff, a lot of our students, and just the surrounding communities.”
NBC Connecticut spoke with CCSU students who look forward to the potential campus addition. Freshman Chloe Chance says it’s a good opportunity to expand campus diversity.
“Usually just people from Connecticut come here, so it’d be great to have people from other places beside Connecticut,” she said.
CCSU junior James Simpson agrees. “They’re the territories. I think because of the hurricanes and everything, I think it’s a great idea – help everybody out.”
The Finance Committee will review the proposal Wednesday, Oct. 11. If passed, a resolution will go before the full Board of Regents for a vote on Thursday, Oct. 19.