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NEWS

Sept. 2, 2005

RSU Offering Assistance to Hurricane Victims

Rogers State University, in conjunction with the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, has offered to provide assistance for students and educational institutions severely impacted by urricane Katrina.

Assistance offerings include enrollment, tuition waivers and use of RSU facilities for students and faculty who have been displaced because of the hurricane. RSU will work with individual students to admit and enroll those who were scheduled to attend college in the affected area but who are unable to do so because of the hurricane's devastating impact.

“When dealing with displaced students who want to temporarily continue their educational pursuits at RSU, our first priority will be to see that their immediate needs are met and to assist them with the enrollment process,” said RSU President Dr. Joe Wiley.

RSU also is working to assist current RSU students who serve as military reservists and have been deployed to the disaster area.

The university, in conjunction with the State Regents office, has been authorized to provide tuition wavers for Oklahoma residents and out-of-state tuition wavers for non-residents who were to attend ollege in the affected area.

“During extraordinary circumstances such as this, our first concern is the welfare of the students,” Wiley said. “Any financial considerations will be of secondary importance.”

The State Regents’ office is serving as a clearinghouse for academic assistance being offered by Oklahoma’s colleges and universities. RSU has offered campus facilities (classrooms, computer systems, compressed video facilities, etc.) that could be used by faculty and student cohorts from affected institutions. While the university enrollment in its nursing, emergency medical service and paramedic programs are filled, RSU will make available its nursing and emergency health services facilities during alternative time periods for faculty and student cohorts from affected institutions.

RSU's on-campus housing currently is filled to capacity, however the university has started contacting area organizations to identify housing options that might provide shelter for students and faculty displaced by the hurricane.

The university will offer, based on need, special eight-week courses this fall that will help meet educational needs for students from affected institutions. These courses could be delivered via traditional classroom instruction, online, or compressed video.

RSU currently offers more than 100 classes via its online campus at www.rsu.edu/rsuonline/index.asp for the fall 2005 semester. RSU will work with displaced students to enroll them in the university’s online classes.  and degree programs, which include three bachelor’s degrees and four associate’s degrees entirely online. In addition, RSU will make available its computer resources to students who have been displaced to the area but are enrolled online at another college or university.

RSU student groups, including the American Red Cross Corps at RSU, have initiated campaigns to raise money earmarked to assist disaster relief efforts. The campus Red Cross chapter also held a blood drive on Wednesday, Aug. 31. Student organizers reported this event attracted twice as many students, faculty and staff participants compared with previous events because of the call to assist relief efforts. In addition, RSU's campus radio and television stations are airing public service announcements to raise awareness of local and national relief efforts.

Counseling services, offered through the RSU Student Health Center, are available to displaced students and RSU students, faculty and staff who have been personally impacted or emotionally affected by the disaster.

RSU faculty and staff who are aware of student-related issues regarding the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina are asked to contact the RSU Office of Student Affairs at (918) 343-7579 or email Dr. Michael Turner, Dean of Student Affairs.

RSU faculty members who have ideas regarding how RSU can assist the educational institutions impacted by the hurricane are asked to contact Dr. Larry Minks, Vice President for Academic Affairs, at (918) 343-7615.