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official reaction to Katrina from NACAC (Nat. Assoc. of College Admission Counselors)

2400SAT2400SAT 190 replies11 threads Junior Member
I received this from a NACAC e-list I subscribe to. I thought the info might be interesting and helpful for CC'ers. Obviously even those in charge aren't quite sure what to do right now. Here goes:

NACAC is carefully monitoring the clean-up in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida. Our thoughts and prayers are with all affected by the storms and flooding. Although the primary focus should be on basic services to those affected, NACAC has been contacted by concerned parents about postsecondary options for their students who are enrolled in colleges affected by the storms. While it is too soon to know how the coming weeks will unfold, we encourage everyone to keep checking with colleges, universities and schools in the affected states, as many are probably in the midst of implementing their disaster recovery plans.

In the coming months, we urge colleges and universities across the nation to remain flexible in their admission processing this fall for students in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. Students in areas affected by the hurricane may face delays of weeks or even months of having access to school facilities to obtain the necessary requirements for application to college, including admission tests, high school transcripts, letters of recommendation, essays, and other application materials.

NACAC¹s mission is to assist students in transition to postsecondary opportunities. We all recognize that we are facing an unusual situation that calls for well-reasoned strategies. Requests have been made to have the association coordinate efforts to assist students who are now displaced until further notice. We wish to state first and foremost, that students, counselors and parents should continue to monitor efforts by the affected institutions. We also encourage everyone to use this opportunity as a counseling moment. While we do not wish to encourage students to seek admission outside of the affected areas, we do need to provide some counseling tips and make some resources available to assist them in their decision-making.

We hope that college and university personnel now receiving calls for late placements will remind parents that it may not be in the best interest of their child¹s education to attempt to move immediately to another institution. Some have encouraged parents to counsel their students to take the semester off and consider options for the spring, if institutions in the affected areas are not operational. Additionally, we are not aware how institutions will handle financial aid requests or tuition refund requests if students choose to leave one of the affected institutions. These are issues we need to raise with parents.

To assist with communications, NACAC has created a message board on our Web site for students and parents to communicate with colleges and universities and for our colleagues in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana to post the latest updates on their recovery efforts. As NACAC members learn of the status of colleagues or their institutions, we invite you to post such messages on the board as well.

If currently enrolled students contact other institutions seeking admission, please know this is not a violation of our Statement of Principles of Good Practice, NACAC¹s code of ethics.

We want to assist and inform parents and students if there are viable options of educational institutions that can accommodate the admission of displaced students, especially in the spring. We¹ll work with the media, related organizations and counselors to get the word out to students, parents and others seeking advice and updates.

Members in communication with international students whose attendance at institutions in the affected area are asked to ascertain, by contacting the institution when possible, when and where accommodations for international students can be made. Questions about SEVIS and other foreign student requirements may be directed to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Immigration and Customs Enforcement office, at http://www.ice.gov/graphics/sevis/contact.htm. Requests for change in status or institution will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis at DHS.

Our colleagues at ACT and the College Board are monitoring the situation as well, and as decisions are made to accommodate affected areas, will broadcast to members via the NACAC e-list. NACAC, SAT and ACT staff all will monitor the list for member concerns and issues arising in their communities. Members are encouraged to post all anticipated impacts resulting from Hurricane Katrina to the e-list or on the message board, which is available as a link from http://www.nacac.com.

NACAC programs in the affected areas‹the 61st National Conference, Sept.
22-24, in Tampa, FL; the Performing and Visual Arts College Fair, Sept. 27, in South Florida; and National College Fairs in Jacksonville, Sept. 17, and Birmingham, Sept. 18‹will continue as scheduled.

National conference and National College Fair staffs are in constant communication with convention facilities, hotels, and volunteers regarding weather conditions that may adversely affect existing and/or impending programs. Information from Tampa, Jacksonville and Birmingham indicates Katrina did not directly affect these areas.

In the event of cancellations due to weather conditions in the future, members should visit the NACAC Web site for special alerts and other information regarding scheduled programs.

Many members have asked about ways to assist colleagues and students affected by the hurricane. NACAC will post updated information on the Web site at http://www.nacac.com on volunteer/donation efforts, as well as the status of the reopening of local schools and colleges, as it becomes available.

NACAC President Frank Sachs urges everyone to be patient. ³We are all monitoring the news reports and are aware that cities in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama must first attend to the basic needs of their populations. As far as the status of students affected by the disaster, our national office staff and colleagues around the country are trying to reach reliable sources at high schools and colleges to keep us informed and connected. I too encourage members to use the message board for inquires and updates. NACAC will keep members informed as we learn more. There are outstanding educational institutions affected by this disaster and we extend our best wishes to them. We know they will pool their resources to open their doors to students, faculty and others as soon as possible. When we know, we¹ll support their efforts to inform the public.²

On our message board (http://www.websitetoolbox.com/tool/mb/jbrentzel) you will see a statement, released Tuesday morning, from Scott S. Cowen, Tulane University President, New Orleans, LA.

Thank you.
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