Southeast Welcoming Students Displaced by Katrina

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo.,

Sept. 2, 2005 – Southeast Missouri State University announced today it will immediately enroll college and University students displaced by the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina.

The action comes at the request of the Southeast Missouri State University Board of Regents after Regent Al Spradling III of Cape Girardeau made the recommendation at a meeting yesterday.

Kenneth W. Dobbins, president of Southeast Missouri State University, said Southeast is offering students displaced by Katrina in-state fees and merit and need-based scholarships regularly offered to incoming freshmen.

“We will offer them scholarship packages which they would have qualified for if they enrolled at Southeast,” Dobbins said.

Dobbins said Southeast also will defer students’ federal financial aid packages in an effort to speed up the processing time. Dr. Debbie Below, director of admissions and enrollment management, said Southeast will look for guidance from the U.S. Department of Education in this process.

As of today, Southeast has had two students enroll, including one from the St. Louis area who was attending Xavier University this fall and another from the state of Mississippi. In total, Southeast has had about a dozen inquiries from displaced students – ranging from freshmen to seniors from Xavier University, Tulane University and  Loyola University, all in New Orleans, and the University of Southern Mississippi at Hattiesburg — seeking college admission elsewhere this fall.

Dobbins and Below said students seeking admission for the fall 2005 semester need to act quickly and enroll by Friday, Sept. 9. After that, students will have missed too much coursework for the fall semester. Classes at Southeast began Aug. 22.

Below says Southeast does not want to take students away from their home universities, but rather wishes to lend a helping hand to those coming from the disaster-ridden Gulf Coast.

“We’re just trying to do what we can to help during this grave disaster,” Below said, adding Southeast still has a limited number of residence hall vacancies for those seeking on-campus living. “We will work with them on a case-by-case basis.”

Dobbins said Southeast needs assistance from the public in getting the word out to students who have been displaced by Katrina and still wish to enroll in college courses this fall. Southeast also is working with the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, which is coordinating offers of assistance from its 400-plus member universities and colleges.

Displaced students interested in enrolling at Southeast this fall or their family and friends assisting them are asked to contact the Office of Admissions at Southeast Missouri State University at (573) 651-2590. Information about Southeast also is available at www.semo.edu.