Katrina evacuees transfer elsewhere


    Out of the 47 misplaced students who enrolled at TCU after Hurricane Katrina hit, seven students still attend; the remainder have transferred elsewhere or returned to New Orleans, said the dean of admissions.Ray Brown, dean of admissions, said he worked with more than 200 students in August 2005, but was only able to admit 47 students because TCU was already at full capacity before the hurricane hit.

    Aaron Newton, 23, said he was forced to return home to Fort Worth when Xavier University in Louisiana closed after Hurricane Katrina.

    “Many students just picked schools randomly,” Newton said. “I wanted to be closer to home and TCU had a process where you filled out an application and had classes the very next day.”

    Jose Valdes, a sophomore business major who originally attended Loyola University in New Orleans, enrolled at TCU this semester from Texas A&M College Station.

    “I went to Texas A&M in College Station for a year after Katrina hit, but didn’t like it,” Valdes said. “All of my friends are here and I love the school.”

    Valdes, originally from Guatemala, said teachers and Admissions Staff have been very understanding and helpful, and said he plans to graduate from TCU.

    Valdes said he should be a junior, but said not all of his classes transferred when he came to TCU.

    Newton also said he lost credits when transferring to TCU, which is why he transferred back to Xavier University this fall.

    “I am a senior and have 30 more hours to take, and staying at TCU would mean I would have to take about 60 more hours,” Newton said.

    Brown said the application process for hurricane victims was very flexible. The process required students to fill out a short application and submit any grade sheets or academic documents that they still had, he said.

    The same tuition rate and financial aid was applied to those students, but the payment plans were flexible, Brown said.

    “Only one student complained,” Brown said. “Everyone was just very grateful to have a home.”

    The Fort Worth Independent School District also accommodated students displaced by the hurricane.

    Out of the 143 campuses in FWISD, 126 met the needs of Hurricane Katrina victims, said Sharon Parker, external communications coordinator for FWISD.

    There were 1,477 student evacuees in the FWISD over the course of the 2005-2006 school year, and out of those, 383 students still remain, Parker said.