Hurricane Katrina’s Impact on Students
In 2005 during Hurricane Katrina, thousands of students were forced to evacuate Tulane University and Louisiana State University. Representatives at Tulane did not fully expect to have to close the school for the entire fall, but the semester was cancelled nonetheless. University officials from Tulane led an evacuation of hundreds of students.
Coping With The Situation
At the insistence of the American Council on Education and the Associate of American Universities, schools across the region opened their doors to enroll the displaced students. Southern Methodist University, Texas State, Oklahoma University, and many others lent a helping hand. Undergraduates and graduates became provisional students at other colleges for the upcoming fall semester. When Tulane eventually reopened in the following spring, the university transferred the credits earned by students from other institutions back to their home school. To help students graduate on time Tulane added another academic semester during the summer.
Setbacks To Students
Having to adjust to budget shortfalls, the Board of Administrators at Tulane reduced it’s annual operating budget in order to create a student-centric campus. Around 2,000 part-time employees were cut, as well as several academic programs. Although many residents did not return to their campus, those that did needed help coping with the tragedy, because there were several who knew someone who was lost during the disaster. Many students were uncertain as to what exactly they would be returning to. Countless individuals had their homes and lives completely destroyed.
Light at the End of the Tunnel
In spite of the devastation that Hurricane Katrina caused to New Orleans, the school has nonetheless made a tremendous rebound. In 2007 Tulane University endowment reached $1 billion. That was a first for the college in it’s entire 173 year history. Next, in 2008 Tulane was named one of the 25 “Hottest Schools in America” in Kaplan/Newsweek. Then in 2009 the Katrina class was honored at the commencement address where Tulane President Scott Cowen gave a heartfelt speech about whether he would ever see his students again. Also, more than 1,375 high school seniors committed to the university as the Class of 2011, which helped to increase enrollment from previous years. Today Tulane University is New Orleans’ largest private employer and a major economic driver in the region. The University’s best years are still ahead.