MADISON ― Students displaced from Gulf Coast colleges and universities by Hurricane Katrina will not be required to pay tuition costs for the Fall 2005 semester if they are enrolled at any of the University of Wisconsin System’s 26 campuses.

The humanitarian relief was announced today by UW System President Kevin P. Reilly after consultations with Regents, university leaders, legislative leadership and the governor.

“Hurricane Katrina profoundly disrupted the lives of thousands of Gulf Coast residents, and UW campuses want to help as best they can,” Reilly said. “We can truly help displaced students seeking admission this fall, many of whom are Wisconsin residents choosing to return home to continue their college education.”

The move followed a resolution passed unanimously by the Board of Regents last Friday to work with the Legislature to eliminate costs for a class of students the Regents identified as “Hurricane Katrina Victims.” The policy to waive tuition for these students will expire following the Fall 2005 semester.

If any of these students wish to compete for admission, and complete their degree in Wisconsin, they will be charged for all the UW credits they earn and apply toward a UW degree. However, it is expected that the majority of displaced students will apply credits earned in Fall 2005 at their home institutions, where they have already paid tuition. UW System institutions may seek reimbursement from the home institutions where those students had already paid tuition.

“I’m pleased that we are able to work hand-in-hand with legislative leadership and the governor to support these students when they need it most,” Reilly added.  “Even though we are stretching our capacity in these extraordinary circumstances, this action will not affect enrollment, financial aid or support services for current UW students. Serving students remains our No. 1 priority.”

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Doug Bradley UW System 608-265-0548