How Top Colleges Are Helping Puerto Rican Students After Hurricane Maria

November 10, 2017, 8:26 PM UTC

Even as Puerto Rico struggles to provide residents with basic needs like clean water and electricity following widespread damage caused by Hurricane Maria, some college students are getting a chance to return to university. And not just not on the island: New York University has followed the lead other top U.S. universities and is offering free tuition and board next semester to students from Puerto Rico.

Brown University, Cornell University, and Tulane are also offering similar tuition assistance programs for undergraduates in Puerto Rico affected by Hurricane Maria.

NYU began accepting applications Thursday. Only undergraduate students who are enrolled in accredited Puerto Rican colleges and universities can qualify for the assistance program. The students must be proficient in English. Students who took leave in the fall semester following Hurricane Maria are permitted to apply for the Hurricane Maria Assistance Program, the university said.

NYU will cover the cost of tuition for visiting undergraduate students, a special tuition designation that is currently $24,621 for the 2017-18 school year. The university will also pay for room and board, a full meal plan at NYU’s dining halls, and its student health insurance, which it estimates at about $2,558. Room and board at NYU costs $17,578 for the full school year.

However, this doesn’t mean students don’t have to cover any costs. Accepted students will be expected to pay their regular spring tuition bill to their home college or university in an effort to ensure that this program does not negatively affect schools in Puerto Rico, the university said in its announcement. Accepted students also have to arrange their own travel to and from New York City and pay for books and other course materials.

The Hurricane Maria Assistance Program application will be open through December 15. Spring registration for any student accepted into the program begins on Nov. 20 and will continue on a rolling basis.