NACAC Urges Support and Flexibility for Students and Schools Affected by Natural Disasters

As wildfires force thousands from their homes in Northern California and residents in Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Puerto Rico, the Caribbean, and other areas deal with the horrific aftermath of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, NACAC urges continued support for colleagues, students, and others affected by natural disasters. We also cannot forget about those impacted by the recent earthquake in Mexico or the floods in South Asia.

NACAC encourages US colleges, universities, and others involved in the college admission process to show flexibility to students whose communities have been affected by natural disasters.

Students in the affected areas may not have their official transcripts or financial records to submit in the application process. Counselors and other school officials may not be available to prepare letters of recommendation to complete an application as normally requested. In addition, please be aware that Puerto Rican students may seek educational opportunities in many of our mainland communities while clean-up begins on the island.

In response to the growing need in communities across the country, NACAC has created a digital resource to assist counselors working with students affected by catastrophic events. Many institutions have provided campus contacts and a direct link to information on their websites for students affected by the devastation.

We urge school counselors, community-based counselors, independent counselors, and others on the high school side to use this tool to assist impacted students as they make their college plans.

We encourage educational institutions to consider what criteria they may use for these students who may not have academic credentials or the financial means to apply for admission. Please give some consideration to their situations. Furthermore, if you are working with international students, please consult an organization such as NAFSA on how best to support this population of students

NACAC member Thomas B. Hassett, associate vice president for global enrollment and engagement at Gannon University (PA), contacted the association with this plea on behalf of hard-hit students and families:

Hello dear colleagues,

Some of you know that my tenure in admissions includes working with colleagues and students from the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico — for over 30 years. I have been in contact with many guidance counselors from both territories who are deeply concerned that the impact of two hurricanes will include the inability of students to make application to their preferred college in time for deadlines. Is it unreasonable that some collective awareness and discussion can lead to a positive consideration of these students who remain at a disadvantage in getting basic utilities let alone a context from which to make informed decisions in a timely manner?

If such consideration is underway, then please accept my deep gratitude.

Looking for ways to help? Consider donating to the Red Cross today.

We will update the NACAC website with information from recovery efforts in areas affected by the recent natural disasters.

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