By: Mariel Carbone | WCTV Eyewitness News
October 4, 2017
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- As residents in Puerto Rico continue to try and recover from the devastation of Hurricane Maria, organizations locally are chipping in to help.
That includes Florida State University.
The university could potentially take in one or more graduate students, medical students and students in other areas of study.
Specifically, the College of Law is expected to take in between 10 and 12 students.
"I reached out to the dean at the University of Puerto Rico when we saw that Hurricane Maria had pretty much devastated the island," said Erin O'Connor, Dean of the College of Law at FSU. "Ultimately they didn't suffer severe physical damage, which it fantastic, but, without electricity on the island they anticipate they'll be closed for at least a couple of month."
To assist, some affected law students are heading to Tallahassee.
The College of Law is waiving tuition and fees for those students who already paid in Puerto Rico.
O'Connor said the community has also come together to assist with housing, books and more. More than 80 local alumni responded to an email to assist. O'Connor called the offers generous and creative.
"I'm so proud to be here. It's been really really touching. You know we text our cash contributions and we give blood when we see a disaster but to have a personal connection to the people we're helping, I think that really matters and I think that's showing up all around us," she said.
The law students are expected to arrive for class by next Monday.
Dennis Schnittker with the Office of University Communications also said the university will be waving out-of-state tuition for students from Puerto Rico. Instead, they'll pay in-state tuition.
As of Monday, FSU admissions had received more than a dozen calls from Puerto Rican students, with questions ranging from those affected who are looking to transfer, to those already planning to attend but who missed taking their SAT/ACT because of the storm.
He noted that the situation is a fluid one, with details evolving as the week progresses.