Tulane to Tufts

University welcomes 50 students from Gulf Coast

Nearly 50 Tulane University students displaced when Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans are spending the fall semester at Tufts. The majority of them—40 undergraduates—are attending classes as visiting students in the School of Arts and Sciences and School of Engineering. Others include two students at the School of Medicine; two at the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences; one at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and two at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

“President [Lawrence S.] Bacow started the ball rolling at the matriculation ceremony [on August 31], when he said that we would do what we could,” said Lee Coffin, dean of undergraduate admissions. “Over the course of the next several days, we had more than 200 inquiries from Tulane students.”

The American Council on Education, the major coordinating body for the nation’s colleges and universities, took on the task of pairing up institutions from the Gulf Coast with others around the country. Tufts was matched with Tulane. “Tulane is a small-to-medium-sized university with roughly a comparable academic profile and admissions profile to Tufts,” Coffin said.

The guest-student arrangement for undergraduates will be limited to one semester, Coffin said. The situation will be reviewed if Tulane fails to reopen for the spring semester. The visiting students were also required to agree not to apply for transfer admission to Tufts. Tufts has not charged the students tuition, but they are expected to fulfill their financial obligations to Tulane.

“One unusual dimension to the process is that the students had no credentials,” Coffin said. “The typical applicant, even for guest status, will be able to send a college transcript. But with Tulane flooded and their database down, we were asking students to provide any credentials that they could. Some had a grade report from last semester; some had a tuition bill; some freshmen had letters of admission or a high school transcript. It wasn’t the normal admission process.”

At the medical school, two Tulane students have been accepted for clerkships, according to Janet S. Kerle, associate dean for students. “We have offered additional slots, however, the medical schools in Texas have done a great job accommodating the displaced students, and it appears as though we will not have any additional students coming” to Tufts School of Medicine, she said.

A student from Tulane’s School of Public Health who is pursuing a concentration in nutrition is attending the Friedman School this semester, said Stacey Herman, director of student affairs at Friedman.

The Sackler School is hosting a first-year student who is studying pharmacology and experimental therapeutics and an advanced student who will be completing her dissertation research in one of the laboratories in the immunology program, according to Naomi Rosenberg, dean of the Sackler School.

Helene Ragovin is a senior writer for the School of Arts & Sciences in Tufts’ Office of Publications. She can be reached at helene.ragovin@tufts.edu.