Rollins opens enrollment to students displaced by Maria

The Winter Park college has offered help to college students in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean who have been affected by Hurricane Maria.

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  • | 10:35 p.m. October 19, 2017
  • Winter Park - Maitland Observer
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Since Hurricane Maria tore its way through the Caribbean in September, people from around the country have been looking to help in the relief and recovery process.

Help has come in many shapes and forms, and Rollins College is looking to do what it can to help college students affected by the deadly storm.

Current collegians at Puerto Rican and Caribbean colleges and universities are being offered assistance in the form of a discounted semester at Rollins for the 2018 spring semester in Winter Park.

“We are pleased to be able to offer this opportunity to Puerto Rican and Caribbean students,” Rollins College President Grant Cornwell said in a statement. “Our mission dictates that we educate our students for global citizenship and responsible leadership, and what better time to act on that mission than when we can offer assistance to our neighbors suffering from a natural disaster.”

Students that meet eligibility will be able to take in the spring semester at Rollins for a rate of $8,500, a cut from the standard tuition of around $30,000. The $8,500 not only will cover the tuition itself but also costs for room and board. Books and other supplies will not be covered.

Although the discount is for just the spring semester, the students who enroll in the program are allowed to continue their studies for the 2018-19 semester as long as they have kept a good academic standing. They also will become eligible for financial aid.

The concept of offering lowered tuition to college students in the Caribbean came fairly quickly for the administration at Rollins once officials realized what the islands would be facing.

The conversation held was looking at any means to help out those college students that were in need, so the idea to offer a special semester tuition discount came up, said Vice President for Enrollment Management Faye Tydlaska.

 “We know that they are struggling in a lot of ways, and that they have been displaced, and one of the last things that they should really have on their mind is how are they going to continue their education for the spring semester,” Tydlaska said. “So it was really kind of designed with that thought in mind and also knowing that we have so many students and so many families who are coming to Central Florida – at least temporarily – while the island gets back together.”

Along with the school’s efforts to help victims of Maria, Tydlaska said that it also has been working with current Rollins students who are from the Caribbean, while student organizations and other community groups on campus have been holding drives and fundraisers to offer assistance.

To be eligible for the tuition discount, those applying must be currently enrolled in Puerto Rican or Caribbean college and go through the process of filling out an application for Rollins, as well as submit college transcripts.

Although there is no set due date to have everything turned in, college officials’ hope is students will get the paperwork in sooner rather than later, Tydlaska said. The hope is anyone interested in joining Rollins for the spring semester will do so no later than Dec. 15.

“Obviously, we would like students who are considering to apply as early as possible, so we can get them evaluated and that we can work with them to where there is enough time for them to be kind of comfortably settled on our campus in the spring,” Tydlaska said. “But we understand that some students may not know what they’re going to do for that spring semester until late November, early December, so we will be as flexible as we can with those students.”