Posted: September 7, 2005

Contact: Doug Anderson,, 651-201-1426

The 32 Minnesota State Colleges and Universities can accommodate at least 300 students whose college educations were disrupted by Hurricane Katrina, officials of the system said today.

Chancellor James H. McCormick of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities said that the system's 53 campuses have openings to accommodate students who were enrolled at colleges and universities now closed by hurricane damage. A toll-free number, 1-800-456-8519, has been set up to assist students in finding openings.

"I have spoken with higher education leaders in Louisiana and heard about the destruction there on college and university campuses," said McCormick. "Our hearts go out to these students and their families, and we will do what we can to help them continue their education."

McCormick said the system is coordinating its efforts with higher education officials in the affected states and nationally to lend some support until Louisiana and Mississippi colleges and universities resume classes.

College and university officials will work with individual students displaced by the floods to help them enroll and obtain assistance such as tuition support or deferrals, financial aid, scholarships and assistance with other expenses.

Besides making openings available at college campuses, the system offers more than 1,000 course sections and hundreds of programs online through Minnesota Online. Students who have access to the Internet and who wish to take online classes can get information at

People who are interested in donating funds to assist these students with college-related expenses can call the same 800 number or send a contribution, which is deductible as a charitable donation, to the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Foundation, Wells Fargo Place, 30 7th St. E., Suite 350, St. Paul, MN 55101-7804.

System officials plan to work closely with the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development to provide workforce training assistance to people who are relocated to Minnesota from the Gulf Coast, including those who are housed temporarily at Camp Ripley and move to other locations in Minnesota.

In addition to those efforts, students, faculty and staff at colleges and universities throughout the system are conducting fund drives and donating supplies to help victims of the flooding in New Orleans and other hurricane-ravaged areas.