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Universities Open Doors to Displaced Students

Schools in Missouri are reaching out to displaced students whose schools were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. KSMU's Missy Shelton reports.

Missouri's education commissioner has notified all public schools in the state to quickly accept children who may be relocated because of Hurricane Katrina.

Commissioner Kent King says the children are technically considered homeless, and that means they will not need school or immunization records to enroll. He says the children also will automatically qualify for free or reduced meals.

As for universities in Missouri, many are changing their procedures to accommodate displaced students, including Missourians who were attending college in the hard hit regions along the Gulf Coast.

Don Simpson is the Assistant Vice President for Enrollment Services at Missouri State University.

Simpson says Missouri State has enrolled four students and has fielded inquiries from others who were attending schools like the University of New Orleans, Xavier University and Tulane.

Simpson says the faculty at Missouri State have been willing to accommodate the students who are arriving two weeks into the fall semester.

Because the semester is well underway, Simpson encourages displaced students to contact the university as soon as possible.

It's not just public universities that are extending an invitation to displaced students.

Drury University in Springfield has opened its doors as well.

Krystal Compas is Vice President for Enrollment Management at Drury.

Compas says it's important for academic institutions to reach out and do their part to help hurricane victims.

Compas says Drury University has already been contacted by one displaced student who is staying in Branson.

She says the university will work with any displaced students to accommodate them and get them in classes.