September 16, 2005
The University of Louisiana at Monroe has established two funds through the ULM Foundation Office to accept donations for ULM students who were affected by Hurricane Katrina.
Approximately 850 students attending ULM have been affected in some way. A majority of those students were already enrolled at ULM and around 260 enrolled as a result of their home university not having classes due to the hurricane.
"Many of these students will be without financial resources to continue their studies and have no home to which they can return," said ULM President James Cofer.
A fund entitled, ULM Katrina Student Relief Fund, has been created to assist students in meeting short-term, temporary financial obligations to continue their education at ULM.
"Our other job is to help the hundreds of fellow college students from the seven universities now closed in New Orleans who are currently enrolling at ULM," said Cofer.
"Many of them were evacuated with little more than the clothes on their backs. I ask for your support for all these students at this time of great need. The people of Louisiana are resilient and, with time, we will make it through this tragedy. Your help and concern will provide the support our students and fellow faculty members need to endure these trying times. I appreciate your assistance," Cofer added.
Another fund has also been established to allow other universities to become involved in helping ULM. The College to College Aid fund is a direct link for students at other universities to help to assist each other.
"The goal is to provide a personal connection to students who have been affected by disaster. Its concept is to provide for 'students to help students' who have lost their homes, families, and income. No money from the College to College Aid will be spent towards the administration of funds," Cofer said.
ULM will collect the funds and transfer them to a statewide organization account.
To give to either account, visit http://www.ulm.edu/katrina/. From this page, you will find a direct link to either fund.
ULM has established a five-person committee to evaluate requests for the aid. The committee includes the director financial aid, director of recruiting and admission, coordinator of the relief center, and the controller and executive director of the foundation.
The committee will consider academic progress, financial aid including need, and expected use of the funds before disbursement.
"The committee will make every effort to assure that the funds will be utilized by students to continue their education," Cofer said. "The funds collected by the foundation will be used to supplement the monies dedicated by the university to aid hurricane victims."
In addition to creating these accounts, ULM has a new volunteer helping coordinate all relief efforts on campus. ULM's First Lady, Deborah Cofer, is working as the relief center coordinator.
"Whether you are a continuing student at ULM or a visiting student we want you to know we are here to make the next few weeks and months as easy as possible," said Deborah Cofer, in a letter to the students.
In addition, students are urged to visit the Federal Emergency Management Agency online at www.fema.gov, or register thorough the Online Individual Assistance Center at 1-800-621-FEMA to see if they are eligible for assistance as well as their families. Mrs. Cofer says it is important to have your Social Security number and banking information. In addition, she adds students should keep their claim number in a safe place.
Next, students are encouraged to talk to a financial aid counselor. "Your second step is to go by the Financial Aid Office on the first floor of the Administration Building to begin the process of qualifying for additional assistance," she said.
Mrs. Cofer says students affected should their contact financial aid counselor if he or she needs a job or funds for school related expenses. Students who need immediate assistance with book and school supplies are directed to go directly to the ULM Bookstore and inquire about a book voucher.
To contact the Katrina Relief Center, call 318-342-7777.