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Free Online College Courses for Students Displaced by Hurricane Katrina

Leading consortium of universities to offer first ever special 8 week accelerated semester to keep students learning

(Atlanta, GA) – September 2, 2005  The Sloan Consortium, an international association of colleges and universities committed to quality online education, is offering students displaced by Hurricane Katrina an opportunity to continue their education at no cost.  In collaboration with the Southern Regional Education Board and with funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the special accelerated program will provide a wide range of courses to serve the learning needs of students at the community college, university and graduate level, regardless of academic discipline.  These courses will be given by major universities and other Sloan Consortium members. Students interested in finding out more about the program and the free courses can do so beginning Sunday September 4, 2005 at www.SloanSemester.org.

"We know that many colleges and universities in Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi will not be able resume their fall semesters and students are scrambling for alternatives," said Dave Spence, President of the Southern Regional Education Board.  "With the help of dozens of colleges and universities nationwide, we can now offer students key courses online to bridge them through this difficult time and eventually allow them to return to their home campuses."

The 8 week accelerated semester is being funded by a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation (www.sloan.org). Colleges and universities offering the courses will forgo tuition and fees to help students at institutions disrupted by Katrina.  "Online learning can be an important means of academic continuity in a time of crisis," said Frank Mayadas, Program Director, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.  "We are getting a tremendous response from both those who want to offer courses and from impacted institutions that need the help." At this time, the goal is to accommodate at least 10,000 student enrollments.

The Southern Regional Education Board (www.sreb.org) is the nation's first interstate compact for education based in Atlanta, Georgia.  Created in 1948 by Southern states, SREB helps government and education leaders work cooperatively to advance education and, in doing so, to improve the social and economic life of the region.  Included in its 16 member states are Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi.  SREB is governed by a Board that consists of the governor of each member state and four people that he or she appoints, including at least one state legislator and at least one educator. SREB is a nonprofit, nonpolitical organization. It is supported by appropriations from its member states and by funds from private companies, foundations, and state and federal agencies.

The Sloan Consortium (www.sloan-c.org) is the nation’s largest association of institutions and organizations committed to quality online education and administered through Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering and Babson College.  Its mission is to help learning organizations continually improve quality, scale, and breadth according to their own distinctive missions, so that education will become a part of everyday life, accessible and affordable for anyone, anywhere, at any time, in a wide variety of disciplines.