Colorado Schools Open Doors To Houston Students

By Kelly Werthmann

DENVER (CBS4) – Many schools and college campuses are in Harvey’s path of destruction across southeast Texas.

Drone video captured by Marco Luzuriaga in shows the University of Houston surrounded by floodwater.

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(credit: Marco Luzuriaga)

Most schools impacted by the hurricane-turned tropical storm are closed through Labor Day due to damage. However, if universities need to keep their doors shut longer, Colorado colleges are opening theirs.

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Lori Kester (credit: CBS)

“I want them to know we are here for them and we’re ready to take them in when they’re ready to come,” said Lori Kester, Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management at Metropolitan State University of Denver.

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(credit: CBS)

Kester told CBS4’s Kelly Werthmann that MSU-Denver staff got together Wednesday morning to discuss ways the university can help students in Texas if they are displaced by Harvey’s aftermath.

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A flooded street on Monday in Houston. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Though classes for the Fall semester have already begun, Kester said there are options for students.

“I’m pretty confident that we could help these students find courses very quickly,” she said. “We can also admit them very quickly and help them with their financial aid.”

Other Colorado schools like the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley and Colorado School of Mines in Golden told CBS4 they’re considering ways to help Texas students.

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(credit: CBS)

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(credit: CBS)

A priority for all Colorado schools is supporting their current students from the Lone Star State.

“Our hearts go out to all those affected by Harvey,” Kester said. “We plan on reaching out to (our students) and letting them know that the office of finance and scholarships is available to talk to students to see if there’s anything we can do to help them financially or if there’s any other support systems we can provide for them right now.”

In a letter to students and faculty of the School of Mines, President Paul Johnson said anyone in the Mines community in need of assistance or support in coping should reach out to staff.

RELATED: CBS4 Teams Up With American Red Cross

The Mines Foundation is also organizing a fund to assist students impacted by Harvey, according to Johnson’s letter. He also wrote:

“Challenging times bring out the best in people and remind us of the importance of lending a helping hand to others in need. We certainly have seen this in the news, and salute the amazing first responders, local officials, and communities of people who are rescuing those stranded by floods, offering shelter, providing food and clothing, and doing whatever they can to help… For all who are impacted – please know that you are in the thoughts and prayers of the Mines Community, and we hope for immediate relief from this storm and for a safe and speedy recovery from its impacts.”

A UNC spokesperson told CBS4 they have not been contacted by any non-UNC students from Texas, but are offering support the 200 students they have enrolled who are from Texas.

“We’ve reached out to them and encouraged them to let us know if there’s any assistance we can provide,” Nate Haas, Director of News and Public Relations for UNC, told CBS4. “We want to be helpful in any way we can for those directly affected.”

The University of Denver told CBS4 they’re taking a “comprehensive approach” to support their incoming and current students who may be impacted by the devastation in Texas.

Staff has identified about 125 students who are from the areas hit by Harvey and have resources available to help them with any support needs.

RELATED: Colorado Breweries Can Water, Not Beer, To Help Flood Victims

Kelly Werthmann joined the CBS4 team as the morning reporter in 2012. After serving as weekend morning anchor, Kelly is now Covering Colorado First for CBS4 News at 10. Connect with Kelly on Facebook or follow her on Twitter @KellyCBS4.

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