Universities: Please extend application deadlines for victims of this year's disasters

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2017 has been a year marked by multiple disasters that have brought destruction and suffering to many. These include hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, which have devastated Texas, Florida, Barbuda, St. Marteen, Dominica, U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, among other locations. Additionally, recent earthquakes in Mexico have caused catastrophic damage and loss of life. Many people, including students, are currently putting all of their time and effort in recovering from the losses that they and their loved ones have suffered. 

It is likely that schools in the affected areas will be closed for months. Semesters will be interrupted, and thousands of students are going to fall behind in their studies. The damage from these disasters will also compromise their ability to take the exams (SAT, GRE) required to continue their studies. These factors will limit students' prospects of applying to programs of their choice in the different schools across the nation. As world leaders in education and cutting-edge research, it is clear that these disasters are putting U.S. universities at risk of losing a large and diverse pool of future professionals for the next academic year.

It is because of this that we are requesting the different colleges and universities across the country to consider extending their school application deadlines for the following academic year.  If not, please consider a waiver in the cost of the applications for the victims of these disasters. These include undergraduate and graduate programs.

We understand that this decision comes down to the different schools or different departments within these schools. However, we want these victims to be able to pursue their dreams, and no natural disaster should be a hindrance to this. We are thankful for the opportunities that colleges and universities across the country have brought for the development of so many professionals.

This request was inspired by recent successes in extending the deadline for the NSF graduate research fellowship program application, as seen in link below 
https://www.change.org/p/nsf-extend-this-year-s-deadlines-for-the-graduate-research-fellowship-program-grfp-due-to-the-devastation-caused-by-hurricanes-harvey-irma-and-maria

Other organizations such as NASA have also extended deadlines for applications in support of hurricane victims: https://science.nasa.gov/researchers/sara/grant-solicitations/roses-2017/amendment-29-hurricane-irma-delay-due-dates-ppr-pstar-and-picasso 

MIT has already gone forward with such an initiative. Other schools might want to follow: http://mitadmissions.org/blogs/entry/for-applicants-affected-by-natural-disasters



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