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At least 165 law schools across the country are accepting hurricane-displaced students who are uncertain when they may return to campuses in New Orleans. The participating law schools generally are waiving tuition fees for the fall semester and granting visitor status to students from Tulane University Law School and Loyola University New Orleans School of Law. The arrangements are intended to help some 1,500 law school enrollees from the hurricane-ravaged area continue their education while the fate of their own schools remains unclear. Last week, University of Texas School of Law held a welcoming ceremony for about 70 displaced students. “They’ve been through a terrible experience,” said Bill Powers, dean of the law school. “We wanted them to feel at home.” The Association of American Law Schools has posted on its Web site a list of schools offering to enroll and help find housing for students who were in good financial and academic standing at Tulane and Loyola. Some offers limited Some schools have said that they will accommodate as many as necessary. Others have limited their offers to a specific number of students and only to second- or third-year students. Many required displaced students to attend their classes by Sept. 6. Although Tulane University Law School Dean Lawrence Ponoroff said he did not know the exact number of his school’s students who had enrolled as visitors at other schools, he said that a “significant percentage” of its upperclassmen were participating. He added that he expects Tulane to offer a full curriculum to all of its students in the spring. Meanwhile, some people have put their law school plans on hold. Nikki Usher, who attended first-year classes at Tulane for one week before Hurricane Katrina struck, has decided to move back to Philadelphia, where she hopes to get a job as a legal assistant. “I’m going to take this as a loss,” she said. Facing a new curriculum with different professors after losing her possessions, all with the expectation of moving back to New Orleans, was more than Usher wanted to undertake, she said. “Right now, my plan is to find an apartment and some work clothes,” said Usher, who will maintain deferred-enrollment status at Tulane until the next academic year. In addition to arranging for its students to visit other law schools, Loyola is setting up an auxiliary campus to accommodate some students. Loyola faculty will teach first-year and several upper-class courses at the University of Houston Law Center, which also is assisting students in finding housing. Ponoroff that said he had considered a similar move for Tulane and received several offers by other schools to house an alternate Tulane facility. But he decided to focus on getting the school operational for next semester. He added that the generosity of law schools, law firms and legal associations has been “enormous.”

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