Local chapters of three engineering organizations are banding together to raise tuition money for an engineering student from Tulane University who enrolled at the UA after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.
Greg Noble, secretary treasurer of the Tucson chapter of the Association of Energy Engineers, said he was moved to help Daniel Charles, a Louisiana resident, continue his education at the UA after hearing his story on the morning news.
"I heard he had a double major in electrical engineering and physics," Noble said. "I thought there are at least two or three organizations in town with scholarship money available, and it would only be right to use it to help a young engineer."
Noble began contacting representatives from other engineering organizations, including Albert Tarcola, a member of the Arizona Institute of Plant Engineers and director of UA Facilities Management, about raising $800 to go toward Charles' tuition.
The $800 represents the portion of Charles' $13,682 for out-of-state tuition, minus the portion covered by his financial aid and student loans.
"Our organization has had a scholarship fund for engineering students for 15 years," Tarcola said. "When I was told about Daniel's situation I said how much money do we need to make up the rest and we'll do it."
Tarcola's organization raised $400 through their Walt Willis Memorial Scholarship Fund to match the $200 raised by each of the engineering associations and the Tucson chapter of the American Society for Heating and Refrigeration Engineers.
Charles said he chose to continue his education at the UA because it was the only school where community members offered to help him and also had his degree program.
"A lot of schools opened their doors to students from New Orleans, but Arizona was the only one with my majors who offered to help," Charles said. "I made a phone call, and the next day I was driving to Tucson."
Charles said the donation would help him continue pursuing his degree at the UA despite being saddled with the burden of paying out-of-state-tuition in addition to the $17,000 in tuition he paid this semester at Tulane.
"Tulane is not refunding my tuition yet," Charles said. "They're applying it toward another semester, or they'll refund it once classes start again."
Charles has yet to be presented with the $800 donation, in part because of concerns from Tarcola and others that the money would not go toward Charles' tuition in the event the university decided to waive his tuition.
When Tarcola receives the go-ahead, the $800 will be directed toward Charles' tuition, which they plan to do later this month, Tarcola said, adding that he hopes the UA reaches a decision about whether or not to waive tuition for students displaced by the hurricane.
"I was told that that the university isn't decided on how to handle these students' fees and that they may waive all their fees entirely, including tuition," Tarcola said.
The Bursar's Office is still unsure about how they will handle the financial situations of students like Charles, said Mark Barton, an associate bursar, though he said the office currently has no plans to waive tuition entirely.
Enrollment Management Vice President Lynne Tronsdal, who has been handling the emergency admission of students like Charles, said the UA is not offering special treatment for hurricane-displaced students beyond allowing them to register late.
"There is no institutional waiver being offered to these students," Tronsdal said. "Each financial situation was handled individually. Nothing was offered outside of the regular financial aid process."