Dec 4, 2017 at 12:00am ET By Alyssa Walker

As Puerto Rico still struggles without adequate power and water supplies, some students are leaving and resettling across parts of mainland US.

After the hurricane, many US colleges and universities opened their doors – and academic departments – to students from Puerto Rico with long- and short-term study options.  While some students are likely to resume studies in Puerto Rico, there is concern that the students won’t return.

Academic administrators at the island's main university are worried because of pre-hurricane issues surrounding higher education in Puerto Rico. Only months before Hurricane Maria hit, the University of Puerto Rico had suffered a financial crisis that led to student protests, strikes and a drop in admissions.  After a prolonged shutdown of the island’s main public university, students returned to their studies in June – only to have the university’s eleven campuses closed once more after Puerto Rico took the brunt of Hurricane Maria’s impact in September.

Though the University of Puerto Rico has resumed operations, it’s no surprise that students twice uprooted in one year are now looking for more permanent study options. Many have returned to their studies at what is considered Puerto Rico’s “most important cultural and social project.” And some are turning to Puerto Rico’s other colleges and universities, like Universidad Interamericana de Puerto Rico, which has resumed classes since the hurricane. Others are looking to international opportunities and study abroad programs. In a recent article in The Wall Street Journal, Catherine Mazak, an English professor at the University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez said, “If I was a young person, I can totally get wanting to go study abroad or do an exchange program.”

Learn more about studying in Puerto Rico.






Alyssa Walker is a freelance writer, educator, and nonprofit consultant. She lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her family.

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