The Sloan Semester

Sloan Semester Archives

A unique event in higher education occurred in response to Hurricane Katrina (and later Rita), which struck the U.S. Gulf Coast in August. Using online learning, colleges and universities from across the country responded in record numbers to help students and institutions impacted by the storms. Dubbed "Sloan Semester" the initiative provided free online courses to students impacted by the storm.

Sloan Semester

This site provides a retrospective on the Sloan Semester initiative, information about how it was established, how it worked, who participated, and the students who were served. The site includes links to an archived version of the Sloan Semester Catalog, a case study of the project, data about participants and lessons learned.

We hope the site will serve as both an opportunity to look back...and to be thinking ahead to the next time circumstances demand our community to respond. We know, from this experience, they will again.

The Sloan Semester Team

Thank you!

The Sloan Semester team wishes to express its appreciation to colleges and universities, faculty, administrators and staff for their contributions to this effort.

The Sloan Consortium Honored for Post-Hurricane Delivery of Online Courses

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George Lorenzo- The Sloan Consortium

The Sloan Semester was a vibrant and vitally important undertaking that required the immediate attention of a group of dedicated educators. The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, though its sponsorship of the Sloan Consortium (Sloan-C), financed this worthwhile initiative that helped Hurricane Katrina- and Rita-affected higher education students continue with their education in an online modality, as their institutions were forced to temporarily close down for the Fall 2005 semester. A chain of educated decisions, along with the appropriate infrastructure and team of professionals, successfully moved this initiative forward in a quick and unprecedented time frame, "on the fly."

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Needham, MA - August 8, 2006 - In early September of 2005, within days of Hurricane Katrina striking the Gulf Coast of the U.S. and levies breaking in New Orleans, LA, a group of Sloan-C member institutions came together in an effort to offer free online courses to students displaced by the storm (and later Hurricane Rita). The initiative, dubbed "Sloan Semester," created a fully functional "virtual" institution in 21 days. Supported with a $1.1 million dollar grant from The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Sloan Semester made available more than 1,350 courses from over 150 institutions in 38 states available to over 1,750 students, utilizing over 4,000 "seats" in online courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Recently, Sloan-C and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation were recognized by Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco and given the SREB Exceptional Service Award. At a dinner on June 25, 2006, Frank Mayadas, President of Sloan-C, accepted the award.

In addition, on May 1, 2006, the American Distance Education Consortium (ADEC) recognized the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Sloan-C, and SREB through a presentation of the Irving-Barrier Buster Award 2006 at the ALL ADEC meeting in Washington, D.C.

These recognitions and awards speak to the heart of what the Sloan Consortium membership represents and we wish to thank all of the 135 Sloan-C institutions that participated in this effort. To see a complete list of institutions, click here.

The following statistics outline the extent of the Sloan Semester’s impact:

  • 153 institutions offered a total of 1,345 fully online courses. 800 courses offered by 135 institutions from 36 states wound up enrolling Sloan Semester students.
  • 4,114 seats were requested by students.
  • 1,736 students applied to the Sloan Semester and 1,587 were admitted.
  • More than 9,000 enrollments were processed in Sloan Semester courses.
  • Some of the courses enrolled only Sloan Semester students, and other courses enrolled a mix of Sloan Semester students with the institution’s native students (students already attending the host institution).
  • Participating institutions contributed (forgave) more than $3.1 in tuition and fee dollars.
  • 5,245 seats inside the Sloan Semester courses were filled by native students.
  • More than 75% of Sloan Semester students were female, and 49.5% were African American.
  • 26.3% of Sloan Semester students came from Xavier University, 24.6% came from Delgado Community College, 9.4% came from Loyola University, and 7.9% came from the University of New Orleans. The remaining Sloan Semester students were spread across 26 hurricane-impacted campuses.
  • The top five institutions registering Sloan Semester students were Massachusetts Colleges Online, Community College of Denver, Northwestern State University, San Jacinto College, and Tulsa Community College. (See the full list of providing institutions.)

We also wish recognize various individuals that were active in the effort:

  • The faculty and staff from the 135 Sloan-C institutions that provided free online courses to students displaced by the hurricanes (Katrina and Rita).
  • The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, which provided generous financial support in the form of a $1.1 million grant to provide stipends to the provider institutions and to pay for our marketing efforts.
  • Key staff from the two main organizations that supported the Sloan Semester - Janet Moore, Keith Bourne, Margie Quinlan, Martine Dawant, John Sener, and Jeff Seaman from Sloan-C, and Mary Larson and J.J. Kwashnak from the SREB Electronic Campus.
  • Patti Giglio, Media Relations Specialist.
  • Kathy Frizzell, Chief Student Advisor.
  • The over 30 advisors from Sloan-C institutions that volunteered to provide advising to the Sloan Semester students.
  • Sam Wilson and TG, (the Texas Guaranteed student loan agency) for providing specialized aid counseling to hurricane victims.
  • Xap Corporation, SREB’s Electronic Campus technology partner, who provided the technology infrastructure, did an amazing job adapting their technology for the Sloan Semester.


The Sloan Semester Steering Committee:

Burks Oakley, University of Illinois Online
Bruce Chaloux, SREB Electronic Campus
Frank Mayadas, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Sloan Consortium
John Bourne, Sloan Consortium, Olin College
Ray Schroeder, University of Illinois, Springfield

Sloan Semester Students Background on Sloan Semester

Important: Sloan Semester students must request transcripts from the institutions in which they were enrolled. Federal law permits institutions to forward transcripts ONLY with a written request.
Sloan Semester in the News