A historically black university in southeastern Virginia is offering a free semester of education to Bahamian students displaced by Hurricane Dorian.

Hampton University announced Thursday an agreement to help the University of the Bahamas-North, which serves students from the battered islands of Grand Bahama and Abaco. Under the plan, Bahamian students will be able to attend Hampton this fall without charge for tuition, room and board.

The main University of the Bahamas campus in Nassau reopened Thursday. But the Grand Bahama campus “sustained severe flooding and devastating storm damage,” the school said in an appeal for donations online.

“I think this agreement is something that can be helpful to a great number of students and families, and is part of something I’ve tried to do my entire career — helping people to achieve and meet their goals,” Hampton President William R. Harvey said in a statement.


Scenes from the path of Hurricane Dorian

Sept. 7, 2019 | Destroyed homes and debris left by Hurricane Dorian in the Mudd neighborhood of Marsh Harbour, Bahamas. (Carolyn Van Houten/The Washington Post)

The leaders of the two schools have a personal connection. Before becoming president of the University of the Bahamas, Rodney Smith was an administrator at Hampton.

Harvey said displaced Bahamian students would be welcome to stay at Hampton after the fall semester, but they would be charged the university’s regular rates for tuition and fees.

Ordinarily, tuition and fees for a full school year at Hampton would be about $28,000, not including room and board. The university had about 4,300 students as of last fall.

“Hampton has been the educational choice for many Bahamians over its long history,” Lawrence Rigby, a former Hampton student body president, who is from Nassau, said in the statement. “Young Bahamians from Abaco and Grand Bahama who are looking for the tools to rebuild their lives and our home will find them at Hampton.”