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Press Release

IIE Launches Emergency Assistance Fund for U.S.-based Thai Students with Families Hard-hit by Recent Record-Level Flooding

Visit Thai ESF program page to download application

Grants of up to $5,000 will help Thai students in the U.S. to continue their studies

NEW YORK, November 29, 2011—The Institute of International Education, with support from the Freeman Foundation, has created an emergency small-grants program to help students from Thailand on U.S. campuses whose home country financial support has been devastated by the recent extended record-level flooding across Thailand.

Thai-ESF (Emergency Student Fund) will provide grants ranging from $2,000 to $5,000 to Thai students currently enrolled in U.S. colleges and universities who may be unable to continue or complete their degree program in the U.S. due to serious financial difficulties precipitated by the floods in their home country. Accredited United States campuses are invited to nominate students at their institutions for whom help is needed to complete the current semester or for spring semester 2012.

International Student Advisers or other campus officials are invited to submit applications to IIE; students cannot apply directly. The deadline for nominations is December 19, 2011. To nominate students, advisers should complete the Thai-ESF nomination form and e-mail it to

To be considered for Thai-ESF awards, nominated students must:

  • Demonstrate to campus officials that their financial ability to continue their U.S. studies has been seriously disrupted by the flooding in Thailand
  • Be enrolled in a degree program at an accredited U.S. higher education institution as of November 1, 2011 (priority will be given to undergraduates, although applications can also be submitted for graduate students and non-degree students in dire need)
  • Be in good academic standing, as defined by the host campus
  • Have the appropriate non-immigration visa status (U.S. citizens and permanent residents are ineligible to apply.)

U.S. host campuses nominating students for Thai-ESF awards are expected to provide emergency assistance to the nominated students as well, through tuition waivers, full or partial scholarships, housing, stipends, loans, work study, or other forms of support.

Awards will be announced in early January. If funding permits and ongoing need is expressed, IIE may announce a second call for nominations in February 2012.

According to data in IIE's Open Doors 2011 report, produced with support from the U.S. Department of State, colleges and universities reported more than 8,200 students from Thailand studying in the United States, about 52% at the graduate level. Thailand is the fifteenth leading place of origin for students coming to the United States. IIE is currently surveying campuses to find out how many are from the most seriously affected regions and facing financial hardship due to recent events in Thailand.

This effort is part of IIE’s Emergency Student Fund (ESF), for which IIE is currently raising funds to provide emergency grants to post-secondary students matriculated at accredited educational institutions outside their home countries whose sources of support have been impacted by natural disaster or crisis.

Building on a Freeman Foundation designation of $2.5 million for emergencies involving students from East and Southeast Asia studying in the U.S., IIE is issuing a request to donors around the world to support this fund for other world areas. In recent years, the Institute has provided support for separate emergency grant efforts to meet urgent needs of students from earthquake-struck regions of Japan, Haiti, and Indonesia, as well as students whose home sources of financial support were impacted by political or economic crises in Libya, East and Southeast Asia, and Mexico. Having a fund already in place will allow the Institute to respond quickly to future disasters and to help more students when future emergencies arise.

About the Institute of International Education

Founded in 1919, the Institute of International Education (IIE) is a private not-for-profit leader in the international exchange of people and ideas. In collaboration with governments, foundations and other sponsors, IIE creates programs of study and training for students, educators and professionals from all sectors. These programs include the flagship Fulbright Program and Gilman Scholarships administered for the U.S. Department of State. IIE also conducts policy research, provides resources on international exchange opportunities and offers support to students and scholars in danger.

About the Freeman Foundation

The Freeman Foundation's major objectives include strengthening the bonds of friendship between the United States and countries of East Asia. Through education and educational institutes, the Foundation hopes to develop a greater appreciation of Asian cultures, histories, and economies in the United States and a better understanding of the American people and of American institutions and purposes by the peoples of East Asia.