Frequently Asked Questions

Congratulations on your being awarded with an IIE ESF grant! If you have questions regarding the terms of your award, please read the following FAQ carefully. Please note that due to the large amount of emails our team is receiving, we will only respond to you via email if your questions are not addressed below.

Q: What can I use these funds for?

A: You can use these funds for living expenses such as housing and food, medical expenses, insurance payments, and academic expenses.


Q: Does this award need to be repaid or returned at any time?

A: No, the ESF award is not a loan and IIE does not expect you to repay the award unless you fail to meet the terms and conditions of the grant. Please read section three "Term and Termination: Right to Modify and Revoke the Award" in your award letter.


Q: Do I need to be physically present in the United States to receive the award?

A: Yes, all grantees must be physically present in the United States to receive an ESF: COVID-19 Response award. You must notify IIE immediately should you plan to return to your home country before the agreement ends.


Q: Do I need to have a U.S. bank account to receive grant payment?

A: Yes, in order to receive your ESF grant you need a U.S. bank account. If you don't have a bank account, please open an account immediately. IIE will not make payments to a party other than the ESF grant recipient.


Q: How do I know if my bank is part of the Zelle network?

A: For a list of Zelle network banks, please click here.


Q: I have a U.S. bank account, but it is not in the Zelle network, can I still receive the grant?

A: yes, you can register a non-Zelle network bank in order to receive the grant. If you use a bank that is not in the Zelle network, you will need to complete an alternate registration process. For more information on how to do this, please click here.


Q: Do I need a Social Security Number (SSN) or an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) to receive my award?

A: Your ESF grant is considered taxable income in the United States. IIE withholds the required federal taxes when issuing your payment so you won't have to pay any taxes later. IIE will provide you with a Form 1042 for your 2020 tax filing in early 2021. While you don't need a SSN or ITIN to receive the award, you must have an SSN or ITIN to file your taxes. You are required by law to file your taxes in the U.S. Please not e that IIE does not offer tax advice or guidance and will not respond to questions on how and when to file taxes.


Q: Will I have to submit receipts to IIE to prove how I spent the ESF grant?

A: No, you are not required to submit receipts on how you spent your ESF grant. However, you will be required to submit a narrative report, outlining how the grant was spent and what impact the grant had on your overall situation both personally and academically.


Q: Is the ESF grant renewable?

A: The ESF grant is not renewable. All ESF grants are one-time emergency grants only.