NEW YORK, June 12, 2015—The Emergency Student Fund of the Institute of International Education (IIE) has awarded 165 grants to Nepalese students at 122 U.S. college and university campuses who face urgent financial need due to the devastating earthquake that struck Nepal in April. IIE awarded approximately $330,000 in funding with grants up to $2,000 each. These grants are made possible with generous funding from the Freeman Foundation and Carnegie Corporation of New York, as well as anonymous U.S. citizens who share IIE’s commitment to help Nepalese students remain enrolled in their U.S. degree programs so they will be better prepared to assist their communities when they return to Nepal.
The goal of IIE’s Emergency Student Fund is to provide Nepalese students who are unable to access funds from home with enough support so that they do not have to drop out of their degree programs prematurely. The nominees were all facing situations in which families at home could no longer help fund their studies because their cities, including their homes and workplaces, were severely damaged by the earthquake, cutting them off from their jobs and sources of income.
"Our goal is to help relieve the financial burden that was compounding these students' personal distress, and to encourage them to complete their U.S. studies so they could return home with the skills and new knowledge to help rebuild their shattered communities," said IIE President Allan E. Goodman.
Colleges and universities across the United States nominated 530 students for the IIE ESF grants. This represents approximately 6 percent of the nearly 8,000 Nepalese students currently studying in the United States. U.S. institutions that nominated students agreed to provide additional emergency assistance such as tuition waivers, full or partial scholarships, housing, stipends, loans, work study, or other forms of support.
Priority was given to nominated students with the most urgent financial need who are currently enrolled in full-time degree programs and are scheduled to graduate in spring 2015 and 2016. The 165 recipients were from all levels of higher education, ranging from the associates to doctoral level and represented many different fields of study, including computer science, human resources, engineering, business, biology, political science, social work and architecture.
Students from Nepal selected to receive IIE ESF grants include:
- Georgia Perimeter College. A student of engineering lost her family home in Nepal in the first earthquake and her sister sustained a back injury while escaping a collapsing building. Her husband is also a student from Nepal and his parents lost their home as well. Both families are living in tents and are suddenly without the financial means to adequately support themselves or to provide funding for the student’s education and living expenses this summer and fall.
- Brandeis University. A student of environmental science and anthropology can no longer rely on tuition money from her family. The funds that were supposed to be sent for her summer expenses have been used to pay for her family members' medical expenses (from the injuries sustained in the earthquake) and to help rebuild parts of her family home.
- Kennesaw State University.The family home of this student was completely destroyed by the earthquake in Nepal. His family is living in a tent in Kathmandu. His family will not be able to assist him in paying school fees in the fall semester due to the loss of their home.
According to data in IIE's Open Doors 2014 report, produced with support from the U.S. Department of State, colleges and universities reported more than 8,155 students from Nepal studying in the United States. Nepal is the sixteenth leading place of origin for students coming to the United States.
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. Since 2010, IIE's ESF has provided over $2 million in emergency grants to over 500 students from Japan, Haiti, Libya, Thailand, the Philippines, Syria, and Iran whose home sources of financial support were impacted by crisis or natural disaster. The Institute seeks to have a fund in place so that IIE can respond quickly to help students when disasters and 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 and donors, 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 conducts policy research and provides a range of information resources on international exchange. The Institute’s Emergency Student Fund and Scholar Rescue Fund provide support to students and scholars in danger.