NEW YORK, January 31, 2019 – The Institute of International Education (IIE) distributed $250,000 in one-time grants to 59 Venezuelan undergraduate students enrolled at U.S. institutions who are experiencing financial hardship due to the political situation in their home country. Students will receive between $3,000 -$5,000 through IIE’s Emergency Student Fund (ESF), which can be used to cover tuition, room and board and other expenses necessary for their studies.
Nearly two million people have fled Venezuela since 2015, driven from their homes by an unraveling political situation and economic crisis. Venezuela’s currency is beset with runaway inflation, such that basic necessities are now prohibitively expensive. Given the circumstances, funding a U.S. higher education degree is a challenge for many.
“Venezuela’s political crisis precipitated a major and ongoing humanitarian crisis, with the result that millions see no way out other than to leave,” said Nele Feldmann, Head of IIE’s Student Emergency Initiatives. “Most people are well aware of the humanitarian crises unfolding in Syria. Yet the rate of forced migration from Venezuela is on track to outpace that of Syria. The loss of human capital due to the disruption of daily life is incalculable.”
ESF grants will go to outstanding Venezuelan students attending 38 two- and four-year schools in the United States. Host institutions will contribute additional financial support to grant recipients to support their students during these challenging times. Some are contributing matching funds, others additional work study opportunities and free meal plans.
Despite the ongoing financial and political crisis, Venezuela ranks 20th among the top places of origin of international students in the United States, according to the Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange. The United States has long been the top destination of choice for Venezuelan students studying abroad and hosted 8,371 Venezuelan students in 2017/18.
Since 2010, IIE has awarded more than 850 emergency grants through ESF to students across the world, amounting to more than $2 million in financial aid. Grants have gone to students in Haiti, Iran, Japan, Libya, Nepal, the Philippines, Syria, Thailand, Yemen – among others – after these countries were impacted by conflict or devastating hurricanes, typhoons or floods. The Institute is raising support for a dedicated fund so that IIE can respond quickly to help students when disasters and emergencies arise. Previous ESF initiatives have been funded with support from individual donors and organizations who share this goal.
IIE works to build more peaceful and equitable societies by advancing scholarship, building economies and promoting access to opportunity. As a not-for-profit with 18 offices and affiliates worldwide, IIE collaborates with a range of corporate, government and foundation partners across the globe to design and manage scholarship, study abroad, workforce training and leadership development programs. IIE is proud to support flagship educational and cultural exchange programs on behalf of the U.S. Departments of State and Defense. For more information visit www.iie.org.