Help Students Impacted by COVID-19 Crisis

COVID-19 Emergency Student Fund graphic

NEW YORK, April 13, 2020—IIE has launched a fund of at least $1 million to aid international students caught in the crossfire of the coronavirus pandemic. From our earliest days, IIE has played a central role in helping international students during emergencies. In response to the current unprecedented crisis, IIE will spend $1 million to provide crucial support to up to 300 international students in great need. We aim to raise another $1 million from private donors to double the number of students we can help.

To halt the spread of the coronavirus, universities around the U.S. have shuttered residence halls and moved courses online. For many international students, the necessary but abrupt campus closures are devastating.

Border closures and canceled flights make it impossible for some to go home to be with their families. Others might have made the difficult decision to remain in the U.S. anticipating they might not be able to return when their university reopens. The bottom line is that this pandemic has stranded many international students in the U.S., and they are unable to meet living expenses.

Employment options for international students are limited by law, and many of the campus jobs normally available to them may have been frozen when campuses shut down. Their eligibility for financial aid is even more limited. Their families may suddenly be unable to provide funds the students have been counting on. In a worst-case scenario, students may have fallen ill and need support while they recover.

IIE is stepping forward in response to this unmet need. International students in the U.S. can turn to IIE for help by asking their on-campus advisors to nominate them for IIE’s emergency grant assistance. Nominations of those who are most in need will be accepted from U.S. IIENetwork Member institutions through Sunday, April 26, 2020, 11:59pm EST. Grant monies will be sent to students in May with the goal of getting them through the summer and the hope that, by fall, campuses will reopen.

To be eligible to nominate students, universities must attest that they, too, are providing support to their students in distress. The students must affirm that they will continue their studies in the U.S. as planned.

The students who benefit from this program will be asked to remember this in the future, when they are in a position to give back to IIE. When another crisis inevitably strikes, the students we help today will be the ones who answer the call to help others.

To launch this effort, IIE has earmarked $1 million in funds raised from private donors. With the funds currently available, we will award grants to approximately 300 international students who urgently need financial assistance. Reaching our fundraising goal of $1 million would enable us to help another 300 students.

All gifts, of any amount, are needed and welcome. Every new gift will help increase the number of students we can support during this crisis.

Learn more about IIE’s ESF: Covid-19 Response here.