Syria ESF

Grants of $2,000 will help Syrian students with urgent financial needs to continue their studies in the United States

NEW YORK, February 15, 2012—The Emergency Student Fund (ESF) of the Institute of International Education (IIE) is issuing a call for nominations from U.S. colleges and universities that have Syrian students on campus with urgent financial need due to the escalating unrest in Syria. The program aims to help international students from Syria pursuing higher education in the United States complete their studies so that their academic careers are not interrupted as a result of turmoil in their home country.

Syria-ESF will provide grants of $2,000 each to Syrian students nominated by their U.S. host colleges and universities who may be unable to continue or complete their degree program in the United States due to serious financial difficulties precipitated by the situation in their home country. Administrators and faculty from accredited U.S. campuses can nominate up to four Syrian students at their institutions who need financial assistance to complete spring semester 2012.

International Student Advisers or other campus officials should submit applications to IIE by February 29, 2012. To nominate students, advisers must complete the Syria-ESF nomination form and e-mail it to Applications directly from students will NOT be accepted.

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

IIE anticipates that the need will exceed funding currently available in its Emergency Student Fund, and is actively seeking donations from interested individuals and foundations.

Awards will be announced in early March. IIE may announce a second call for nominations in late March 2012 depending on the availability of funds and ongoing need.

“The Institute is committed to helping students finish their chosen courses of study so that they will be prepared to help meet their home countries’ needs,” said IIE President and CEO Allan Goodman. “Supporting students now is critical to educating future leaders for our increasingly interdependent world.”

According to data from the 2011 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange, published annually by IIE in partnership with the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State, more than 500 students from Syria studied in the United States in 2010/11, an increase of 24 percent from the previous academic year.

IIE’s Emergency Student Fund provides 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 other crises. Since 2010, IIE’s ESF has provided over $1 million to nearly 400 students from Japan, Haiti, Libya, and Thailand whose home sources of financial support were impacted by crisis or natural disaster. 

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. The Institute seeks additional contributions  for the Emergency Student Fund so that it can respond quickly to help international students when disasters and emergencies in their home countries threaten to jeopardize the completion of their studies.

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 also conducts policy research, provides resources on international exchange opportunities and provides support to students and scholars in danger.


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