Emergency Student Fund Assists Syrian and Yemeni Students

NEW YORK, February 2, 2016—The Institute of International Education (IIE) has created an Emergency Student Fund (ESF) initiative to help students from the Syria and Yemen on U.S. campuses whose financial support has been devastated by the ongoing conflict in Syria and escalating violence in Yemen.

IIE is issuing a call for U.S. colleges and universities that currently have students from Syria and Yemen enrolled on their campuses to nominate those students who have emergency needs for funds to continue their studies so that their academic careers are not interrupted as a result of the crises in their home countries.

Allan E. Goodman, President and CEO of the Institute of International Education, said, “Higher education is an orphan in this war. With the crisis in Syria in its fifth year, and conditions rapidly deteriorating in Yemen, it is imperative that we step up to keep helping these students so that we do not lose an entire generation of future leaders. Keeping students in higher education is one of the best investments we can make in the security of the Middle East and the world.”

Syria-ESF and Yemen-ESF will provide grants of $2,000 – 5,000 each to selected students nominated by their U.S. host colleges and universities who are unable to continue or complete their degree program in the United States. Administrators and faculty from accredited U.S. campuses can nominate up to five students in total, including students from one or both countries, at their institutions who need financial assistance to stay enrolled in the Spring 2016 term. Priority will be given to undergraduates and to those with the most urgent financial need and those closest to graduation.

International Student Advisers or other campus officials should submit applications to IIE by February 19. Awards will be announced in March. To nominate students, advisers must complete the nomination form and e-mail it to ESF@iie.org. Nomination forms are available on the IIE Emergency Student Fund website. Applications directly from students will NOT be accepted.

U.S. host campuses nominating students for Syria-ESF and Yemen-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.

According to data in IIE’s Open Doors 2015 report, produced with support from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, colleges and universities reported nearly 800 students from Syria and more than 500 from Yemen studying in the United States. United States campuses are beginning to provide support, but more help is needed so that these students can complete their studies.

To make the emergency grants for students from Syria and Yemen, the Institute will draw upon funds designated by IIE’s Trustees with additional support for the Syria grants coming from Jusoor, an NGO of Syrian expatriates supporting the country’s development and helping Syrian youth realize their potential through programs in the fields of education, career development, and global community engagement.

IIE’s Emergency Student Fund provides grants to post-secondary students matriculated at accredited educational institutions in the United States whose sources of support have been impacted by natural disaster or other crises in their home countries. Since 2010, IIE’s ESF has provided $2 million in emergency grants to over 700 students from Japan, Haiti, Libya, Thailand, the Philippines, Syria, Iran, and Nepal whose home sources of financial support were impacted by crisis or natural disaster.

IIE has previously conducted two separate rounds of Emergency Student Fund grants to assist students from Syria. In Spring 2012, with support from Jusoor and the Syrian expatriate community, IIE awarded a total of $92,000—46 grants of $2,000 each—to help students from Syria on U.S. campuses. At that time, applications came from 39 schools in 21 states, representing roughly 10% of Syrian students enrolled in U.S. institutions. In December 2014, IIE awarded $214,000 in emergency funding – 43 grants ranging from $2,000 to $10,000 – to help Syrian students with urgent financial need to complete their education at U.S. institutions. These grants were made possible by the DC-based Al Waref Institute with technical support from the U.S. Department of State and generous financial support from a leading Syrian businessman. Applications in this round came from 34 schools in 19 states, again representing roughly 10% of Syrian students then enrolled in U.S. institutions.

It is anticipated that student need will exceed funding currently available in the Institute’s Emergency Student Fund. IIE 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.

IIE’s Syria Consortium is also working to mobilize institutions to reduce or waive tuition for Syrian students who would enroll for full degrees.

About the Institute of International Education (IIE)

The Institute of International Education (IIE) is a world leader in the international exchange of people and ideas. IIE designs and implements programs of study and training for students, educators, young professionals and trainees from all sectors with funding from government agencies, foundations, and corporations. IIE also conducts policy research and program evaluations, and provides advising and counseling on international education and opportunities abroad. An independent, not-for-profit organization founded in 1919, IIE has a network of 19 offices and affiliates worldwide and over 1,400 member institutions.


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