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IIE Launches Emergency Assistance Fund for U.S.-based Japanese Students with Families Hard-hit by Earthquake and Tsunami

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Grants of up to $5,000 will help Japanese students in the U.S. to continue their studies

NEW YORK, March 23, 2011—The Institute of International Education (IIE), with support from the Freeman Foundation, has created an emergency grants program to help students from Japan on U.S. campuses whose home country support has been devastated by the recent earthquake and tsunami in Northeast Japan.

Japan-EAF (Emergency Assistance Fund) will provide grants of up to $5,000 to students from those regions hardest hit by the earthquake and tsunami (including Miyagi, Fukushima, and Iwate prefectures) who are enrolled in U.S. colleges and universities and face serious financial difficulties due to the recent tragedy in their home country. Accredited United States campuses are invited to nominate students at their institutions for whom help is needed for the spring semester 2011.

International Student Advisers or other campus officials are invited to submit nominations to IIE. Students cannot apply directly. To nominate students, advisers should complete the Japan EAF nomination form and e-mail it to JapanEAF@iie.org. The first round of grant nominations should be submitted to IIE by April 4th, 2011. If funding permits, IIE will consider applications on a rolling basis after the deadline.

According to data in IIE's Open Doors 2010 report, produced with support from the U.S. Department of State, colleges and universities reported nearly 25,000 students from Japan studying in the United States, about 52% at the undergraduate level. Japan is the sixth leading sender of students to the United States. IIE is currently surveying campuses to find out how many are from the most seriously affected regions and facing financial hardship due to recent events. United States campuses are beginning to provide support, but more help is needed so that these students can complete their studies.

Allan Goodman, president and CEO of the Institute of International Education, said, "Our goal is to help relieve the financial burden that is compounding these students' personal distress, and to encourage them to complete their U.S. studies so they can return home with the skills and new knowledge to help rebuild their shattered communities."

To be considered for an Emergency Assistance award of up to $5,000, the nominated student must: 

  • Demonstrate how their financial resources were seriously disrupted by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. 
  • Be enrolled in an accredited U.S. higher education institution as of January 1, 2011 
  • Be in good academic standing, as defined by the host campus 
  • Have the appropriate non-immigration visa status (U.S. citizens and permanent residents are ineligible to apply.)

If possible, U.S. host campuses nominating students for Japan-EAF awards will also be expected to provide emergency assistance to the nominated students through tuition waivers, full or partial scholarships, housing, stipends, loans, work study, or other forms of support.

While preference will be given to degree-seeking undergraduate students, graduate and non-degree students with pressing needs will also be considered.

To make these emergency grants, the Institute will draw upon a special fund created by IIE and the Freeman Foundation to assist students from Asia facing major crises at home or in the United States. The Fund has previously been used to assist U.S.-based students from Asia during the financial crisis in the late 1990s, after the tsunami in Southeast Asia in 2004, and following Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

IIE has a long history of mobilizing support to help students and scholars in need throughout the world. The Institute’s Scholar Rescue Fund provides fellowships for established scholars whose lives and work are threatened in their home countries. In addition, IIE’s Emergency Student Fund provides support for international students facing crisis situations, such as illness or natural disasters.

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, 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 offers support to students and scholars in danger.

About the Freeman Foundation

The Freeman Foundation's major objectives include strengthening the bonds of friendship between the United States and countries of East Asia. Through education and educational institutes, the Foundation hopes to develop a greater appreciation of Asian cultures, histories, and economies in the United States and a better understanding of the American people and of American institutions and purposes by the peoples of East Asia.

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Media Contacts

Sharon Witherell
Director, Public Affairs
Tel: +1 212.984.5380
E-mail: switherell@iie.org