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IIE Announces Disbursement of $400,000 in Emergency Assistance Grants to U.S.-based Japanese Students with Families Hard-hit by Earthquake and Tsunami

Nominate a student for a Japan-EAF grant

100 Grants of Up to $5,000 Each Will Help Japanese Students

NEW YORK, May 13, 2011—The Institute of International Education (IIE) has distributed $400,000 in  financial assistance to 100 Japanese students nominated by their U.S. host campus who are in urgent need of funding and who come from the regions hardest hit by the recent earthquake and tsunami in Northeast Japan. IIE is currently reviewing additional campus nominations of students in need that were submitted after the first round deadline. The Institute will continue to accept urgent nominations from U.S. host campuses on a rolling basis and will provide assistance to additional students. 

The student grants come from IIE’s Japan-Emergency Assistance Fund (Japan-EAF) that IIE launched shortly after the earthquake/tsunami, with funding provided earlier by the Freeman Foundation to assist students from Asia facing major crises at home or in the United States. The fund was previously 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. In each case, the Freeman Foundation’s generosity has made it possible for IIE to rapidly assist students from Asia who are facing emergency circumstances, based on nominations from their host U.S. campus, and to respond quickly to their urgent financial needs.

Allan E. Goodman, President and CEO of IIE, noted that most of the students receiving IIE’s Japan-EAF emergency assistance had not received financial support from home since the earthquake and tsunami hit on March 11.  “Some of these students have lost their homes, and some of their families have lost a loved one or seen their businesses destroyed. Our goal, and that of the Freeman Foundation, is to help relieve the financial burden that is compounding the 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."

The first round of IIE Japan-EAF awards totals $400,000, with grants ranging from $1,000 - $5,000, depending on the individual student’s level of need. Many of the campuses hosting these awardees are also providing support, either in the form of tuition reduction, on-campus employment, fee waivers, or scholarships. More than a third of the students are enrolled in U.S. community colleges, with most of the rest at four-year undergraduate institutions, and a few pursuing graduate degrees. Of the selected recipients, 24 are expected to graduate this spring or summer, 18 will graduate in winter 2011, 30 will graduate in 2012, and 28 expect to graduate in 2013 or later. 

Upon notifying the students and their campus advisers, IIE received warm messages of gratitude for this emergency support. A Japanese student in Texas commented, “I am grateful to be studying in a country filled with such gentle and caring people,” and one in Oklahoma explained, “This will make it possible for me to continue my education. Thank you again for your amazing help. My family and I will never forget this.”

Several students expressed a desire to give something back when they are able. A student in Minnesota wrote, “I will remember this timely award and when I have a job in the future, I will contribute what I can through IIE to help people who need help like me today,” while an adviser in Indiana explained that the Japan-EAF grant is “rather poetic” for the recipient, as “she has been particularly active in campus fund-raising efforts to help Japan. Now, she has some help too. We really appreciate your efforts and consideration.”

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. The emergency fund focused on students coming from the hardest hit prefectures, including Fukushima, Miyagi and Iwate, regions which do not typically send the largest numbers of students to the United States.

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. IIE welcomes contributions to its Emergency Student Fund, through which it can provide urgent assistance to international students facing financial hardships due to major crises in their home countries which may preclude their completing their U.S. studies. For example, these funds, which are often matched by host universities, enable students to continue paying tuition and replace essential items such as books and computers damaged in natural disasters. 

Nominate a student for a Japan-EAF grant.

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 partnership 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.

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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