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Grants Available to Foreign Students During COVID-19

FILE - A woman sits on the near-empty campus at Columbia University in New York, March 9, 2020.

The Institute for International Education (IIE) has committed $1 million to aid international students affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and seeks nominations for students in need of that funding.

As U.S. colleges and universities have shut down their campuses and asked students to return home for the duration of stay-at-home orders, many of the more than 1 million international students attending school in the U.S. face additional burdens.

"The necessary but abrupt campus closures are devastating for many international students," wrote IIE President Allan E. Goodman on the institute's website. "Some are unable to go home to be with their families — border closures and canceled flights make it impossible. Others made the difficult decision to remain in the U.S. anticipating they might not be able to return when their university reopens."

IIE's one-time Emergency Student Fund is worth $2,500 for selected students enrolled at IIE network member institutions and pursuing associate's, bachelor's, master's or doctoral degrees. The global membership network is comprised of more than 7,000 professionals at 1,300 higher education institutions around the world, according to IIE's website.

IIE stated that it seeks to raise an additional $1 million to support funding international students in need during the pandemic in the U.S.

"Each institution may nominate up to five eligible students who are not able to return to their home countries over the summer break due to the COVID-19 pandemic," IIE stated. "Please provide a detailed description on each student's individual situation."

"The bottom line: International students are stranded in the U.S., unable to meet basic living expenses. Their employment options are limited by law, and their eligibility for financial aid is even more limited," Goodman wrote.

"Their families may be unable to provide funds the students have been counting on. Some students may have fallen ill and need support while they recover," he stated.

Submissions are due by 11:59 p.m. EDT on Sunday, April 26. Awards will be announced by mid-May, IIE stated.

IIE is well-known for its annual Open Doors report, which, for the 2018-2019 school year, showed enrollment of 1,095,299 international students (5.5% of all students) among 19,828,000 total students in institutions of higher education in the U.S.

China sent the most students – 369,548 – or 33.7% of all foreign students. India sent the second-largest number – 202,014 – or 18.4% of all college and university students.