Iranian Students Continue to Suffer Financially

As noted in recent communications, a large number of Iranian students who are currently studying in the United States on F-1 visas are experiencing severe financial hardship due to the devaluation of the rial (Iranian currency).  In an online survey conducted by PAAIA, over 90% of the students who responded noted that their finances were extremely or somewhat negatively impacted in 2012.  A large majority of the students (76.6%) said that they would accept any type of financial assistance they could obtain, while 10% said that they were considering stopping their education and returning to Iran.  For most students, studying in the U.S. is the opportunity of a lifetime.

Take Action Today!

1. Donate to the Emergency Student Fund for Iranian students. Select “Fund for Iranian Students” from the drop-down Gift Designation Menu. All funds collected will be provided directly to the Institute of International Education (IIE) to assist qualified Iranian students.

PAAIA is proud to announce a partnership with the IIE to provide emergency support to Iranian students in the United States who are facing financial distress due to currency devaluation.  Concerned by the prospect of these students being unable to complete their education, the IIE recently allocated $50,000 for an Emergency Student Fund (ESF) for them.

PAAIA is now calling upon its members and trustees to raise at least $50,000 in matching funds, with the goal of giving emergency grants to Iranian students in the US this spring.  According to the IIE’s ESF policies, students must be nominated by their host universities, which are also requested to provide support such as tuition waivers and meal plans.  Students CANNOT apply directly.  Once the funds are in place, the IIE will issue a call to host universities to nominate the students.

The IIE’s Emergency Student Fund helps international students facing emergencies by providing critical financial support so that they can complete their studies.  Since 2010, the IIE’s ESF has given over $1 million in grants to more than 400 international students from Japan, Haiti, Thailand, Libya and Syria who have faced financial difficulties due to natural disasters and other crises in their countries.

For more information on the IIE’s Emergency Student Fund, please click here.

2.  Urge the Department of Homeland Security to take measures to help Iranian students suffering financial hardship.

With the permission of the DHS, it is possible for Iranian students to work off-campus. A student with F-1 status facing unexpected financial difficulties beyond his/her control may apply for off-campus work permission from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Furthermore, under certain emergent circumstances impacting a group of non-immigrants, the DHS can grant special student relief and waive any restrictions on F-1 student employment. In the past, the DHS has suspended courseload requirements as well as the number of hours per week students are allowed to work off-campus.

Obtaining employment can help remedy some of the financial circumstances many of these students are currently facing and allow them to continue their studies in the United States.

To this end, PAAIA has contacted the DHS to bring attention to the financial difficulties facing many Iranian students currently studying in the United States, and to request that the DHS grant special student relief for these students’ off-campus work permit applications. In addition, PAAIA has asked that applications by Iranian students based on severe economic hardship be expeditiously processed and requests for application fee waivers be granted when applicable.

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