TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The University of South Florida is increasing efforts to help its international students who are stranded thousands of miles from home.
Through its USF Foundation, the university launched the “USF World International Student Support Fund” on Monday. It will help more than 5,000 international students studying at the university who, like many, are facing financial difficulties.
“COVID-19 has drastically changed the lives of all USF students, but our USF international students face unique challenges during this global pandemic and are not eligible for financial assistance from the federal CARES Act,” the fundraising page says. “Without your assistance, these international students may find it impossible to fulfill their dream of earning a college degree at USF. “
In a video created by some of the university’s international students, they describe their experience of the pandemic and having no family as they experience the loss of jobs.
“My country’s currency was greatly devalued compared to the dollar, so paying for my studies here in the U.S. became a lot more expensive,” said Isabella Marques, a student from Brazil.
By noon, 107 donors had raised more than $10,500 for USF students.
Loss of income for international students has a ripple effect on the economy of the United States.
In a recent survey, NAFSA: Association of International Educators estimated losses of nearly $1 billion from shortened or canceled study abroad programs. It’s estimated that the association will have spent approximately $638 million in financial support for international students, scholars, faculty and staff who remained on campus when courses moved online.
Projections from NAFSA esitmate that U.S. higher education will lose more than $3 billion from international student enrollment decreases for fall 2020, leading to losses of more than $4.5 billion to U.S. higher education and tens of thousands of American jobs.
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