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The Western Union Foundation Supports International Students Impacted by COVID-19

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The Western Union Foundation has announced a commitment of USD $250,000 to provide aid for international students struggling to fund tuition and basic needs such as healthcare, wellness, food, and housing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Western Union Foundation's grant will deliver support to up to 25 students in need, who will each receive USD $10,000. Priority will be given to refugees and migrants in Australia, Canada, France, New Zealand, the United States and the United Kingdom, some of the world's leading host countries of international students.

The Foundation will work with the Institute of International Education (IIE) to deliver the grants. IIE’s recent research on the impacts of COVID found that while colleges and universities are prioritizing the health and wellbeing of their international students, travel restrictions and fewer options for jobs have left some of the most vulnerable international students with a significant financial need.

More than five million international students pursuing higher education contributed to an estimated global economic impact of $300 billion in 2016, driven largely by students from lower-income countries in search of better education, careers, and life, according to StudyPortals.

"COVID-19 has upended the entire world, including the plans and wellbeing of international students. Behind every international student statistic, there is a story of a young person who made the brave decision to leave their home and travel abroad, and often their families have made real sacrifices to make that possible,” said Elizabeth Roscoe, Global Head, Corporate Brand and Purpose for Western Union and Executive Director of the Western Union Foundation.

"The Western Union Foundation believes that international students are an integral part of a growing community of global citizens. They are international ambassadors leading academic excellence, research, and cultural experiences. They contribute to an inclusive, innovative, and interconnected society and workforce, both globally and locally," Roscoe continued.

This initiative builds upon the success of the Foundation's WU Scholars Program, which over the past three years, has helped more than 500 students with their international studies in 100 countries at more than 150 colleges and universities.

"We are proud to partner with the Western Union Foundation to provide this significant funding to students in need of assistance to continue their education," said Dr. Allan Goodman, President, and CEO, Institute of International Education (IIE). "The COVID-19 pandemic has created chaos, and we have heard directly from thousands of students that their financial needs are greater than ever and that many are at risk of not completing their degrees."

IIE is accepting nominations for the WU Scholars grants through September 30, 2020. Students can be nominated by their universities or other higher education institutions, as well as IIE's partner institution network. Eligibility requirements include:

  • Must be an international student already enrolled in the 2020 academic year and already residing in the country of study.
  • Must be able to demonstrate a severe disruption to their ability to pay for expenses (tuition & fees, health insurance, housing).

Western Union and the Western Union Foundation have supported COVID-19 relief from the earliest days of the pandemic, kicking off a USD $1M matching appeal in February. To date, their relief efforts have supported global healthcare systems, domestic hunger-relief, and education for vulnerable populations, including refugees and migrants, impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Western Union Foundation invites the world community, including corporations and foundations, to come together to support the most vulnerable populations seeking to better themselves through education and job skills training by donating through its website, rounding up on the Western Union mobile app or by reaching out via email at wufoundation@westernunion.com.

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About the Western Union Foundation

The Western Union Foundation believes that education is the surest pathway to economic opportunity. After nearly 20 years of impact, we are continuing to deliver against our mission with our Opportunity Beyond Borders commitment, with a focus on empowering forcibly displaced and marginalized youth with the training and education needed to succeed in today's technology-driven global economy. The Foundation also provides funding to communities in crisis through disaster relief and other humanitarian efforts, a key reason for forced migration. To date, more than $126 million granted to fund projects and scholarships in 174 countries across the globe. The Western Union Foundation is a separate charitable corporation that is tax-exempt under 501(c)(3) of the US Internal Revenue Code and receives support from The Western Union Company, its employees, agents, and business partners. Contributions to the Foundation are tax-deductible for US income tax purposes. To learn more, visit wu.com/foundation or follow us on Twitter @TheWUFoundation.

About IIE

The Institute of International Education (IIE) is the leader in providing international education strategies and program services. We work with policymakers, educators and employers across the globe to prepare students and professionals for the global workforce and equip them to solve the increasingly complex challenges facing our interconnected world. With support from donors, we also create initiatives that protect students, scholars, and artists in danger, expand teaching and learning across cultures, and provide opportunities to underserved populations. A not-for-profit organization founded in 1919, IIE has a network of 18 offices and affiliates worldwide and over 1,300 member institutions.

Contact information

Media contacts:
Western Union Global Communications
Pia De Lima; Pia.DeLima@westernunion.com

Western Union Americas
Margaret Fogarty; margaret.fogarty@wu.com

Western Union Foundation
Emily Larson; emily.larson@wu.com

Western Union Middle East & Africa
Mohamed El Khalouki; Mohamed.ElKhalouki@wu.com

Western Union Asia-Pacific
Karen Santos; Karen.Santos2@westernunion.com

IIE
Clare Overmann; Covermann@iie.org

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