A ray of hope for international students at St. Thomas University, as the St Thomas University Students’ Union, has decided to offer up to $1,000 to students in need for the winter session leftover, under the St. Thomas University Students’ Union’s International Student COVID-19 Financial Aid Fund.
The International Student Representative for STUSU, Alex Nguyen was the brains behind the idea. The reason for the Financial Aid Fund was that international students had established GoFundMe websites to raise funds for their studies in the country.
She stated that the international students in the country have been in distress emotionally and the fund is directed at reducing any negative feelings. In a statement, Nguyen painted a rather vivid picture of being an alone International Student during a pandemic with financial troubles.
STUSU has received 13th February 2021, 31 applications have been received for the COVID-19 Financial fund. While a committee has approved a total of 17 applications, there are in the process of reviewing more.
The vice-president administration of STUSU, Matt Oram, stated that the fund has been taken out of the remaining funds that were not used last year. He stated that the funds that were earlier allocated for social events which were later on cancelled due to the pandemic, is now being allocated for the financial aid. Oram further added that the available funds in the emergency bursaries line add up to $24,700.
He stated that since the money in some of the lines were yet to be spent, the transfer of funds has been possible. He stated that the Union aims to give back the money to the students. Alexa Nevas stated that while both domestic and international students have been affected by the pandemic, international students felt the brunt of it, stated the Vice-president of STU’s International Student Association. Alex Navas.
Concerns started rising when the home countries of some of the international students were gravely affected by the pandemic, thus causing a detrimental effect on the mental health of the students. In a bid to address this issue, Oram and other members of the union started working on the methods of implementing Nguyen’s idea as soon as possible.
Oram added that the STUSU wanted to ensure that international students were not forced to leave the country due to the pandemic.