As we talk to colleges and universities across the country at the NAFSA regionals, many schools strive to offer their international students the best financial package. But, depending on the school, there may be some financial aid to give, while others may be left with very little to offer in the way of scholarships, grants and other awards. No matter what your school’s circumstance is, it’s important to consider stakeholders in your community that can help you address some of the additional support you may require.
Here are 5 stakeholders that can help your international students with additional funding, supplies, and support:
1. Alumni Associations – Don’t forget that international – or even domestic – alumni can help you in a number of ways. As strong ties continue to develop overseas, more and more alumni are graduating from your school and can be an important resource for you if you maintain communication and a strong relationship even after graduation. Alumni and alumni associations can help your existing and prospective international students when it comes to internship opportunities, mentoring for your students, and they can even act as a source to help fund programs. A well thought out strategy in your international office is key.
2. International Student Clubs and Organizations – International student clubs and other student organizations are another great way to involve students already on campus to not only help their community, but to provide a support system to new international students. Whether it’s the international student organization or the Chinese club on campus, mobilize and encourage involvement. These organizations can help you hold drives, raise funds for scholarships and emergency funds, and help act as the advocate for your incoming international students.
3. Non-Profit Organizations – There are so many non-profits that are looking to provide support to your International Center. While this often goes overlooked, build ties with various organizations in the community as they can also help you with furniture, clothing, and bicycle drives. They can also help provide funding to students who face interruption of funds due to a family or governmental situation. Seek out partnerships with the community, appoint someone in your office to manage those relationships, and network! The benefits of developing these partnerships can go beyond your expectations.
4. Religious Groups – Many religious organizations are also willing and able to help international students when it comes to providing financial support. There are religious-affiliated awards given to international students every year. Some schools have reported amazing support when some students were unable to access their funds from their home country – talk to your community and see what resources are available.
5. Immigration Community – Depending on your international student body and the immigration community in your area, you may have a great support system for your students. These immigration communities can help transition your students to live in the US, provide important connections for off-campus employment, and give your students a wealth of information and support.