Tulane University is a diverse school, with more than 1,600 international students and scholars from 89 countries studying on the campus in New Orleans, Louisiana. In addition, many Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) students — those whose parents brought them to the United States illegally as children — call the school home.
To make these students feel welcome and support their needs, campus organizations such as the Undocumented Student Support Committee, Office of International Students and Scholars, and International Partners Outreach Group are working with undergraduate and graduate student governments to provide support.
Recently, the Undocumented/International Student Emergency Fund, a financial assistance program, was started through a crowdsourcing campaign and quickly surpassed its initial goal of $10,000. The online campaign continues, and the money will be used to provide emergency assistance to students from these groups.
Adaora Okoli, a graduate student from Nigeria studying public health, is one who has benefited from these efforts.
Shortly after arriving in New Orleans, Okoli lost her sponsor and had no way to pay for tuition, housing or food.
“Sometimes, people come here without knowing what’s going to happen,” she said. “Sometimes their country is in a recession…sometimes the situation of things before you come to enroll in a school changes. That’s enough to get sponsors to say, ‘Ok, we’re sorry, but we’re not going to fund your education anymore.’”
Fortunately, with the help of the Emergency Fund, Okoli was able to stay in New Orleans and continue her education.