Foreign Students in Taiwan Financially Affected by COVID-19 Receive Assistance
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to the drastic reduction in part-time job opportunities causing some foreign and overseas Chinese students in Taiwan to face severe financial difficulties. The government worked to bring together private sector forces and the Ministry of Education (MOE) worked with foreign alumni groups in Taiwan to find the most appropriate way to help such students continue their studies in Taiwan and complete their programs.
Lun King-Hung, Li Sam-Choi, chair of the Taiwan Foreign Alumni Network, both alumni, and Zheng Shu-Hua, a retired staff member of the National Taiwan Normal University Division of Preparatory Programs for Overseas Chinese Students, who are all consistently concerned about the welfare of current students took the lead making donations and fundraising.
Alumni and other good-hearted people, who felt concerned about the students and wanted to help them get through these challenging times and focus on their studies, came forward one after another and made generous donations to the Ministry of Education Donation and Scholarship Foundation. They also reached out to other good people to contribute. The foundation received NT$1.34 million in donations in just a few days, and the amount is still increasing.
Each applicant’s personal circumstances were reviewed by their university or college, followed by a further review by scholars and experts, and a total of 268 students in 69 tertiary institutions will each receive NT$5,000.
The MOE also has measures to assist students to reduce their financial burdens and complete their studies. It originally provided subsidies for up to 3,300 underprivileged foreign and overseas Chinese students each year. In 2017, the number of subsidies was increased to 4,000, to provide financial assistance to overseas Chinese students from Southeast Asia from economically disadvantaged families, in conjunction with Taiwan’s New Southward Policy.
Minister of Education Pan Wen-Chung has asked each university and college to take the initiative to be aware of the personal circumstances of its foreign students and if any foreign students have found themselves facing serious difficulties, to then implement its emergency aid mechanisms to provide those students timely assistance, so that they can continue their studies with peace of mind. He also asked each university and college to submit a report on the personal circumstances of such students and the corresponding counseling measures that were taken.
Most universities and colleges have measures such as installment payment or delayed payment for foreign students who have difficulty paying tuition and fees, and relief supplies, meal vouchers, reduced accommodation fees, and emergency relief funds are available for students facing difficulties meeting everyday living expenses.
The MOE, non-governmental organizations, and generous people are committed to helping foreign students overcome the difficulties caused by the pandemic and attend their classes. The MOE will continue to assist universities and colleges create a friendly learning environment and take care of foreign students studying in Taiwan.