UB Assists More Than 700 Asian Students Affected By Currency Crisis

By Sue Wuetcher

Release Date: January 16, 1998 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The University at Buffalo is working to assist more than 700 international students who are having difficulty paying their UB bills due to the currency crisis in Asia.

Nicolas Goodman, vice provost for undergraduate education, said UB cannot afford to waive payment; the 730 students from the eight countries most seriously affected by the crisis owe almost $2 million in tuition and fees.

He added, however, that for students who can document that their financial difficulties are a direct result of the currency devaluation in their countries, the university may be able to work out a delayed-payment plan or other arrangement until an alternate source of funding can be found. UB will not charge these students late fees, he added.

"We are being flexible from the point of view of the due dates of bills," he said.

Two-thirds of the 730 students at UB who might be affected are graduate students, and the rest are undergraduates.

Students from several East Asian countries, including Japan, Thailand, Korea, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Taiwan, have seen their country's currencies devalue substantially in the past few months due to crashing stock and currency markets in the region.

For example, the Indonesian currency has only one-quarter of the value it had six months ago, Goodman said. The 40 students at UB whose funds for living expenses, as well as tuition and fees, come from Indonesia have seen "the cost of attendance (at UB) multiply by four in six months and by two in two weeks," he added.

While Goodman said it was too early to say for sure if students were dropping out of UB because of the financial crisis -- bills were due on Jan. 13, barely a week ago -- he speculated that some certainly will leave the university.

UB, in trying to help these students, is "responding to the individual needs of individual students based on documentation of their individual circumstances in a flexible and humane way," he stressed.

The university is encouraging faculty and staff who know students in this situation to urge them to contact the Office of Student Accounts.