Before moving forward with the process of applying for SEH, it’s important that you first consider the case you can put together to demonstrate your eligibility. This involves not only explaining your circumstances and their impact, but documenting them as well. OIS recommends that you start with the following:
The personal statement should address the following sections:
- What happened? What is the financial hardship and how was it both unforeseen and beyond your control? (i.e. when you applied for your F-1 visa, you certified adequate funding to cover your expenses in the US; what changed since then?)
- Why is SEH needed? Describe the IMPACT of the circumstances described above (how has your financial situation changed as a result) and why on-campus employment is either unavailable or insufficient to meet your needs.
- How will SEH help? Discuss the feasibility that SEH authorization can sufficiently address your financial needs (i.e. how will making approx. $15/hour 20 hours/week help your situation? Realistically, is this enough to get you back on track? Why?). Also, make sure to address how you plan to still maintain your studies while working on SEH.
Documentation should be included to support everything included in the personal statement. Examples include:
- News articles confirming the circumstances (currency devaluations, natural disasters, etc.)
- Letters from individuals involved (for example, a family member, a financial sponsor, etc. confirming the situation)
- Medical bills
- Monthly budget to indicate that the funds earned in 20 hours/week of off-campus employment can realistically meet your needs
- Transcript to prove your full-time enrollment and good standing