Daniel Varela is a 4.0 GPA student, Phi Theta Kappa Member and Mentor, Forward of the Lonestar College-Cyfair Soccer team, and Student Ambassador of the enrollment department in Lonestar College-Cyfair. He is studying for an Industrial Engineering Bachelor’s Degree planning to transfer to Texas A&M University or University of Houston.
Andrea Tejera is a 3.4 GPA Student, Volunteer at the Lonestar College- Cyfair Global Friendship Club, and Volunteer at the Pastor Jones’ home-church. She is studying for a Business Management Bachelor’s Degree planning to transfer to University of Houston.
Salvador Ros is a 4.0 GPA Student, Phi Theta Kappa Member, and MATH Tutor at the Lonestar Academic Success Center. He is studying for a Civil Engineering Bachelor’s Degree planning to transfer to University of Houston.
What happened to them?
In Venezuela since 2003 the government has the legal control of the currency exchange (dollars, euros, pounds, etc) with a control system called CADIVI. In order for a Venezuelan to exchange their currency to dollars, the person has to create a file and submit it to the government and then they will decide whether if they approve it or not. Once you get approved then they will let you exchange your currency (bolivares) for the requested amount of dollars you asked for (In many of the cases they also determine the amount of dollars you will be able to exchange).
The situation with these students is that they are International students from Venezuela and because of an unfair decision of the government, their permission of exchanging their current currency (Bolivares) to dollars in order to pay for tuition, house, gas, food, etc was denied and they will no longer be able to request it again.
So why they can’t exchange it?
As previously explained, with this CADIVI system, Venezuelan International Students in the US and other countries need to file the requested amount of money for tuition, housing, living expenses, books, etc and submit it to the government in order to get their parents (or anybody in Venezuela) to exchange their “bolivares” to dollars. What happened? The government unfairly denied the request of Daniel, Andrea and Salvador along with most of the request of other Venezuelan students in the U.S.
Why they did it?
The Venezuelan government, as you might know (or in the case you don’t) has always been covered with a coat of corruption, especially with this currency exchange control system (CADIVI). The members of the government after years and years of stealing dollars that were meant to be for the Venezuelan people and the country, have caught Venezuela into a big international debt which has almost cleaned completely the reserves that were meant to be for education, importation, exportation, 1st need supplies, infrastructure, and other primary areas.
Since the government has no longer the dollars available for the foreign education sector, they just started denying every single request the Venezuelan students have made. Excusing themselves by explaining that this area and students in it are no longer a priority for the country and they will no longer approve any request. Which is a big lie since the real truth is that they can’t approve the requests because they don’t have the money to do so.
What is their future if they can’t afford for tuition, gas, food, books, etc?
For these students going back right now would be throwing their future away because of the crisis that is going on in Venezuela. They already have found a job in college in which they will work 20 hours a week with a minimum wage, this approximately gives them around 600 dollars. They will use this money in order to harshly pay for rent, gas, food, etc. The truth is that they won’t be able to save any money for tuition and books when they will be hardly managing to pay for living expenses, and that is the mission of this campaign!
We want to raise money for tuition because of the unfairness of our situation; we have worked hard for our education to be all thrown away because of the decision of a system in which we don’t have any jurisdiction or way to appeal. We always try to make our community be proud of us and we have earned the respect and love of our friends, classmates, professors, and any other person we have met, with hard work and discipline. It would be a shame for us to leave the U.S. having worked so hard through our first terms in college. Especially knowing that if we manage to get to transfer in 1 year we would be filled with scholarships of universities that will help us out to pay for school rewarding all we have done through our 2 years at Lonestar College.
Dr. Blake Ellis is an associate professor of history at Lone Star College-CyFair and serves as faculty advisor of the campus honor society:
“These students have worked very hard and have each excelled academically. They have found themselves in a very tough situation through no fault of their own. I hope we can raise enough money to keep them working towards college degrees and to help them build on their success so far.”
Professor of Political Science, Lead Faculty
Lone Star College-CyFair
"It has been an honor to teach my students who are originally from Venezuela. All three of them have contributed greatly to the courses they take and it has been a privilege to be their instructor. I am disheartened to hear they may not be able to continue their academic studies because of the issue with Venezuelan currency. I would hate to see their dreams crushed. Please donate to their site. They are amazing students who really deserve the chance to finish their degrees."
We spend around 4[phone redacted] dollars for each year at Lonestar, this amount is based on a 30-36 credits year which is the number of credits we take each year, and because of our F-1 International Status we are not eligible to apply for FAFSA or any other Financial Aid.
Here you can find and verify the amount of tuition F-1 International Students need to pay for their classes:
This is why the full goal is 12k, which would be 4k for each of us. This amount will assure us to be able to pay for our tuition for the complete academic year 2[phone redacted].
And here’s what makes the campaign even a more humanitarian project, if we do manage to reach the goal for us (Daniel, Andrea, and Salvador) and we keep getting donations the rest of the money would go to other Venezuelan students at Lonestar College-Cyfair that also have the same problem as us.
So you would not just be helping us, you would be helping many more people. We can do it.
More than help, you would be giving many hard-working students the hope to fully complete their academic goals and aim for a better life.
Just do what you can, donate 5, 10, 20, 30, 50, 100 $ any amount will help us out and definitively make a difference in our life.
Also sharing this story and sharing this campaign has big impact in the success of it.
Please share it, tweet it, post in on Facebook, Instagram, anywhere.
Sharing and connecting people is the key to the success of this project.
- Harold Martinez
- Blake Ellis
- Monica De la Torre
- Roberto Estaba
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