Access to Financing Increases Geographic, Gender, and Economic Diversity of International Students, According to New Study

14th October 2022:  MPOWER Financing, a mission-driven fintech firm and the leading provider of scholarships and no-cosigner loans to promising students from around the world, today released their second Social Impact Report. The report analyzes the role that financing plays in international education and student outcomes.

The Social Impact Report was produced in partnership with Dr. Rajika Bhandari – an international higher education expert, former international student, and author of America Calling: A Foreign Student in a Country of Possibility. The deeply personal memoir recounts her journey from India to the U.S. as a student and immigrant and appeals to countries to open their doors to international students.

A few key findings include:

  • Eighty-three percent of students report cost as the most significant barrier to studying abroad
  • Ninety-one percent of students state that the availability of an educational loan was instrumental to their ability to study abroad
  • Seventy-nine percent of students who responded to the survey came from Global South (emerging) nations
  • International students have a significant economic impact on their host country during their studies. MPOWER students alone have contributed US$363 million to 300 universities
  • International students also contribute significantly post-graduation to the economy and civil society in the U.S. and Canada: 18% of graduates have raised funds and advocated for key causes, and 10% have founded or co-founded a company or organization

The report concludes with a call to action for higher education institutions, policymakers, and the private sector to improve access to global education. Suggestions on taking action include:

  • Colleges and universities should consider a full suite of financial solutions for students, including scholarships, financial aid, and wider availability of cross-border student loans
  • Immigration reform is urgently needed in the U.S. to establish a clear pathway between higher education and skilled immigration to maximize the economic impact that international students can make
  • More scholarships and private philanthropic efforts focused on different groups of underprivileged students are needed to increase educational access and prevent “brain waste” or the loss of human capital. Displaced and refugee college students are particularly vulnerable

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