MPOWER Financing, a mission-driven financial technology company that provides scholarships and no-cosigner loans to deserving students worldwide, has recently released its third annual Social Impact Report. The report examines the role of financing in democratizing access to education for high-potential students worldwide.
The 2023 social impact report, which draws on data from over 15,000 MPOWER no-cosigner loans made to students from India and around the world over the last decade, as well as an accompanying survey, reveals the impact that innovative financing models for Indian students can have on individuals, educational institutions, India, the student’s host country, and the global community more broadly.
Key findings include:
- 83% of all surveyed Indian students and 93% of Indian women say the availability of an MPOWER educational loan has been instrumental to their ability to study abroad.
- 59% of Indian students report belonging to families with an annual household income of US$12,000 or less, placing them at or below the world median and reinforcing MPOWER’s commitment to providing opportunities for students from diverse financial backgrounds.
- 37% are first-generation college students.
The economic impact of international students in the U.S. and Canada extends once they graduate and become alums and either remain in their host country or return home to India. Indian graduates of foreign universities often influence businesses in their new home to do more deals with firms in their country of origin (Brain Gain), or move back to their origin countries, bringing foreign expertise and global best practices with them – a phenomenon called Brain Circulation.
The report encompasses a case study on how India has benefited from an educated and engaged diaspora that includes multinational corporation leaders, influential political figures, and innovative entrepreneurs who have not only excelled in their respective fields but also fostered strong connections between their host countries and India, significantly contributing to India’s global stature and economic growth.
According to the study, nearly half of all world leaders were educated abroad (with the United States being the most common destination), allowing them to serve as bridges between nations and making them more likely to embrace democratic values.
The report concludes with a call to action for higher education institutions, policymakers, the private sector, and donors and philanthropists to take action to enhance overseas study opportunities for students:
- For higher education institutions: Colleges and universities should promote a comprehensive range of financial options, including government and private scholarships, institutional aid, and global student loans, to support and attract international students. This inclusive financial strategy is essential to promote diversity among schools’ international student populations and reduce or eliminate deposits for students from low-income countries and backgrounds.
- For policymakers: 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. The U.S. should increase staff and streamline processes in overloaded consular offices, like those across sub-Saharan Africa, to eliminate months-long waiting times for visa appointments. The U.S. Department of State should additionally increase training and guidance for improved visa adjudication and work to remedy posts experiencing high visa decline rates.
- For the private sector: Investing in the asset class of global student loans helps build the global talent pool, grow and diversify the workforce, and spurs innovation and entrepreneurship. This is especially critical as the U.S. and Canada face a demographic decline and a shrinking domestic workforce that will increasingly rely on global talent. Additionally, firms with a worldwide client base should recognize international students’ value and actively pursue hiring international students and sponsoring visas.
- For donors and philanthropists: 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.
About MPOWER Financing
MPOWER Financing, based in Washington, D.C., uses a proprietary algorithm that evaluates overseas and domestic credit data and future earning potential to serve promising international students. The firm works with over 400 top universities in the United States and Canada to fund students from over 200 countries. The MPOWER team consists of former international students and provides students with personal financial education and career support to prepare them for their professional careers after graduation. The company recently announced that it exceeded $300 million in finding capacity to support international students’ education. It is hiring for various positions worldwide.