$100 million will be used as loan capital to lend to “high potential” international and DACA students to pursue an education in the US or Canada, while the remaining $10m in equity funding which will be used for MPOWER’s internal operations, expanding the team, investing in new technologies, and marketing budget.
It will also fund an expansion into Canada, where MPOWER will offer an international student loan program at 12 universities across Ontario and British Columbia.
“The international student population in Canada is already close to half a million and continues to grow rapidly,” said Manu Smadja, CEO and Co-founder of MPOWER Financing.
“We are still growing and doubling our business every year [in the US], especially because that market is still big”
“While some countries are raising barriers, Canada is rolling out the red carpet to international students, demonstrating its commitment to education and openness to immigration.”
While Canada appears to be more welcoming to international students than the US, MPOWER has not noticed a drop in interest in loans to study in the US, Lutz Braum, VP, Marketing & Business Development told The PIE News.
“Canada has done a nice job of having a policy that tries to increase the international student market,” he said.
“We are still growing and doubling our business every year [in the US], especially because that market is still big,” he explained, adding that MPOWER had served a “couple thousand” international students in the US so far.
Smaller schools that have less name recognition and support, and maybe lack funds to recruit international students proactively are the schools that have seen declines in international student numbers, Braum noted.
Currently, the Washington, D.C.-based fintech company serves more than 200 universities in the US where students are getting a good degree with great job prospects afterwards, and where students will be in a good position to pay the firm back.
“We have a pretty good estimate of what the job prospects for any degree are in every country – we can estimate what the future earnings are and that’s what determines how much we lend to someone,” Braum said.
With international demand continuing to be incredibly strong, Braum predicted, due to limited domestic university places to absorb all students in many countries.
“[India has] three million high school graduates that want to go to university every year, but they only have 30,000 university spots in India, which means only 1% of Indians can actually pursue a degree at home. The other 99%, if they want to get a higher education, have to go overseas,” he said.