According to the paper, 85% of the more than 2,000 loans MPOWER has made have gone to students who would otherwise not been able to finance a degree.
“There are so many barriers preventing women from accessing education”
Around 76% of borrowers have come from emerging markets, it showed, while 53% have family incomes of less than $15,000.
The company – founded by two former international students – had the aim of making socioeconomic mobility borderless, according to Maureen Klovers, MPOWER’s director of Social Impact.
Of the company’s four social impact objectives, “removing financial barriers for diverse, high-potential international and DACA students” is the most critical, she said.
“There’s a misperception that all international students are wealthy.
“But our data showed that, when no-cosigner loans like ours are an option, a much broader and more diverse cohort of international students can attend top schools,” Klovers told The PIE News.
MPOWER was the only financing option for 85% of its borrowers, she added.
“That percentage is even higher for women. More than half of students were from families making less than $15,000, and 17% are from families making less than $2,500.
“Some of the skepticism we initially encountered was along the lines of ”well, you’re just helping wealthy students who would be able to come here anyhow’.
“But now we have data to back up what we’ve long suspected—that most of our students wouldn’t be here at all without MPOWER, and most are not from wealthy backgrounds,” she explained.
The report also shows that 45% of borrowers have been female, and attaining gender parity remains a key focus for the firm.
“There are so many barriers preventing women from accessing education that occur much earlier in the education pipeline,” Klovers said.
MPOWER will be donating $25 for each loan closed this Fall to the Malala Fund, which is working at the grassroots level to increase access to secondary schools for women in most of its major markets—including India, Nigeria, and Brazil.
“They’re working to keep girls in school so that someday they will be competitive candidates for admission to the universities we support,” Klovers noted.
It will also ramp up efforts to reach more students via its free immigration and career preparation resources, beginning with a free 10-part Path2Success webinar series featuring webinars with an immigration attorney and a professional career coach for all international and DACA students.