According to the report, taking an innovative approach to funding can lead to a more financially diverse student body as students don’t have to base their study choices on financial aid while also reducing dependence on scholarships.
“For most of us in the sector, international students represent a meaningful part of a rich university environment, yet these students’ financial realities are not well understood,” Sam Weber, chief sales and marketing office at Prodigy Finance, told The PIE News.
“Students often report to schools that they are self-funded as they’re nervous about whether or not they’ll be admitted if they don’t have funding. In reality, most international students, unlike domestic students, struggle to secure financial assistance to pay for tuition.
“Prodigy Finance provides services specifically tailored to international student needs which is particularly valuable for students that do not have a traditional student loan products.”
Loans for international students generally require a co-signer or the fronting of collateral to secure funding.
“For many international students, access to student loans is very limited. What is traditionally available, a collateralised loan that requires a co-signer, is often offered at very high interest rates,” Weber continued.
“For students without assets that means that there are not a lot of good funding options to study abroad. Prodigy Finance’s loans for international students are not collateralised. You do not need a co-signer.”
The company, which last year raised $1 billion, sees China, India and Brazil as its largest markets, although it has seen increasing growth in less traditional markets such as Cameroon, which saw a year-on-year increase of 206% in 2017-18, Morocco (155%) and Ghana (154%).
Although loans are currently only open to graduates, Prodigy Finance can support funding for over 2,600 different courses in fields like engineering, law and business across 190 universities and 600 schools. It calculates its rates based on the data it has accumulated since it started in 2007.
“Our underwriting methodology uses dozens of data points that we’ve tested over time to help understand what a student’s potential earnings could look like. We offer what we believe is are affordable loans based on that,” Weber said.