Do you want to speak at SOCAP23? The SOCAP Open Session Submission Period Is LIVE!

Submit Your Ideas Here by April 1!

Reducing Global Inequality Through Forward-Looking Educational Lending

Sasha Ramani July 13, 2022

Higher education is a safety net in advanced and emerging countries alike. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has torn the net apart for many and revealed gaping inequities. Demand for overseas education remains high, reaching over 5 million according to the OECD, yet many students are unable to go abroad due to a range of barriers, with affordability being the most significant challenge. 

In the US, for example, international students are not typically eligible for US-based student loans. Nor are they eligible for financial aid. The result is a loss-loss situation: talented students are denied access and the US is also denied the many economic development benefits international students bring when they step onto campuses and into communities. In 2021, international students contributed $28 billion to the US economy. 

The solution is an overhaul of the student loan system. By infusing fintech into educational lending, lenders can make credit decisions using a forward-looking model centered on students’ extraordinary potential rather than the traditional backward-looking model that requires an established credit history, collateral or a cosigner – all the barriers to financing international students typically face. 

In this session, a leader from MPOWER and an international higher education expert will discuss how MPOWER’s fintech-based lending model is expanding the U.S. and Canadian higher education market to serve more of the world’s highest-potential individuals.  



Fireside Chat (3 speakers maximum)

Meta Themes

  • Deliver Equity and Inclusion

  • Reimagine Systems


Education Equality

Purpose and Desired Outcome

The purpose of this session is to encourage a ‘rethink’ and a ‘reimagination’ of the educational lending system among key decision-makers, with the overhaul of the lending system being one key component of the transformation. The speakers will draw from MPOWER’s soon-to-be released Social Impact Report, which explores the following benefits a forward-thinking, fintech-based educational lending, grant and scholarship system can spur: Increasing access to education for underprivileged students from Global South countries Increasing access for women, particularly in the STEM fields Diversifying the international student population, and enabling colleges and universities to meet their diversity goals Positioning students for educational and professional success Scaling impact and increasing access through scholarships, including for DACA and refugee students Exploring how public and private sector solutions can continue to increase access for talented students


  • Allocators (Family Offices, HNW Individuals, Foundations)

  • Asset Managers

  • Corporate & SME

  • Entrepreneurs

  • Academia


  • NameRajika Bhandari, Ph.D.
  • TitleAuthor and Principal
  • OrganizationRajika Bhandari Advisors
  • StatusConfirmed
  • NameEmmanuel ‘Manu’ Smadja
  • TitleCEO/Co-Founder
  • OrganizationMPOWER Financing
  • StatusConfirmed
  • NameLesley J. Turner, Pd. D.
  • TitleAssociate Professor of Economics
  • OrganizationVanderbilt University
  • StatusInvited
Join the SOCAP Newsletter!