MPOWER Financing the leading provider of education loans to high-promise students around the world, today announced that it has raised an equity investment of US$100 million. The funding underscores investors’ confidence in MPOWER’s position as the leading lender for students aspiring to study abroad.
Founded in 2014 by Emmanuel (Manu) Smadja, MPOWER Financing aims to democratize education by reducing financial barriers for high-promise students from around the world. MPOWER’s loans are approved instantly and are granted at competitive interest rates without requiring a cosigner or collateral. MPOWER additionally provides students with academic, financial and career guidance to position them for success both in school and after graduation.
“We’re delighted to be working with experienced investors who share our vision of empowering the brightest students from around the world,” said Smadja, Chief Executive Officer of MPOWER Financing. “The new funds will be used to directly support students, automate and scale our operations, and to grow our team. We look forward to supporting an even greater number of qualified students around the globe as they study in the U.S. and Canada.”
“When I did my M.B.A in the U.S., financing options like MPOWER, which don’t require collateral or a cosigner, didn’t exist,” said Ashwini Kumar, General Manager of MPOWER’s India Office. “So, the financial burden fell on not just me, but by my parents as well. MPOWER makes it possible for future generations of students to access the world’s top universities without this financial pressure, allowing them focus on their academics and career.”
The new funding is in addition to the US$30 million MPOWER raised earlier this year from Tilden Park Capital Management, which also participated in the current round, and ETS Strategic Capital on behalf of ETS, the world’s largest non-profit educational assessment, research and measurement organization. Other investors in the current round include King Street Capital Management, Drakes Landing Associates, and Pennington Alternative Income Management.
“We are excited to partner with MPOWER Financing as it operates a truly differentiated business model where it not only lends to students, but also offers career guidance and supports students throughout their journey,” said Chris Gamaitoni, Managing Director of Tilden Park Capital Management. “The team’s mission and commitment to their students are inspiring. We are thrilled to support MPOWER Financing as it continues to expand its global reach and support even more students. We look forward to building on the company’s successes together.”
Coventry University Students Help Design New Africa Hub
Coventry University interior architecture and design students teamed up with award-winning global architecture, urbanism and design practice Broadway Malyan to design the interior of the university’s new Africa Hub.
Located within the mixed-use Kigali Heights development in Kigali, Rwanda, the hub will support Coventry University’s links in Sub-Saharan Africa and help extend its corporate functions across the world.
Second-year Interior Architecture and Design BA (Hons) students Tabitha Odutayo and Mónica Calanche Silva were selected by their lecturer, Richard Jones, to work on the interior design project alongside contractors Broadway Malyan to give them experience of working on a professional project.
“It was very hands-on from the outset as we were briefed on the project and tasked with creating feature screens that will be incorporated into the office space. I focused on the design while Mónica developed in-depth research on Rwanda which included background history, design styles and the incorporation of their art in practice. From this, we presented our ideas and research before creating technical drawings and renders. We brought these two stages of development to arrive at a final design idea,” Tabitha explained.
The students focused on developing a design that would represent the country, using Rwanda’s popular traditional Imigongo patterns to influence the designs of the feature screens.
Mónica said: “This was definitely a learning curve, not only for us but also for everyone involved in the process. It showed us the importance of clear communication, time management, and resilience in order to achieve the final outcome. We’re very excited to see the finished product!”
Harry Hoodless, Regional Board Director, Broadway Malyan, said: “Engagement is at the heart of what we believe makes a successful design solution and we collaborated with two fantastic students on our work on the Coventry University Africa Hub. Tabitha and Mónica provided research on local craft, social expressions, and the heritage context of the hub’s location in Kigali, Rwanda, from which we asked them to develop designs for feature screens that would divide up the space, provide privacy and a sense of scale to each working zone. We were delighted to see well resolved models and renders of the approved design solutions which we then integrated into our workplace planning and final design for the Hub. Overall, the collaborative experience working with the students at Coventry University was one both my team and I valued greatly, and we trust the passion they put into their work will translate into the visitor experience for the Hub.”
Professor Silas Lwakabamba, Regional Managing Director of the Africa Hub, Coventry University, said: “Despite the challenges of working remotely, Mónica and Tabitha’s contribution to the design of the Africa Hub demonstrated their industry-ready skills and provides a great example of what makes our graduates highly employable.”
U.S. Facilitates $28M Scholarship For Nigerian Students in 1 year – U.S. Ambassador
The U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard, says her country has facilitated 28 million dollars scholarships for Nigerian students to study in U.S institutions in the last one year.
Leonard said this on Thursday at the commemoration of the Student Visa Day organised by the U.S Mission in Abuja.
She said that the scholarship process was facilitated by the Education U.S.A programme of the embassy which was keen on enabling Nigerian students to pursue their academics and a future in the U.S.
“We are proud to prioritize Nigeria’s scholars in our consular process, as we recognise the value their success holds for the country’s future. With over 13,700 students fulfilling their American education dreams, the United States welcomes more Nigerian students enrolled than ever before. Americans view university study as an investment in a professional future.
“And I’m pleased that our Education USA team has helped Nigerian students apply for and receive more than 28 million dollars in scholarships and other educational funding to pursue their future. We know from us over 8,000 education and exchange programme alumni in Nigeria, the tremendous community impact that results when these ambitious students return to apply their knowledge and skills.
“Here at the U.S. Embassy, we are proud of the diversity in American educational institutions. There are more than 8,000 Students and Exchange Visitor Programme-certified educational institutions in the United States,” Leonard said.
The envoy also noted that beyond studying in the U.S, the programme provides the opportunity for Nigerian students to meet with U.S citizens and other nationals which will help in strengthening bilateral ties.
She said that with more than one million students from 220 countries and territories, the United States hosts more international students than any other country in the world.
She revealed that Nigeria sent more students to the United States than any other country in Africa.
“Students at our universities exchange ideas not only with American students but with students from across the globe. The educational enrichment that these types of discussions provide is priceless.
“As students, you will hear ideas and personal stories from your classmates and professors that will challenge your views. And also expand your understanding of the world; your ideas and stories will do the same for those around you.,” she said.
According to her, by studying together in the same schools, Nigerians, Americans, and students from all other nationalities will not only understand each other better but also see how many common challenges we all face.
“Students can work together to creatively solve problems and build long-term professional collaborations, increasing our countries’ economic ties”, Leonard added.
She, therefore, congratulated the beneficiaries, who were present as she urged them to stay focused on their studies in other to make a meaningful impact in the country when they return.
Ms Malate Atajiri, an Education USA Adviser said the opportunities fund programme seeks to identify and support high achieving low-income students who otherwise will not have been able to navigate or finance the process.
Atajiri said that the programme helps to support aspiring students towards securing full scholarships from top colleges in the U.S.
“The programme finances the process right from the testing stage, their application fees and even paying for their flight tickets after they have secured the funding. This year, the opportunity funds programme in Abuja supported 50 students to secure 4 million dollars in scholarships at some of the most competitive colleges and institutions in North America.
“Since the programme started, we have placed over 320 students with full funding in the U.S the programme also has a strong ethos of giving back. Although we have many students who have done and continue to do great things, Education USA is committed to helping young Nigerians who are interested in studying in the U.S.
“We help students to navigate that process and help them realize their dreams of a U.S education,” Atajiri said.
Atajiri added that the Education USA had six centers in Nigeria; Abuja, Lagos, Jos, Calabar and Ibadan where aspiring students could visit to learn more and get more information on the programmes and processes. (NAN)
Senate Approves Upgrade Of Ilaro Poly To Ogun State University of Technology
The Senate, on Tuesday, approved the upgrade of the Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro, Ogun State to a university of technology.
The development followed the third reading of a bill for an Act to provide for the establishment of the Federal University of Technology, Ilaro and for Other Matters Connected therewith.
The piece of legislation was sponsored by Senator Solomon Adeola, an All Progressives Congress senator representing Lagos West Senatorial District.
The bill was earlier sponsored by Adeola in the 8th Senate but could not be passed before the expiration of the 8th Senate and it was again presented again in the 9th Senate for consideration and passage.
The Vice-Chairman, Senate Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND, Senator Sadiq Umar Sulaiman, presented the report on behalf of the chairman of the committee Senator Ahmad Babba-Kaita.
The report stated that there was a need to expand opportunities for advanced education in technology.
He added that the upgrade of the Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro to a university of technology will be of tremendous benefits for host communities, provide employment as well as educational development to quickly increase avenue for degree awards in technological fields for teeming Nigerian youths.
The bill which was passed after thorough consideration of its clauses by the Senate in plenary is now set for concurrence of the House of Representatives and eventual assent by the President.
The President of the Senate Ahmad Lawan congratulated Adeola for the passage of the bill that he had pursued since the 8th Senate.
Adeola, who was elated at the passage of the bill, stated that the passage marks a fulfillment of one of his legislative agendas in relation to the institutional development of education at all levels.
He added that the Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro already has enough facilities for the upgrade to take off immediately without much expenditure as would have been required for a brand-new university.
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