Why a unique global education is actually not out of your reach
Many yearn for an educational experience that transcends the norm and breaks the tradition, blazing along a truly 21st Century path and offering a sensational experience of the world while earning a degree. But few of us are aware that it is within our grasp, even if we don’t come from a rich and privileged background.
Minerva Schools is an innovative liberal arts education institute with an extraordinary global campus spanning seven major global cities which has recently accepted its first four young South Africans to start their undergraduate studies in September 2016. Determined that financial conditions do not limit their admission of future global citizens, leaders and game-changers, the university has a sound financial aid programme that currently enables 82% of their incoming students to take their place on their world campus.
“Our aim is to attract and educate globally-aware, civically-sensitive, academically accomplished achievers with proven high levels of commitment,” says Minerva Managing Director Africa, Fatou Badiane-Toure, “To this end, we focus on being highly accessible, and we certainly don’t want finances to be a barrier to entry for the students who are clearly an ideal fit. We don’t want highly motivated candidates to lose out on an exceptional opportunity because of the socio-economic conditions of their family.”
As a starting point, Minerva Schools offers high quality education at a quarter of the cost that other comparable American Universities might charge. The ability to pay tuition fees is deliberately not a criterion that is assessed at the admissions stage, even in regard to international students.
“This is why you will find at Minerva, a diverse group of highly motivated students with a strong sense of humility,” says Badiane-Toure, “They all know that they were admitted because we believe they have an important role to play in the Minerva community, and across the world. No one is at Minerva only because they can afford to pay tuition and fees or because they have families that have the capacity to donate to our university.”
The Minerva model of financial aid is based on demonstrated need. All applications are evaluated equally and admission decisions are made strictly based on the students’ merit. Once admitted, all students who have a need for financial aid can apply and will be awared financial support based on the evidence of their family’s need.
Established in San Francisco, Minerva differs from most universities around the world in that it provides the same financial aid model to American and international students.
Minerva financial aid is structured in three ways:
- Scholarships and grants – Funds from Minerva that are provided to students who demonstrate a certain level of need. This is money that students do not have to repay.
- Work study – Students are empowered to contribute to different teams at Minerva as work/study interns. They are paid per hour for a limited number of hours per week as stipulated on their visa restrictions. The money they earn helps them to cover the cost of food and local transportation within the different cities they live and learn in.
- Loans – Minerva provides guaranteed loans to both American and international students giving all an equal opportunity to access loans. The policy aims to ensure that Minerva students graduate with less than $20,000 in loans. A clear and structured loan repayment schedule makes this more affordable for students. In addition, the Minerva Professional Development Agency works with employers around the world to ensure that students get very good jobs upon graduation, making repayments more manageable.
“The essence of the Minerva financial aid model is that it makes university education more accessible and affordable to all students regardless of their country of origin,” concludes Badiane-Toure, “Our keen focus on helping our students secure internships throughout their four years of study at Minerva, as well as a job upon graduation, is aimed at reducing the debt burden of student loans. 88% of our first-year students had internships and research positions at well-recognized institutions globally. With such a unique and consistent experience, they will without a doubt have great job opportunities once they graduate. We consciously aim that repaying student loans will not be a burden to their future lives.”