New Financial Aid Option for International Stanford MBAs

Stanford GSB is now offering loan forgiveness options to its international graduates:

The GSB International Loan Forgiveness Program (ILFP) was launched in fall 2006 and is already having the kind of impact it was designed for: helping international students who graduate from the Business School with staggering debt. "The program is part of the School's increased interest in having a greater positive influence abroad," explains Colleen MacDonald, director of financial aid and a key player in the creation of the new program.

For many international students, particularly for those in developing nations, financing their education becomes a huge obstacle. Securing a loan in their home countries can be challenging, and loans from the United States are tied to American currency. The average indebtedness for an international student in the MBA Class of 2006, for example, was more than $80,000. That spells tough choices upon graduation. Going back home where one's expertise could make a real difference can mean not earning enough to keep up with loan payments. Working in wealthy nations has often been seen as the only option. . . .

"We want to enable students to go back to their home countries or other countries where they can really put their skills to work assisting developing economies," MacDonald says. Eligible graduates may be awarded up to $7,500 each year, according to their level of indebtedness. Currently, recipients can receive funds for a total of three years after graduation.

"Our hope is to expand the program beyond the pilot so that it can function much like our nonprofit loan forgiveness program, which has been serving about 30 students a year since 1988," Marine says. Some of those students are happily receiving grants for the life of their loans.

More here and here.