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GRANT ALERT :- Applications Invited for Tertiary Education Financing Prize

Education has long been recognized as a driver of multiple development benefits including reduced poverty, improved health, increased gender equality, and greater peace and stability. Tertiary education, including higher education and vocational training, in particular, delivers societal as well as individual benefits, such as inclusive growth, increased employment, higher tax revenues and greater resilience to economic shocks. As access to primary and secondary education increases, and youth populations expand, low- and lower-middle-income countries face intensified demand for high-quality, cost-effective tertiary education that meets labor market needs and boosts employment of young people.

Access to tertiary education, however, remains largely out of reach for low-income students in low- and lower-middle-income countries. Government funding and scholarships are limited, and private financing options are scarce.

Last date of Application :- October 24, 2022

Purpose :-

UBS Optimus Foundation is working with Convergence to launch this prize to identify successful student financing solutions that can help more young people enter tertiary education, and thereby drive improved education outcomes as well as increased youth employment. This initiative will identify, evaluate, and select the best student financing solutions, and award up to four prizes of at least USD 250,000 each through a competitive call for applications.

Interventions :-

Stage 1: Applicants should submit a Stage 1 application of no more than 4 pages to that includes and describes:

  • Completed Initial Application Cover Page Template (not included in the 4-page limit)

  • The student financing solution and how it is inclusive, fair, and affordable

  • The context in which the solution has been implemented, including population, geography, enabling environment, etc.

  • Scale of implementation and track record

  • Business model with a clear description of revenue and cost model and the level of financial sustainability

  • Evidence of improved access, education and employment outcomes achieved, and measurement/evaluation methodology used to assess outcome achievement

  • Factors that may have facilitated or hindered the achievement of financial sustainability and improved access, education, and employment outcomes

  • Opportunities for and factors to be considered for scale-up, and appropriate financial model including a public, private, or blended finance structure.

  • Description of the track record of the organization and the team

  • Intended use of the prize money

Stage 1 applications must be written in English using a 12-point font and 1-inch page margins. Submissions should be in Microsoft Word or .pdf format.

Stage 2: Shortlisted applicants will be invited to submit full applications and to participate in a virtual pitch day to present their solutions to a panel of expert judges in November. Following the pitch day, winners will be selected by the UBS Optimus Foundation and Convergence before the end of the year.

Eligibility Criteria :-

Applicants and proposals must meet all the following criteria:


Countries targeted: Solutions can target any country classified as i. low-income, ii. lower-middle income, or iii. upper-middle income outside of Europe according to the World Bank's country classification.

The applicant does not need to be domiciled in any of the targeted countries, but the end beneficiaries must live in the targeted countries.

Tertiary education: Solutions that fulfill the UNESCO definition of tertiary education which is the extension of secondary education in specialized fields of education, including what is commonly understood as academic education (colleges, universities), but also advanced vocational or professional education.

Types of solutions: Solutions that provide inclusive, fair, and affordable student financing for access to tertiary education:

  • Solutions must be financial products focused on enabling access to tertiary education for low-income and underserved students, for instance loans, income share agreements, or any other financing instruments

  • Solutions must have been implemented already and still in the early stages of adoption, with the potential to scale in the future

  • Solutions must target i) better access to education as well as ii) better education outcomes and/or iii) better employment outcomes

  • Solutions must benefit directly and efficiently young people up to the age of 25 years

  • The solution must be based on a business model that is investible or has the potential to become investible

  • Solutions must be financially self-sustaining, on the path to becoming financially self-sustaining, or partially financially self-sustaining (meaning intentionally using a mix of investment and grant funding, but with the ability to return investment funding)

For more details click here

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