In 2018, Fabian Mendivil’s dream of doing a specialized master’s program in risk management finally became a reality: he was accepted at the University of Sussex (in Brighton, England) to do an MSc in Financial Risk and Investment Analysis. It was a long time in the making and his route to higher education has not been without obstacles.
Back in 2011, when we worked together at a Bolivian microfinance institution, Fabian was already talking about his desire to pursue a graduate degree. The specialized graduate programs he was interested in were not available in Latin America. So, as a native Spanish speaker, he had to work hard to improve his English in order to meet the specific language entry requirements of the programs in Canada, the US or the UK. After years of studying and saving, he received news that he’d been accepted to the University of Sussex. But, with the good news came another hurdle: finding funding for tuition (which costs five times more in the UK than it does in Bolivia).
He researched scholarships but found there were very few he was eligible for. The Bolivian government only awarded scholarships to postgraduate studies in the medical, technology or traditional sciences. The University of Sussex offers very few scholarships to international students. International students like Fabian are also ineligible for financial aid. His country or residence or program of study also made him ineligible for some of the major scholarships offered by charities like the Rotary Club, Aga Khan, or Commonwealth Scholarship Commission. He has had to completely self-fund his education.
Determined to take advantage of what he sees as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, Fabian resigned from his job in La Paz, Bolivia. He took out his savings, sold his car and was forced to access an educational bank loan of $35,000 US carrying an interest rate of 12% per year to subsidize his studies. The servicing requirements on this debt, which is being incurred for essentials only, are crippling financially and emotionally. With tuition costs of £19,000 and housing at approximately £1,200 per month, Fabian is doing everything he can to make ends meet. He has paid the first two (of three) installments for tuition, but as he approaches the April due date for his final tuition payment (of about $8,300 US), he is still falling short.
With his first semester completed, he was selected as one of just six students at the University of Sussex to receive a scholarship to do a professional certification with the Global Association of Risk Professionals upon completion of his graduate degree. Fabian is a conscientious, hardworking, caring, and mature person. He is a dedicated and serious student.
Please consider supporting him so that he is one step closer to achieving this career and life milestone. Any amount helps, even if it’s as little as $5!
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