Ambassador: Felipe Valencia-Dongo , Peru
Felipe is the CEO and Fund Manager for Lumni Peru, a social investment fund that helps low-income students to complete their university studies. Lumni Peru has provided higher education funding to more than 1,500 students, mobilising $11 million USD worth of investment. Lumni Peru carefully handpicks high potential students from top tier universities who are facing financial difficulties during their undergraduate or postgraduate studies. It then offers to pay term fees or living expenses for these students using money from the collective fund. In return, selected students agree to pay back a certain proportion of their salary, typically 10-15%, once they begin working. Thus, Lumni Peru has a sustainable long term finance model. This helps investors by generating returns in the long run, whilst also providing struggling students with funding to complete their education. This system enables low income students to secure higher education. That will in turn lead to better employment opportunities that may not have been otherwise accessible.
According to the Peruvian Ministry of Education, in 2014 enrollment of students in urban settings reached 75%, compared to the 30% enrollment rate of students from rural settings1 . To address this, Lumni Peru can help students from rural areas to pay their fees. This model of human capital investment suits students better than traditional loans because the students are only required to pay back the money once they have a job. This then allows students to make better career choices, since the threat of missing loan repayments does not factor into their outgoings if they are not yet earning.
Lumni Peru also runs programmes to develop the employability skills of their students, further improving their job prospects. The organisation typically funds students studying subjects that are lacking in the job market such as engineering and management. Lumni Peru also teaches students how to manage their finances both during their studies and once they enter the working world.