HEFF: Higher Education for the Poor through Microfinance Loans

Jan 2011
Financing higher education opportunities for low- income students in Latin America is an ideal way for families at the base of the pyramid to break out of the cycle of poverty. The Higher Education Financing Fund (HEFF) will allow thousands of students from families of microentrepreneurs with limited means to afford university level education or training. The first fund of its kind in the region, HEFF is creating and financing long-term student loan programs adjusted to low- income students and their families.With a $10 million loan from the Inter American Bank's Opportunities for the Majority Initiative (OMJ) and funding from other lenders, HEFF will offer student loans through microfinance organizations in Guatemala, Honduras, Dominican Republic, Peru, Bolivia, and Paraguay. This unique structure benefits individuals and communities while offering local oversight and administration to ensure loans are repaid.