What is 8B?
8B is the first fintech social enterprise specialized in lending to African students to attend world-class global universities. 8B is convinced that Africa must deliver shared prosperity to its youthful population; to do so, African nations require a deep bench of highly educated ecosystem-builders who are equipped to participate, compete, and thrive in the knowledge economy of the 21st century. We help them afford the education to get them on their way. Read more about our Mission, discover our Services, and meet our Team.
What does 8B mean?
The UN estimates that the world’s population will reach 8 billion people in the 2020s. 8B embodies one of the key answers to the question: what does the African continent need in order to be fit for purpose in a world of 8 billion?
What kind of financing options does 8B offer?
8B aims to complement other sources of financing, as our lending does not cover 100 percent of the cost of university attendance. Following a careful selection process, approved students are offered one of two products: partly guaranteed loans and income share agreements. The lending product on offer depends on the level of investor interest.
Does 8B provide scholarships?
No. But over time, we will curate a list of African scholarships for students to consult. We have also assisted scholarship programs with their outreach to Africans students when they request our assistance.
Do you fund all African students who have an offer to a global university?
No. Unfortunately, demand for financing far outstrips the supply of funding, and our selection process considers a wide range of factors beyond the university offer. The good news is that, as we grow and raise more investor capital, we will be able to serve more students.
Who can apply for funding?
We welcome applications from African students who have offer letters from global universities, and who have a low risk of defaulting on a loan. Risk of default is determined by an objective risk scoring algorithm, weighting multiple factors. Some of the key factors include:
- – the reputation of the university, including in national and global rankings, and its graduation rates
- – the proposed program of study, which must have a record of a high median income for its graduates
- – proof of secured, significant funding, from the university and other sources, since 8B does not cover 100 percent of a student’s funding need
- – the debt burden required for the student to graduate, which must be affordable, taking into the overall account cost of education and likely income post-graduation.
Do students require a co-signer in order to apply?
No, we do not require a financial co-signer. Instead, we ask for reputational guarantors.
What is the role of a reputational guarantor?
Learning from effective practices in the micro-credit space, we request that students provide reputational guarantors: individuals or institutions to vouch for a student’s character. If a student is selected for funding, reputational guarantors will be contacted only where we lose touch with the student after graduation. We ask for guarantors in both the country of study and in the country of origin.
How does the selection process work?
Students must successfully pass through four stages in order to secure a loan:
Application: 8B Education Investments accepts applications within a specified window of time. Interested students must complete an application through our secure online portal. Here they are asked to provide basic information about themselves, including their university acceptance, their proposed area of study, the funding gap they face, their future ambitions, and how long they have until graduation. This information helps 8B to score an applicant’s probability to afford a loan and make repayments in the future. Some students will not progress to the next stage.
Additional Documentation: In the event that a student meets the threshold for further consideration, additional information and documentation is requested from shortlisted students, including on how much funding they have secured (or are on track to secure) from their university and private sources to meet cost of attendance. 8B expects the student to present a truthful and accurate picture in their application. For instance, misrepresenting the cost of attendance will negatively impact the application. Supporting documentation will be reviewed closely to check whether a student meets 8B funding criteria.
Interview: Students who meet the funding criteria are invited for an interview with a member of 8B’s management team. At that point, students are also expected to provide reputational guarantors: persons who can vouch for a student’s character.
Approval: If students pass the interview stage, their university enrollment is verified, after which they are approved for a loan and receive terms of 8B financing. Applicants are encouraged to consider the terms carefully, as they include such details as origination fees and timeline of repayment. Those who accept the terms of their offer then sign a contract, after which funds are transferred directly to the university.
How about students who do not get approved?
We encourage students who are not selected at this time to apply again in the future. We are working to grow our investor base, in order to be able to serve more students.
How is funding for an approved application disbursed?
Once a student is selected and accepts the terms, university enrollment is confirmed, and money is transferred directly to the university. The money is not sent to the student.
Are funding decisions contingent on the chosen program/discipline of study?
In part, yes. Our goal is to create a holistic view of every candidate and make funding decisions on all available information. 8B uses a proprietary scoring algorithm that takes numerous factors into consideration when assessing a student’s ability to afford a loan. Data available on expected student salary upon graduation, as well as employment prospects of alumni from the chosen program of study, are considered in our due diligence.
Does 8B assist with college applications?
Currently, no. But in the future, we will partner with African college access programs to guide the application processes and provide information on how schools—and programs within those schools—rank and perform. Stay tuned.