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Fuqua School of Business’s Loan Assistance Program Helps Graduates Give Back

The Loan Assistance Program (LAP) at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, now in its 10th year, has awarded almost $1 million to 74 Fuqua alumni who participated in social-impact activities as students and pursued work with nonprofit and government organizations upon graduation. Thanks to LAP, students like Chad Sclove (MBA’03) have been able to apply the business skills they learn at Fuqua to small organizations working hard to make a big difference.

“Without the Loan Assistance Program, I wouldn’t be in my current line of work,” Sclove says. Participants in LAP, which is managed by Fuqua’s Center for the Advancement of Social Enterprise (CASE) and its financial aid office, receive loan assistance disbursements twice a year. These awards, of up to $10,000, make it possible for students like Sclove to meet their loan repayment responsibilities while taking work in fields with more modest pay.

Sclove, who is now the managing director of Common Goods, a nonprofit consultancy that provides services to children with disabilities, hadn’t even thought about working in the nonprofit world before coming to Fuqua. “The combination of Fuqua’s social enterprise curriculum, the activities of CASE, career counseling and the Loan Assistance Program opened up new doors for me,” he says.

To ensure the sustainability of LAP into the future amid growing demand for its services, a team of Fuqua officials recently reviewed the program. They will implement some changes going forward in an effort to assure that available funds go to those who need them most.

Beginning with the November 2012 deadline, LAP will handle applications and disbursements annually rather than twice a year and will start including spousal income and graduate school debt in their financial evaluation for each applicant. LAP’s administrators are also modifying the formula they use to determine what percentage of a student’s household income is eligible for coverage through the program.

Under the revised guidelines, new participants must opt in and apply for LAP within three years of graduation to be eligible for the assistance available to their graduating class, and they must also describe their interest and participation in social impact activities at Fuqua as part of the application. In an effort to expand the reach of the program, future classes will be eligible for awards of up to $8,000 per year for up to eight years after graduation, down from $10,000 per year for up to ten years.

“We recognized the importance of improving the sustainability of the Loan Assistance Program in order to bring it in line with our core belief that those with the greatest need should be eligible for the greatest awards,” said Matthew T.A. Nash, CASE’s executive director. “These modifications will enable Fuqua to continue supporting leaders of consequence in the social sector.”

Read more about Fuqua’s Loan Assistance Program.

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Posted in: MBA News

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