Follow Us


PO Box 2826
Carol Stream, Illinois 60132

Toll Free: 1-800-793-9455

© 2024 Opportunity Internationala 501(c)3 nonprofit. EIN: 540907624.

Key Program Learnings: Education Finance

By Abbie Condie, Mary Pat McVay, and Genzo Yamamoto

At Opportunity International, we believe that championing inclusion is essential to achieving universal access to quality education (UN Sustainable Development Goal #4). Our EduFinance program fosters inclusive learning environments and opportunities for increased access to education by offering school proprietors, teachers, parents, and students a range of sustainable, scalable services. The following are some recent key learnings shaping the EduFinance program and demonstrating its positive benefits for financial institutions, communities, schools, families, and students.

Program Scale

As of April 2018, Opportunity has helped nearly 2.4 million students in 16 low-income countries secure access to affordable, quality, private education. In a single day, this translates to—1

  • 60 families receiving a School Fee loan to help pay for school expenses like fees, uniforms, and books
  • 2.4 schools (on average) receiving a loan to build new classrooms, gender-separated washrooms, dormitories, and more
  • 500+ kids benefitting from School Fee and School Improvement loans

Engaging Financial Institutions

When financed schools participate in Opportunity’s Education Quality (EduQuality) program, it reduces financial risk for partnering financial institutions.2 At the end of 2017, among financed schools participating in the EduQuality program—where schools receive trainings, assessment tools, and mentorship—Portfolio at Risk >30 days was 0.7% lower in Ghana (PAR >30 of 8.5% vs. 9.2%) and 0.5% lower in Uganda (PAR >30 of 1.5% vs. 2.0%).

Supporting Local Communities

School proprietors face consistent management challenges, and schools appreciate EduQuality trainings.3

  • School management challenges often stem from financial constraints. For example, 74% of teachers interviewed in Uganda reported receiving their salary late.
  • Opportunity’s trainings are growing school staffs’ skills, but improvements can still be made in effective sharing of content during meetings and communication about upcoming events

Low-income, under-educated parents in developing countries are conscious consumers of education: jointly considering distance, cost, safety, and quality when evaluating a schooling option for their child.4

  • 33% of parents of students at Opportunity partner-financed schools in Ghana and Uganda have graduated from high school
  • 61% of these parents moved their child to a new school at least once in the past three years, indicating that parents continue to evaluate these key drivers of school choice 

Schools use Opportunity loans to address the key factors raised by families (distance, cost, safety, and quality)5

  • Instead of simply raising school fees, proprietors increase revenue by increasing student enrollment via: expanding classrooms, investing in school infrastructure, and improving education quality—all which make their schools more attractive to parents 

Opportunity loans help schools create and sustain jobs in their communities.6

  • An estimated 185 new full- and part-time jobs were created by the 75 financed schools studied in Uganda over three years7
  • Private schools also boost local businesses when they buy school materials and hire tradesmen to complete school renovations

Equipping Students

Students’ confidence in financial and life skills increases through in-school financial literacy programs.8 As part of Opportunity’s partnership with DFID’s Girls’ Education Challenge, the majority of participating girls at financed schools in Uganda—

  • Demonstrated confidence in financial planning and budgeting (98%)
  • Started their own social enterprises—including vegetable gardens and snack making (78%)

Students improved their learning outcomes. Over the course of three years, girls at Opportunity partner-financed schools in Uganda improved literacy by 64% and numeracy by 32%.9

The vast majority of women clients interviewed support their children’s education.10

  • Women clients interviewed across five countries11 shared how they were actively supporting their children’s education and taking pride in their successes
  • In cases where their children are now grown, many had secured formal employment, and all had completed more schooling than their mothers



For more information about EduFinance’s work, visit edufinance.org/

For more about research and learning at Opportunity,


1. April 2018 EduFinance Portfolio Analysis. 2018

2. 2016-2017 Portfolio Analysis.Ghana and Uganda. 2018

3. Education Quality Developmental Evaluation Baseline. Uganda. 2017

7. Does not include temporary contracted positions, such as for construction jobs or individuals who were already employed by these schools.

8. GEC Project Completion Report.Uganda. 2017

9. GEC Project Completion Report.Uganda. 2017

10. Understanding Girls’ Education and Career Pathways in Context.Colombia, India, Ghana, Malawi, and Philippines. 2018

11. Colombia, India, Ghana, Malawi, Philippines

Subscribe to our Newsletter