Kiva Starts Student Loan Microfinance Program

When started up in 2005, it was the world’s first microlending website, a pioneer in the world of microfinance. By inviting people the world over to make interest-free loans as small as $25 to impoverished entrepreneurs with a click of the mouse, Kiva has inspired a whole new generation of philanthropists.

In the five years since its founding, over 477,000 people have logged onto the website and loaned more than $150 million to 408,000 entrepreneurs in 53 countries.

On Monday, Kiva announced its latest pioneering effort: a pilot program for higher education student microloans. “In developing countries, access to funding for education doesn’t exist like it does in the United States,” says Premal Shah, president of “We believe the internet community is in a unique position to share the risk of student lending in the developing world and if these students repay their loans — as we believe they will — it could be the very impetus needed to make education accessible for everyone around the world.”

Kiva is launching its pilot in Bolivia, Lebanon and Paraguay, and has plans to expand into at least fifteen more countries in a year’s time. Its student loans will work in much the same way as its regular loans do: after a lender goes online and chooses a recipient, he or she can track the loan’s progress — from initial funding to repayment. When the loan is repaid, the lender can choose to withdraw his or her funds, or re-lend to another student or entrepreneur, and continue the lending cycle.

“Kiva sees the educational loans as part of a larger ecosystem,” Shah said on “Not all households are in a community or have the status or luxury of having your child achieve even primary education, let alone tertiary education. It’s a massive problem when an 8-year-old girl can’t go to school,” he continued. “What we’ve seen is of those people that can get an education, there’s a 200-300% lift in income level. That’s why it’s so prized for those that can access it.”

Check out to read the profiles of the loan recipients, including 20- year-old Noelia Ruiz Diaz Figueredo of Paraguay, pictured above.


photo: Courtesy of

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Past Member 1 months ago

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Past Member 9 months ago

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.10 months ago

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.11 months ago

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jane d.
Sarah M.3 years ago

hello I love this initiative, I am about to give 10,000 of my butterfly credits and im sure who to give it to, one at the time I guess, love u all!

Marianne P.
Past Member 3 years ago

Has anyone used their credits to fund Kiva loans and if so, when the loan is repaid, who receives the money? Does the person donating credits receive it back ready to reloan or is someone out there making money from this as loans are repaid.

Masha Samoilova
Past Member 4 years ago

thanks, nice

Frank Harrison
Frank Harrison4 years ago

Well, it sounds really good. Such opportunity can occur to be very helpful for the students. In fact, I think that microfinance is a usedul option that can help to cover some particular expenses. As for me, I prefer to apply for small personal loans online rather than use the credit card. I have recently managed to pay off the credit card debt and I don't want to face it again. Well, as for the student loans, they are really popular now as most people just can't afford to pay for the education themselves, thus, they apply for student loans and often default.

Kath R.
Kath P.4 years ago

Kiva is an excellent organization...I applaud them for all of the work they do.