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International higher education scholarships and fellowships for social justice: the role of foundations

Talha-Jebril, S., Martel, M. (2021) International Higher Education Scholarships and Fellowships for Social Justice: The Role of Foundations. Institute of International Education.

This paper explores philanthropy's role in funding international scholarship and fellowship programmes committed to reducing long-standing disparities in higher education. The research paper addresses a gap in the literature regarding U.S. and non-U.S. foundations that have funded international scholarship and fellowship programmes that focus on social justice, namely equity and access. This paper is framed by the Ford Foundation International Fellowships Program (IFP) and the IFP Alumni Tracking Study, administered by the Institute of International Education (IIE).

It brings in the perspectives of IFP and other scholarship and fellowship programmes for social justice. The findings indicate four elements that contributed to growing interest in funding international higher education programs:

  1. The push from multilateral agencies such as the U.N. and World Bank;
  2. The rise of personal wealth during the past two decades
  3. The growing global youth population and access to higher education
  4. The increasing liberal government policies that encourage non-state actors to contribute and play a more significant role in the field of higher education.

The research paper reveals that higher education scholarship and fellowship programmes with common agendas – whether between donors and academic institutions or between government and international partners – often lead to sustainable partnerships and better program outcomes because they are supported by more than one entity and are grounded in common goals and visions.

Link to the research paper.