Impact of Laspau-Administered Scholarships 2007-2017
Cueva Navarro, Ana Paola
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CitationCueva Navarro, Ana Paola. 2018. Impact of Laspau-Administered Scholarships 2007-2017. Master's thesis, Harvard Extension School.
AbstractThis thesis work examines the impact that Laspau’s scholarship programs have had in the last ten years, as related to its mission and vision, as related to the Laspau administered-scholars and their communities, cities, countries and Latin America and the Caribbean. Laspau is a non-profit organization affiliated with Harvard University. Established in 1964, Laspau’s mission is “..“[to]connect individuals and institutions with opportunities to enhance the quality and impact of higher education in the Americas” (Laspau, 2018). In over 51 years, Laspau has designed, administered and implemented over 240 unique scholarship programs, in all countries of Latin America and the Caribbean and as a result administered the scholarships of over 18,000 individuals. This thesis seeks to answer whether having access to quality higher education meant access to quality employment and opportunities for the Laspau-administered scholars that benefited from a scholarship, from August 2007 to August 2017.
To evaluate the impact that Laspau has had and test this hypothesis, a survey was devised and sent to an estimated 3,489 Laspau-administered scholars from 33 countries in the Americas and the Caribbean, encompassing all the students who have completed a scholarship program with Laspau in the last ten years: from August 2007 to August 2017. The survey had 62 questions, including personal information, which was optional as the survey was anonymous unless the scholar chose to share his/her information.
The research supports that Laspau is fulfilling its role as a connector of opportunities, and its mission and vision of creating access to quality higher education, and thus promoting the creation of knowledge-based societies in the Americas. The data shows that Laspau-administered scholarship programs create access to better employment, leadership roles and overall better professional opportunities for the scholars. Laspau-administered scholarships educate social, political and academic leaders, who have impacted a significant number of higher education institutions, and created a degree of social mobility in the region.
As hypothesized and sustained by the results, Laspau’s work is missing two crucial links: Laspau is not administering scholarships for access and it is not completing the scholarship cycle/cycle of benefit, by connecting grantees with their home countries’ working sector. These limitations have meant that a significant portion of the scholars face difficulties reinserting themselves into their home countries professional context upon graduation, and thus limiting the impact that Laspau could have.
The data shows that survey respondents belief, in a slightly higher percentage, that it was difficult to reinsert themselves. Conversely, scholars reported, also in a slightly higher percentage difference, that they do not consider themselves to come from a vulnerable social or economic background. It is difficult for scholars to reinsert themselves, regardless of their social or economic background.
As mentioned, data also shows that scholarships are awarded in a slight majority to individuals that are not from vulnerable economic or social contexts, thus more can be done on this regard to maximize the impact of Laspau-administered scholarships in terms of access. The hypothesis was challenged, however, in that although the majority of scholars are not impoverished or vulnerable socially, the scholarships create degrees of access and social mobility, allowing talented individuals, both from vulnerable social or economic backgrounds and not from vulnerable or impoverished backgrounds, a way to pay for, and thus access a privileged academic opportunity that they otherwise would have not had, if it was not for the scholarship.
The scholarship programs administered by Laspau have had a quantifiable impact in the last ten years. The data collected shows that, enabled through their scholarships and the academic programs they had access to because of them, Laspau- administered scholars have had an important impact in their communities, home countries, and the institutions they work for. They are social, academic, political and economic leaders that are making significant contributions to the Latin America and Caribbean regions: teaching in universities, doing research, establishing connections between institutions, creating new enterprises, volunteering.
Specifically addressing the hypothesis, 59 percent of respondents said the scholarship enabled them to have a better job than their peers who studied in country, and for 83.1 percent of respondents it meant being able to afford a quality higher education that otherwise they would not be able to afford. Laspau-administered scholarships are creating access to quality higher education and in turn, access to quality professional opportunities.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:42004009
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