ERIC Number: EJ793926
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Reference Count: 0
Microfinanciers in Training: Teaching Students to Become Entrepreneurs of Social and Material Capital
Orcutt, Bonnie L.
New England Journal of Higher Education, v22 n2 p15-16 Fall 2007
Before long, microfinance was, if not a household word, at least a popular term among economists and aid workers denoting a strategy of trying to improve the circumstances of disadvantaged populations by making loans as small as $25 to support microenterprise. At the same time, globalization, diversification and civic engagement were gaining prominence as stated goals of higher education institutions. The Worcester State College created an undergraduate course called "Microfinance: Prospects for Prosperity" which features traditional academic components including exploration of the historical development of microfinance and various models ranging from Muhammad Yunus's Grameen model to village and community banking structures, group lending and individual loans, among others. Additionally, consideration is given to criticisms voiced about whether microfinance is an effective tool for poverty alleviation and whether, as some skeptics have wondered, microfinance generates any lasting impact on economic growth and development. But the course is also uncommonly hands-on. Students build upon the outreach of the college through the development and implementation of real microfinance projects, initially abroad, but more recently in the Worcester community. Students have become entrepreneurs of both social and material capital. Called upon to envision and implement their own microfinance programs to improve the lives of the disadvantaged at home and abroad, they created a WSC-based organization called "MEET: Microfinance, Empowerment, Education and Training."
Descriptors: Economic Progress, Higher Education, State Colleges, Disadvantaged, Global Approach, Entrepreneurship
New England Board of Higher Education. 45 Temple Place, Boston, MA 02111. Tel: 617-357-9620; Fax: 617-338-1577; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://www.nebhe.org/
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A