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We periodically share contests, cash prizes, special discounts, tips & tricks, swag opportunities and more for our borrowers. We couldn’t do this without you!

Our mission? To eMPOWER our borrowers!

We do more than just provide student loans to our borrowers; we want to set you up to succeed. Check out our new tips & tricks, current benefits, and past contest winners. Come back in April for even more MPOWER goodness 🙂

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We’re inspired by our borrowers as they share how our loan product is making a positive impact on their academic and professional lives, in two minutes or less!

Listen to what MPOWER borrower Sol Bee, a remarkable South Korean UC Berkeley student and our MPOWER Video Contest winner, has to say.

Exclusive benefits for MPOWER borrowers

Special offerings just for you

Roomrs Co-living Services in NYC


Roomrs is excited to offer a discount to the MPOWER family! For international students, one of the most important components of moving to a new country is finding accommodation. For those who live in New York City and don’t have student housing, Roomrs can help them find a place to stay. Roomrs is a co-living company focused on providing furnished apartments with flexible lease terms, curated events, and member benefits throughout New York City. Roomrs helps its members to live easy, live smart, and live well.

Roomrs has now partnered with MPOWER Financing as MPOWER’s go-to option for New York City housing. To recognize this partnership, Roomrs will waive the $100 application fee for international students who apply for an apartment using the code RoomrsMPOWER.

Claim this opportunity:

Enter to win our Secret Summer Getaway Contest


It’s a great season to have a nice trip with your family, friends, and loved ones. But we can make your time off even more exciting!

Calling all experienced, budget-conscious and-creative travelers! All the new students coming to the U.S. for the first time need your help!

MPOWER Financing told you all about our top 5 U.S. summer getaways, but now it’s your turn to share. Let us know your favorite place on your school’s campus and you could earn cash – we’re giving away $30 to the grand prize winner and $10 each to the next 3 great entries.

The contest ends on August 25. Don’t miss out!

Enter the Contest today:

Mentorship Program


MPOWER Mentors are student leaders who passionately share their knowledge with fellow international students to help them succeed in their professional endeavors.

Mentors participate in training sessions to foster the necessary skills and knowledge for them to have positive and meaningful interactions with their mentees.

Apply to be a Mentor or Mentee:

Path2Success Career Services


Path2Success provides career development, financial empowerment, and immigration information tailored to the needs of international students.

We will get back to you within three business days to assess your needs and work on next steps. Please note – you must be a current MPOWER borrower to utilize Path2Success services.

Learn more about this opportunity:

Stories from our borrowers

Want to share your story with us?

We’d love to hear, read, or watch your story, and with your permission, share it! If interested, please fill out this form, and simply write, “I want to share my story with Claire” anywhere in your message. Scroll below to check-out our current selection of stories!

Sumei worked as a technical support specialist for Citibank in Shanghai, but the opportunity to improve her English and “see the world” led her to an au pair position in New York City. She later decided to pursue a Master’s degree in computer science in the U.S. but found her savings woefully inadequate. MPOWER came through with a loan, and Sumei now has a great internship as a software engineer! Read more

Sumei X.

Jiangsu, China, Boston University

When Srijan started his degree program at Stevens Institute of Technology, financial struggles—and worries about burdening his family—kept Srijan up at night. Now, with MPOWER’s help, he’s finishing his degree and starting a great job in financial services. And instead of burdening his parents, his job will enable them to retire early! Read more

Srijan B.

Calcutta, India, Stevens Institute of Technology

Born in Libya to Czech and Slovak parents, and raised in Malta, Simona is the epitome of a global citizen – and her career, which has included setting up Maltese operations for a Czech start-up, reflects that. Faced with a funding shortfall that imperiled completion of her degree, Simona turned to MPOWER. Now, she’s on track to graduate and pursue a career in healthcare. Read more

Simona S.

Malta, MBA, California State University, Long Beach (CSULB)

Sumei X.

Jiangsu, China | Boston University

Originally from Jiangsu, Sumei came to Shanghai to attend college. She studied computer science and worked diligently to improve her English, but says she was “extremely shy” and lacked confidence.

After college, she took a job as a technical support specialist for Citibank, but she found herself restless for an opportunity to “see the world.” When she learned about the au pair program, she jumped at the opportunity, believing it would help her improve her English, learn about American culture, and gain self-confidence. (The au pair program is a U.S. government program that grants visas to foreign nationals who are placed with American families to provide childcare while learning about U.S. culture and customs.)

Sumei was surprised by some of the challenges she encountered as an au pair. “I thought my English was pretty good,” she said, “and it was—by Chinese standards. But while I could read and write it fairly well, speaking was a real challenge. Beyond the language itself, there’s also a big difference in communication styles. Chinese people tend to be more indirect, while Americans are more straightforward. It took me a while to adjust.”

Working as an au pair also gave her a taste of the American educational system. “I was so impressed by the projects that the children I worked with did at school. Unlike in China, their schooling focused on critical thinking, not rote memorization.”

That experience inspired Sumei to continue her education in the U.S. When she received the news that she had been accepted to the Master of Computer Science program at Boston University, Sumei was elated. However, she soon realized her savings were woefully inadequate. She considered applying for a loan from a Chinese bank, but there were no Chinese banks willing to lend without a mortgage on her parents’ house. She was also reluctant to ask her parents for help.

Fortunately, her online research quickly led her to MPOWER and, as a result, she was able to cover her funding shortfall. Sumei doesn’t know just what the future will bring, but it’s already looking bright. She has a great software engineering internship lined up this summer, and she’s hopeful this will turn into a full-time job offer. Her time in the U.S. has provided other dividends as well. “One of the goals I set for myself when I first arrived was to gain self-confidence,” she said, “and I definitely have. Now I’m comfortable speaking in English with a wide variety of people. I’m so grateful for all of the new experiences I’ve had, and I’ve learned so much about myself and about the world.”

Srijan B.

Calcutta, India | Stevens Institute of Technology

Srijan started his career as a programmer/analyst at a multinational IT firm in India. It was a good job by Indian standards, but he soon found himself frustrated. “I was working on just a small little section of code at a time,” he recalls, “but I never had a chance to understand how my code would affect the business as a whole. So, I decided to come to the U.S. and get a master’s degree that would allow me to improve my technical skills and gain a thorough understanding of business process management.”

He decided on the Master of Science in Information Systems at the Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey, but was concerned about the cost. “I had some assistance from my parents and my student loan back in India, and I also secured a paid internship at the New York City Department of Finance, which not only helped with day-to-day expenditures, but was also a dream come true!” Srijan says. “But the impending semester fees were still keeping me up at night.

Then he came across MPOWER’s website. “I was so relieved,” he remembers. “MPOWER was the only company that was willing to provide a loan without collateral, which was so important to me, since I didn’t want to rely on family.”

Now, Srijan is sleeping much better at night. “My MPOWER loan solved my financial troubles,” he says, “and enabled me to focus on my studies.”

His degree enabled him to get a job in his field, as a business analyst for MarketAccess, a financial services company that focuses on bond trading. Srijan is particularly excited about the firm’s “social initiatives, which seek to create long term value for both its stakeholders and the society in general. As a Business Analyst at MarketAxess, I hope to collaborate with the IT and Business side of the company and enable them build the technology needed to fuel these endeavors.”

Srijan expects his MPOWER-financed degree to yield long-term benefits. “My job will enable me not only to pay off my loans, but also to allow my parents to retire early. Ten years from now, I see myself working in an executive level partner/ position in a company that works towards creating an impact in people’s lives through technology. It is what drew me towards my internship as well, where I do work that directly benefits millions of people living in the city of New York.”

“For me,” he says, “my sense of personal fulfillment stems from my desire to help people collaborate and achieve their goals. I hope that the experience and skills that I pick up along the way will help me achieve that.”

Simona S.

Malta | MBA, California State University, Long Beach (CSULB)

Born in Libya to Czech and Slovak parents, and raised in Malta, Simona is the epitome of a global citizen – and her career reflects that.

Simona began her career as a marketing executive for a local importer and distributor for Porsche, Audi, and VW; part of her job was to organize “super cool product launches.” Later, she put her cross-culture and language skills to use for a Czech start-up looking to expand in Malta, setting up their Maltese operations in just three months!

But she soon realized she needed an MBA to take her career to the next level, and she decided that she really wanted to do an MBA program in the U.S. “I was intrigued by the slightly different educational system and way of life,” she recalls, “and I fell in love with California and the American dream.”

She was elated to have the opportunity to live her dream in California when she was accepted by CSULB. But while she was initially able to finance her degree with her hard-earned savings, Simona soon found that she had a funding shortfall.

As a result, Simona faced the daunting task of securing a student loan. She soon realized that she would have to “get on board with the credit thing” if she wanted to stay in the U.S. and finish her degree. “It was a new concept to me,” she said. “Education loans aren’t common in Malta, and I’d never applied for a loan before.”

She was surprised to find that lenders in the U.S. required a co-signer. She was reluctant to involve her parents and was therefore relieved when her research led her to MPOWER.

“I was very happy with MPOWER’s level of service, their ability to answer my questions, and their transparency, and I was all set to proceed. But, as life would have it, CSULB wasn’t on their list of partner schools. Rather than giving up, though, I saw this as a challenge. I initiated talks between my school’s financial aid office and MPOWER, and lo and behold, here we are today! CSULB is now an MPOWER partner school—proof that persistence pays off.”

After completing her MBA, she hopes to work at the intersection of marketing, management, and business development in the healthcare field, possibly in a role that incorporates corporate social responsibility. “I come from a family of medical practitioners,” she said, “and I find the business, operational, regulatory, and research and development aspects of the industry really fascinating.”

Her advice to other international students is that “Limits are of our own construct, and obstacles are only such if you look at them that way. They are challenges to be overcome and they enable us to grow, so soldier on, because the world is limitless. In the end it’s always worth it and you can make it anywhere if you believe in yourself!”

Video Contest Tips & Tricks

How to create a winning video for any contest

So you want to make a video to win a contest?


Please take a few minutes to review our list of tips, tricks, and resources before getting started

General Tips and Good Ideas

  • Be creative! Use titles that are unique to you and your video. Instead of including words like “My MPOWER Contest Entry” in your title, use something more imaginative and characteristic of you and your journey.
  • Produce a high-quality video, HD 16:9 widescreen preferred. If you have a great story to tell but we’re not able to see what’s happening in your video, it won’t get the attention it may deserve. If using a cell phone to record your video, make sure it is oriented horizontally.
  • Your video must be understood by an English-speaking audience. If you can’t be heard or understood, we won’t know how great your video is! Subtitles are a great way to make sure your message is clear and allows for other languages to be included in your video.
  • Stay honest. Make sure you have permission to use the content included in your video. Using footage, imagery, or audio that you do not have permission to use is illegal, and a quick way to get disqualified.
  • No branded content. This included logos and watermarks. 
  • Quality over quantity. If you want to keep your audience engaged, the maximum time of your video is 2 minutes, but that doesn’t mean your video must be 2 minutes long! If you can tell your story in less than 2 minutes, don’t drag it out.

Audio/Music Resources

One of the recurring problems we have with contest entries is the use of copyrighted music. There are several sites that have free music available for your video and you should use something that not only fits your video theme but doesn’t have a copyright.

Free music and sound effects for your video from YouTube: www.youtube.com/audiolibrary
Legal music for your video (links to many sites): creativecommons.org/legalmusicforvideos
Audio recording and editing: Audacity – https://www.audacityteam.org/

Make sure that you have permission to use images and music in your video. If Beyonce is your friend, make sure she signs a release allowing you to use her music.

Stock Footage
There are lots of places on the net to find low-cost and free stock footage or images that you can use to improve your video. If you need images that you’re not able to shoot, check these out:


Stock footage or slideshow images can be found that covers almost any location and any genre. Look around to add some cheap (free) production value to your video.

Editing Software
Both Windows and Mac computers have free software to help you edit your video. There are also several other free and really inexpensive apps that you can download to help unleash your creativity.

Apple iMovie – Apple iMovie
Windows Live Movie Maker – Windows Live Movie Maker
Open source and cross-platform video editing software, Lightworks – Lightworks

Did you know you can narrate over and save PowerPoints as a video?

Where to Start
Totally lost and don’t know where to begin? Check out these resources for learning the basics of creating great videos!

Vimeo’s excellent series, Video 101: Video 101
Videomaker magazine has a great list of resources and lessons for beginners.

We’re excited to hear from you!

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© MPOWER Financing, Public Benefit Corporation

DISCLAIMER - Subject to credit approval, loans are made by Bank of Lake Mills or MPOWER Financing, PBC. Bank of Lake Mills does not have an ownership interest in MPOWER Financing. Neither MPOWER Financing nor Bank of Lake Mills is affiliated with the school you attended or are attending. Bank of Lake Mills is Member FDIC. None of the information contained in this website constitutes a recommendation, solicitation or offer by MPOWER Financing or its affiliates to buy or sell any securities or other financial instruments or other assets or provide any investment advice or service.