Mira Maier

Ashoka Fellow
,
Fellow Since 2014
Gemeinnützige Initiative für transparente Studienförderung gUG

Citation

This profile was prepared when Mira Maier was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2014.
The New Idea
Mira Maier works towards a society – in Germany and beyond – in which no one is kept from pursuing the education he or she desires based on the lack of financial resources. Through her institution “Initiative für transparente Studienförderung (Initiative for transparent study-support – ItS)” she brings much needed transparency into the field and supports stakeholders in using existing offers of financial support. She also works with key partners to mobilize support for target groups whose needs are not yet met and creates standards and platforms, which lower the entry barriers of newcomers to the market of education support.

Mira uses a multi-pronged approach. She began by creating Germany’s first comprehensive scholarship matching system “myStipendium.de” that she planned on scaling on an EU-wide level in late 2014. She then built a supporting partner system with high schools and universities to improve their financial aid counseling. Mira expanded her efforts by creating new scholarships with partners. Working with universities and schools, foundations and other funders, she has already started programs for two student groups: handicapped students and migrants, who are underrepresented on university campuses and underserved by the scholarship system. Simultaneously, she attracts new stakeholders to the field to become scholarship providers themselves, thus enlarging the market and creating new structures for financial aid. She is also working to raise public awareness for the unmet need for scholarship assistance as well as on the underutilization of available resources.

Through the above, Mira is challenging the common perception in Germany and many parts of Europe that scholarships should be reserved for a small minority of extraordinary achievers with significant needs and unique abilities.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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