Struggling Despite Scholarship, Help Me Pursue Masters At | Milaap
Struggling Despite Scholarship, Help Me Pursue Masters At Columbia!
  • Ashwin

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    Ashwin Dubey
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    This fundraiser will benefit

    Ashwin Dubey

    from Agra, Uttar Pradesh


Hi, my name is Ashwin. I wish to pursue the Master of Public Administration program at Columbia University, New York. Columbia features in the top 20 globally in several rankings and is part of the prestigious Ivy League. I am really fortunate to have been offered a scholarship of $90,000 i.e. around Rs 65 lakhs. However, I am still struggling to make use of a dream opportunity because of financial constraints.

My Story:
I come from Agra in Uttar Pradesh. Growing up, the condition of schools around me bothered me a lot. By the time I completed my B.Tech., I was convinced I want to work towards better educational opportunities for children of disadvantaged backgrounds. My family supported my decision to join an NGO even though the stipend was only Rs 3000 per month and my father was unemployed at that time. I stayed back in the sector and have been working for more than five years now. Following are some examples of my work:
- Worked on the policy implementation of the Right To Education Act by empowering people to avail the benefit of the schemes themselves. 
- Taught in a low-income school in Shahdara, Delhi for two years as a Teach For India fellow, in which I also worked on the health of all the students of the school. 
- Resolved critical infrastructure issues like non-functional toilets and broken windows (in wintertime) in two government schools.
- Helped 50+ families obtain ration cards in Tuglakabad, Delhi 
- Consulted with Directorate of School Education, Telangana, on government residential schools for girls
- Helped organise ration distribution drive during first lockdown in Hyderabad

Why MPA at Columbia University?
To further my work, I want to become an adept leader who understands the nuances of the public policy space and is able to mobilise people towards bringing change. I hence decided to study public policy and management and targetted top universities globally as the field of public policy in India is still budding. Studying at Columbia will provide me with a number of skills like policy and program evaluation and NGO leadership. Furthermore, the reputation of the university will help me greatly in areas like advocacy, fundraising and partnerships when I start my own organisation. The opportunity is unmatched which will help me greatly increasing the scope of my work.

Because of the high tuition fees and living costs in New York, I wouldn't have been able to attend without a scholarship. Fortunately, I received a scholarship as high as $90,000 from the university. I was ecstatic when I got the news, however, this was short-lived. 
Why not a loan? My family’s low income and an ongoing home loan are making it difficult for me to secure a loan for the entire amount. It has been three months since I got the news and still, I haven't been able to secure finances despite trying all means. I am also reluctant to take a loan for the entire amount as I want to continue working for social causes and taking a huge loan would require me to take up a job in the private sector.
Amount required: I need to raise Rs 28 Lakhs, the breakdown of which is given below:
Expense (For two years)
Tuition fees: Rs. 88 Lakhs approx
Other expenses (Accommodation, food, etc.): 45 Lakhs approx
The estimated expense for one year is also given here on the University website
Available funds:
Scholarship: Rs. 65 Lakhs
Family: Rs. 5 Lakhs
Loan: Rs. 25 Lakhs

Remaining: Rs 38 Lakhs
Since I am also planning to work part-time, I am trying to raise Rs 28 Lakhs out of the deficit.

Throughout my life, I have chosen impact and learning over my finances. I worked on a stipend in Delhi for a year. Again in 2019, I picked a lower-paying opportunity despite having a better offer. Even now, going to Columbia is not only for my professional development but also for the personal satisfaction that I’ll be able to impact at a much larger scale. While I understand that education abroad is not a must, it definitely will empower me immensely. So far, I haven’t let my finances come in the way of my impact and learning, now I am appealing to you to help me in continuing the same.

If you wish to speak to me, you can email me at

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