Vidyasaarathi is a digital education finance platform conceptualised by Centre for Digital Financial Inclusion (CDFI) in collaboration with BillionLives Business Initiative (BLBI) and is being implemented with the NSDL e-Governance Infrastructure Ltd. Vidyasaarathi proposes to bring together various stakeholders in the education ecosystem. The solution would help manage the entire online scholarship application lifecycle i.e. submission and review of scholarships, disbursement of funds and renewal of scholarship application.
As per a study by ASSOCHAM, less than 3% students in India, mostly belonging to middle income families, avail education loans. Some of the reasons attributed to such low percentage of Indian students availing education loans are:
Vidyasaarathi thus intends to bridge this gap between education finance needs and education funding by linking the nation’s under financed youth with various education finance options using a controlled and transparent disbursement mechanism. It also aspires to mobilize the private sector for increased participation in education funding. This platform can be used by fund providers, industries and corporate entities to design and manage education finance schemes. The tool, being simple and customisable, enables a fund provider to design a scholarship scheme as per their requirements and conditions. It also allows them to fund an already existing scholarship scheme and provides them access to relevant reports and data. Vidyasaarathi also provides optimum administrative services to the fund provider which includes verifying completeness of documents submitted by students against the requisite list specified by the fund provider.
In a nutshell, Vidyasaarathi allows fund providers to create their own education finance scheme and manage it through their own foundation or through a Vidyasaarathi empanelled trust/ foundation. Through Vidyasaarathi the fund providers can;
Students can use the online tool (https://www.vidyasaarathi.co.in/) to search and apply for various education finance schemes that they are qualified for and receive scholarship funds directly into their bank account.
At present, there are eight (8) pan India scholarship schemes running on the platform. ACC Ltd has also committed INR 1.8 crores for 1198 scholarships to be given out in the current year. In the long term Vidyasaarathi intends to establish a structured and simple mechanism to enhance private sector participation in education funding along with active participation from Government agencies providing scholarships.
Vidyasaarathi has also been demonstrated to CSR teams of multiple corporates in a seminar conducted by Indian Institute for Corporate Affairs, Ministry of Corporate Affairs. Presently, additional corporates, NGOs and educational institutes are being on boarded onto the Platform.