New Field Partner: Financing education with AUCA to fight poverty in Kyrgyzstan

Kiva loves supporting students to pursue their dreams. More importantly, we believe that education can alleviate poverty and help people significantly improve their quality of life in the long term. That's why we’re so excited about our new partnership with the American University of Central Asia in Kyrgyzstan!

This nonprofit, international, multidisciplinary university was founded in 1997 with the support of the United States Government and the Open Society Institute. Today, AUCA provides a unique liberal arts curriculum for students in the region.

Located in Central Asia, Kyrgyzstan declared independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Currently, about 34% of the population lives below the poverty line. Even though the country’s microfinance sector is relatively well-developed, with more than 400 active institutions, the interest rates on loans are high and are not affordable for students.

AUCA offers 11 undergraduate programs in different majors including international and business law, sociology, politology, business administration and more. Students can get one of the best educations available and take courses in multiple languages, including Russian and English.

AUCA is very innovative in its approach to teaching courses. It prides itself on having upheld democracy, innovation and openness since it opened its doors in Kyrgyzstan. Starting only with 47 students back in 1997, today it graduates over 2,200 students each year!

Many of AUCA’s students continue on to graduate prgorams in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Singapore, Australia and more. Some go to Harvard, Yale, the Sorbonne and Central European University, among others.

Now let’s look at the statistics...

About 90% of AUCA students receive financial aid -- an average of US$2,813. The majority (90%) are from Kyrgyzstan and 60% are women.

The university makes an effort to recruit a diverse student body from the capital city and surrounding regions to help build teamwork and friendship among different groups. That's why 32% of Kyrgyz students are from urban and rural areas outside the capital city.

AUCA enrolls about 350 freshmen every year, and offers some form of financial aid to about 90% of them. Kiva is thrilled to support the university in its endeavors and to help students follow their dreams, so they can build bright futures for themselves and their communities.

If you believe that giving opportunities to students helps them to become self-reliant and combat poverty, then making a loan through this partner in the right choice for you!


Have questions about AUCA? Want to learn more about microfinance in Kyrgyzstan? Send them our way at

Images courtesy of AUCA.


About the author

Camille Ricketts

Camille brings her passion for storytelling to Kiva, where she helps create and curate online content. A longtime journalist, she started her career reporting on arts and culture for the Wall Street Journal in London and New York. In 2008, she joined San Francisco-based blog VentureBeat, writing about  green technology, policy and finance. Most recently, she worked in public relations for electric vehicle maker Tesla Motors. Outside of work, Camille volunteers as a web designer for maternal health nonprofit Saving Mothers. She holds a B.A. in women's history from Stanford University, where she also served as editor in chief of The Stanford Daily.