Quiero Estudiar: representing the present for young people with a future
Los Andes has always sought to support young people who are academically excellent but have limited economic resources. Quiero Estudiar helps their journey.
The Universidad de los Andes, together with friends, alumni, professors, students, and employees has made an effort to help thousands of talented young people who want to access a quality higher education but who have scarce economic resources. Quiero Estudiar, a financial aid program, was created in 2006 to address this problem.
To find out the origins of Quiero Estudiar it is necessary to go back in time to 1994 when the student initiative Andeston was founded; this created special programs that prioritized talent above economic capacity to support gifted students who were unable to continue with their studies for financial reasons.
In 1996, the university created the National Talent Opportunities Program, which covered 126 young people from different places in Colombia, including the indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities. However, it ended in 1998 as there were not the necessary resources available to accept new students.
Despite the difficulties, Uniandes continued to look for alternatives, and this is how the Quiero Estudiar program developed in 2006. It was part of by the university’s Comprehensive Development Program (PDI for its acronym in Spanish), which sought to turn it into a pioneer of university funding in the country. Between 2006 and 2009, this program allowed 146 academically gifted young people with limited academic funds the chance to study in Los Andes, and in 2009, the first cohort graduated.
In response to the needs of a globalized world, in 2013, the program evolved. It planned to finance itself not only with the contributions of friends, alumni, and university employees, but it also invited the beneficiaries to reciprocate once they have finished their studies and start working by contributing a percentage of their wages to provide the same opportunities to other young people. The program will, therefore, become sustainable.In 2016, the number of student beneficiaries reached more than 1,500 young people, and more than 550 are already professionals. The university established the goal that, in the future, 20% of its undergraduate students would be beneficiaries of the Quiero Estudiar program. The university is currently working hard to achieve this goal.