Bendheim Loan Forgiveness FAQ

What is the Bendheim Loan Forgiveness Fund?

The Bendheim Loan Forgiveness Fund is a program designed to help selected Wharton MBA graduates who are working in the nonprofit and public sectors. The fund specifically helps pay down student loans so recent graduates can pursue social impact careers.

Why should I apply?

For those selected for this highly competitive program, Wharton will send up to $20,000 per year to the recipients’ lenders to pay down their loans. That means you’ll be able to work at that exciting nonprofit job without worrying about where you’ll find the money to tackle student loan debt.

You must reapply each year, and are eligible for up to five years of funding.

Please note, this award may be taxable, so awardees are advised to consult your tax advisors.

When is the application deadline? What do I need?

Submissions for the 2017-2018 cycle are now open

Candidates must submit a complete application online, including a questionnaire, personal essay, current resume, letter of reference, proof of employment, and summary of educational indebtedness.

Who is entitled to the fund? Am I eligible?

If you are a Wharton MBA graduate, you’re on the right track!

Applicants should be graduates from the class of 2013 or later, who are working a full-time position in the public or nonprofit sectors.

That includes any job in local, state or national government; any tax-exempt non-profit organization in the nation; a foreign government or non-profit organization; or some international non-profit organizations.

Financial need is also an important factor. The selection committee will review your Wharton educational debt and current salary; the funds apply to loans taken out during your Wharton MBA studies, but those with loan deferments are not eligible.

I have a graduate assistantship. Does that count as an eligible job?

Jobs that are technically a continuation of a professional degree (such as a G.A. position toward an advanced degree) do not count toward this program. We encourage alumni to apply once they have obtained a full-time position outside of the university.

Please note: University of Pennsylvania employees are not eligible for the award.

How often can I apply?

There is no limit to the number of times alumni may be chosen as recipients during the first five years following graduation. We encourage applicants to apply each year.

What types of people are usually selected?

The Bendheim Loan Forgiveness Fund winners are diverse, representing Wharton’s vast MBA alumni network.

Successful applicants have a strong focus on social impact work and are able to demonstrate that confidently in the grant application.

Previous winners have included high school teachers, project managers at national museums, financial analysts for state education departments, and government officials both in America and abroad.

What is the likelihood I will be funded?

The number and size of awards granted each year depends on the funds available, though close to $1 million
has been distributed since the program began. Historically, we have funded between 40 and 60 percent of
applicants.

When are recipients notified? When are funds sent out?

Awardees are notified of decisions in February. Grants will be sent as payment directly to loan servicers by the end of April.

What if I am not selected?

Don’t be discouraged! The Bendheim Loan Forgiveness Fund is highly competitive and not all applicants are funded each year. Historically, the majority who reapply following an initial rejection have received the award after trying again — though that is not a guarantee.

Once funds have been received, what else do I have to do?

Each winner will be asked to submit a 12-month progress report updating Wharton on how his or her skills have contributed to their organization or employer. Wharton may ask for additional materials or updates, and you may be required to work with your loan provider regarding any changes to loan principle or payments.

Please consult your tax advisor upon award notification, as this award may be subject to tax.

I have other questions.

Please contact the Wharton Social Impact Initiative by emailing socialimpact@wharton.upenn.edu.