What is IIE’s Higher Education Readiness (HER) program?

The Institute of International Education’s Higher Education Readiness program (HER) provides young women in secondary school from underserved communities with a pathway to university. A new three-year pilot project in Ethiopia, HER will provide 100 girls entering the 11th grade with scholarship support combined with innovative leadership and life skills training to help them complete their secondary education and equip them with the tools needed to continue on to university.

Why are pathways to university in Ethiopia needed?

  • 32.4% of girls in Ethiopia enroll in 9th grade (i.e. first cycle).
  • Only 3.5% of these girls continue to 11th grade (i.e. second cycle) which is the pathway to advance to university.
  • An even smaller percentage of those girls that graduate from secondary school go on to university. This has a profound impact for workforce development and for the economic advancement of the society as a whole.

How will HER make an impact?

Experts agree that educating girls and women is critical to economic development. According to a World Bank report on Girls Education in the 21st Century (2.1 MB, PDF), educating girls is one of the most cost-effective ways of spurring development, and it correlates positively with increased economic productivity, more robust labor markets, higher earnings, and improved family and societal health and well-being, a major component of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Education for All (EFA) goals.

What is IIE’s commitment?

The Institute of International Education is committed to expanding access to higher education globally.

Learn more about the program goals

Participant Stories
  • Higher Education Readiness (HER) Program

    Kalkidan’s dream is to be a medical doctor.

  • Higher Education Readiness (HER) Program
    "Rather than being a burden, education is a path to independence."
  • Higher Education Readiness (HER) Program
    Rediat wants to pursue law in college because she wants to fight injustice
  • Higher Education Readiness (HER) Program
    Rediet’s dream is to be a cardiologist because the heart’s functioning is critical to survival
  • Higher Education readiness (HER) Program
    "Aden says education is important to her because it inspires hope for the future."


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