SPELL is an education financing program that provides funding for disadvantaged students beginning in 3rd grade through the end of high school. SPELL provides scholarships to students to cover the costs of tuition, books, uniforms, and other school expenses. Scholarships are guaranteed for each student through the completion of high school, provided that a certain academic level of achievement and school attendance is maintained.
A key component of this model in addition to the scholarships, is the required after-school tutoring. At the lower-secondary school level, East Meets West (EMW) arranges and finances tutoring classes in the schools. At the high school level, students are provided with stipends to seek their own private tutoring, given that the subjects that students study at this level are more specialized and individualized.
Scholarships are merit-based, and students' academic performance and attendance are factored into the degree of support they receive, ranging at the high school level from a general spending allowance to cover tuition, to tutoring, boarding, and transportation to and from school.
The SPELL program works in conjunction with local partner organizations known as Study Promotion Associations (SPAs). These help to select students for the program, as well as to monitor students' performance and progress once a part of SPELL. SPELL staff conduct household visits twice: once prior to students' acceptance into the program to determine their eligibility based on socio-economic background, and once again in ninth grade as a follow-up on their families' socio-economic status to ensure that the program continues to reach those most in need.
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Model details2004Not-for-profitComprehensive curriculumActiveLong-term projectScholarships4,00050%50%
Students participating in EMW's SPELL program must come from families that hold a local or national poverty certification from the government. SPELL targets students who come from families with an average monthly income of 27 USD or less in rural areas. EMW informs the local SPAs how many scholarships will be disbursed; the SPAs then allocate the scholarships to a certain number of schools. Teachers are then asked to provide a shortlist of potentially eligible students based on selection criteria that prioritize financial need and academic merit. EMW then conducts household visits with each student and their families to verify their socio-economic status and eligibility for the program.
The EMW SPELL program began in 2004 by providing scholarships to 1,500 students at the primary level from 3rd to 5th grade. It has since expanded to provide 4,000 scholarships to students spanning from 3rd to 12th grade. The program has also recently been replicated in Uttar Pradesh, India.
SPELL hopes to reach 5,000 students through its scholarship and tutoring program.
Monitoring & EvaluationYes
SPELL staff conduct school visits twice a year to monitor tutoring results and learning outcomes. The program tracks dropout rates at the lower secondary and high school level, as well as the percentage of students being accepted and continuing into high school. Similarly, the program conducts interviews with all SPELL students to ensure that they receive the correct amount of funding each year, and also requires students to submit reports of how they are spending their scholarship allowances.Internal assessment performanceAbility to reach the poorGraduation or promotion ratesStudent attendanceStudent retentionYes
95.8% promotion rate to high school (2011-2012)
88% graduation rate from high school (2011-2012)