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OppU Achievers Scholarship Awarded to Student Who Endured Iraq War and Went on to Create Maker Space Start-Up in his Country

University of Rochester sophomore is fifth recipient of quarterly $2,500 scholarship

Chicago – Nov. 1, 2017 – OppU, a financial literacy site that provides free money management education, named University of Rochester sophomore Salih Zainulabdeen as the fifth recipient of its quarterly OppU Achievers Scholarship. Zainulabdeen, who was born in Baghdad in 1996, spent his childhood in a war zone. He went on to help found the first tech-space start-up in Iraq and is now pursuing a degree in computer science in the U.S. The OppU Achievers Scholarship provides $2,500 for his education expenses.

“We’re thrilled to name Salih the latest recipient of the OppU Achievers Scholarship,” said Jared Kaplan, CEO of OppLoans, the financial firm that developed OppU. “His ambition, hard work, and perseverance are a perfect example of the type of self-empowerment that the scholarship celebrates.”

Zainulabdeen first came to the U.S. to attend a semester-long entrepreneurship program at the Watson Institute in Boulder, Colo. A financial donor subsequently sponsored his education at Reynolds Community College in Richmond, Va., which he attended until this fall when he gained acceptance to the University of Rochester.

But his success followed years of struggle in Iraq. As a child, he witnessed the horrors of the Iraq War and suffered a personal tragedy when a 20-year-old cousin was kidnapped and murdered. Despite this, he pursued his love of technology and helped create Fikra Space, Iraq’s first “maker space” for tech enthusiasts, which he discusses in an interview for the OppLoans Financial Sense Blog.

“Receiving the OppU Achievers Scholarship is truly an honor,” said Zainulabdeen. “The money it provides will allow me to stay focused on school and continue to work toward my dreams.”

The OppU Achievers Scholarship is awarded four times a year. Recipients are selected based on their demonstrated achievements and the opportunities they’ve created for themselves and others. The scholarship is open to seniors in high school, college students, and those attending graduate, professional, or trade school. Applications are accepted year-round through the OppU Achievers Scholarship web portal.

About OppU and OppLoans

OppU is a free financial literacy site that teaches money management through interactive videos, cumulative quizzes, and more. It is available to the public at OppLoans.com/mooc. The standards-based curriculum was created by OppLoans, a socially responsible online lender that provides safer, more affordable borrowing options to the underbanked. One of the highest-rated online lenders in the industry, OppLoans offers free financial education to its customers and reports their on-time payments to help improve their credit scores. OppLoans donates $10,000 annually through its OppU Achievers Scholarship to students who have demonstrated outstanding drive and achievement.

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Teaching & Learning