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OPIC Loan Enables American University in Bulgaria to Expand

April 21, 2011

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A $10 million loan from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the U.S. Government’s development finance institution, will enable the American University in Bulgaria (AUBG) to construct a new student center using green building strategies, improving the quality and efficiency of university services and contributing to an AUBG plan to expand its student body by 25 percent.

The student center will serve as a university hub by bringing together students and faculty in a central environment, housing administrative offices, a student gathering center, performing arts facilities, a dining hall, and a gymnasium, as well as all student services and enrollment services.

The design for the center links two large buildings with a center glass-faced entrance and utilizes green building strategies, including use of natural light and conservation of resources. 

In addition to the OPIC loan, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is providing $400,000 for the construction of the center.

America for Bulgaria Foundation (ABF) is also gifting $8 million to the student center project.  ABF was founded through the Bulgarian-American Enterprise Fund, an investment fund created to support the development of Bulgaria’s private sector through the Support for East European Democracy Act of 1991.

The American University in Bulgaria, located south of Sofia in Blagoevgrad, was founded in 1991 to help Bulgaria foster a new generation of leaders who would support democracy and free market enterprise in Eastern Europe. Since then, the university has grown to 1100 students from 40 countries, developed a diverse curriculum of nine major and 13 minor concentrations, and become financially self-sustaining.

The American University in Bulgaria leads all Bulgarian universities in terms of the employability of its graduates and the incomes they earn, according to a national ranking system launched by the Bulgarian Ministry of Education in November 2010.

In 1997, AUBG began implementing a campus master plan to manage projected enrollment growth. With support from USAID’s American Schools and Hospitals Abroad (ASHA) grant program, AUBG has built two residence halls to house 885 additional students, as well as a new classroom building and a library. In 2009, a third dormitory with 120 beds was completed.