Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program: Full List of Available Scholarships for Africans
Everyone deserves the opportunity to learn and prosper. But how?

The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program provides financial, social, and academic support through providing available scholarships for Africans and other nationalities in need.

Read on to learn how you can be one of the recipients.

Students from McGill University | Photo credits: McGill University

Benefits & Value of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program

Every year, the foundation offers to cover expenses in tuition fees, accommodation, books, and other scholastic materials. Students whose talent and promise exceed their financial resources are then given the opportunity to complete their education.

The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program is developing Africa’s next generation of leaders. With a vision that education is a catalyst for social and economic change, the program focuses on developing leaders who are transformative, encouraging them to be active contributors in their communities.

The Scholars Program is implemented through our partner universities and non-governmental organizations. Furthermore, the application process and decision-making are managed individually by each partner.

Partner institutions have their own deadlines and admission fees. The organization recommends that aspiring scholars research the application guidelines or contact the institution of their choice beforehand for more information about the entire process.

For schools that require application fees as part of the admission, the fees will be reimbursed if the student is selected for the Scholars Program.

About the Mastercard Foundation

The Mastercard Foundation is an international non-governmental organization focused on reducing gender and economic inequality, expanding access to quality education, increasing the opportunities for decent work, and supporting overall economic growth.

Since 2018, the foundation has shifted to a specific focus on Africa, through its Young Africa Works strategy. Guided by its mission to advance learning and promote financial inclusion for people living in poverty, the Mastercard Foundation is committed to building a world where everyone has the opportunity to learn and prosper.

Available Scholarships at Partner Universities

Interested Africans looking to become Mastercard scholars must first apply through the partner university of their choice. Upon being admitted into the said university, the students may then proceed with processing their scholarship applications.

The scope of majors and degrees eligible for the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program varies from institution to institution.

Below is a list of universities that have available scholarships for Africans through the Mastercard Scholars Program:

Secondary Education Scholarships

Camfed International

Camfed works to break the cycle of poverty in Africa by educating and empowering girls and young women to become leaders of change.

Equity Group Foundation

Equity Group Foundation (EGF) is a not-for-profit implementing foundation based in Nairobi, Kenya that champions the social and economic transformation of the people of Africa.

Undergraduate Studies

African Leadership Academy

The African Leadership Academy is a pan-African institution that seeks to identify, develop, and connect promising young leaders who will shape Africa’s future.

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American University of Beirut

The vision of the Faculty of Health Sciences at the American University of Beirut is to promote the health and well-being of populations through quality higher education.

Ashesi University College

Ashesi University College is a private, non-profit institution with a mission to educate a new generation of ethical, entrepreneurial leaders in Africa.

Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST)

Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) advances knowledge in science and technology for sustainable development in Africa.

Sciences Po

Based in Paris, France, Sciences Po is an international research university ranking among the finest institutions in the fields of humanities and social sciences.

University of Abomey-Calavi

Founded in 1970, the University of Abomey-Calavi is the oldest and largest public university in Benin. With an estimated student population of 85,000 enrolled for the 2016–2017 academic year, the University is a true place of knowledge that has formed the majority of the elites of the Benin nation.

University of Cape Town

The University of Cape Town aspires to become a premier academic meeting point between South Africa, the rest of Africa, and the world. Taking advantage of expanding global networks and its distinct vantage point in Africa, the University of Cape Town is committed, through innovative research and scholarship, to grapple with the key issues of our natural and social worlds.

University of Edinburgh

The mission of the University of Edinburgh is the creation, dissemination, and curation of knowledge. Having landed the 16th spot in the 2022 QS World University Rankings, UE is considered one of the world’s top universities.

University of Gondar

Established in 1954 as the Public Health Training Institute, and known as the Gondar College of Medical Sciences until 2003, the University of Gondar is the oldest medical school in Ethiopia and was established with the philosophy of a team approach and community-based teaching of health professionals. With 25,000 students, the University of Gondar offers 70 undergraduate and 90 post-graduate programs.

University of Pretoria

The University of Pretoria is a multi-faculty, research-intensive university with campuses in Pretoria, its surrounds, and in the country’s economic hub, Johannesburg. The University is conveniently situated in close proximity to government departments and major research entities in Pretoria, including the National Research Foundation (NRF) and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

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Wellesley College

Since 1875, Wellesley College has been a leader in providing an excellent liberal arts education to women who will make a difference in the world.

EARTH University

EARTH University is partnered with the Mastercard Foundation to provide scholarships to young leaders from disadvantaged communities around the globe. Approximately one-third of the scholars will come from Sub-Saharan Africa and the rest from Latin America and the Caribbean.

Makerere University

Mastercard’s partnership with Makerere University will offer scholarships to 1,000 academically bright but economically disadvantaged youth from Africa to study at Makerere University from 2013 to 2023.

United States International University Africa

The United States International University Africa’s mission is to promote the discovery and application of knowledge, the acquisition of skills, and the development of intellect and character in a manner that prepares students to contribute effectively and ethically as citizens of a changing and increasingly technological world.

African Leadership University

ALU helps to build the skills that a young leader and entrepreneur will need for the future. Harness the characteristics essential for creating a mission-based life of impact and purpose.

Masters Studies

African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS)

The African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) is a pan-African network of centers of excellence for postgraduate education, research, and outreach in mathematical sciences.

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American University of Beirut

The vision of the Faculty of Health Sciences at the American University of Beirut is to promote the health and well-being of populations through quality higher education.

Arizona State University

Arizona State University is an institution committed to excellence, access, and impact. It pursues research that contributes to the public good.

Carnegie Mellon University Africa

With a century-long history that has hosted 19 Nobel laureates, Carnegie Mellon University is renowned as one of the world’s leading engineering institutions.

McGill University

McGill University is an internationally diverse, leading Canadian postsecondary institution with a mission to advance learning through teaching, scholarship, and service to society.

Sciences Po

Based in Paris, France, Sciences Po is an international research university ranking among the finest institutions in the fields of humanities and social sciences.

University of British Columbia

The University of British Columbia is a place that inspires bold new ways of thinking, making it a leader in community service learning, sustainability, and research commercialization.

University of Cape Town

The University of Cape Town aspires to become a premier academic meeting point between South Africa, the rest of Africa, and the world. Taking advantage of expanding global networks and its distinct vantage point in Africa, the University of Cape Town is committed, through innovative research and scholarship, to grapple with the key issues of our natural and social worlds.

University of Edinburgh

The University of Edinburgh offers a range of ways to study. UE has on-campus taught programs as well as online part-time study, In fact, the institution is the largest provider of online distance learning in the Russell Group of UK research-intensive universities.

University of Gondar

Established in 1954 as the Public Health Training Institute, and known as the Gondar College of Medical Sciences until 2003, the University of Gondar is the oldest medical school in Ethiopia and was established with the philosophy of a team approach and community-based teaching of health professionals. With 25,000 students, the University of Gondar offers 70 undergraduate and 90 post-graduate programs.

University of Pretoria

The University of Pretoria is a multi-faculty, research-intensive university with campuses in Pretoria, its surrounds, and in the country’s economic hub, Johannesburg. The University is conveniently situated in close proximity to government departments and major research entities in Pretoria, including the National Research Foundation (NRF) and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

University of California, Berkeley

The University of California, Berkeley with the Mastercard Foundation will support 108 master’s degree students from Sub-Saharan African countries who are academically talented and committed to transformative change on the continent.

University of Toronto

The University of Toronto is partnering with the Mastercard Foundation to develop Africa’s next generation of leaders. U of T can now provide 67 African students with one of the world’s top-ranked educations—in one of the world’s most multi-cultural cities.

Eligibility Criteria for Scholars

To be considered for the program, students must be academically strong and have demonstrated a commitment to making a difference in the lives of others. 

For an undergraduate (bachelor’s) degree, candidates must be 29 years old or under at the time they apply. For a graduate (master’s) degree, candidates must be 35 years old or under at the time they apply.

In addition, each university has its own eligibility criteria. Carefully review the application requirements at the institution to which you are interested in applying.

Here are some instructions to keep in mind before applying:

  • Carefully research the Program website of the university of your choice to learn the specific details about eligibility criteria, requirements, deadlines, and other application instructions.
  • Select the institution and program you want to apply to. While there is no limit to the number of schools you can apply to, it is important to note that it takes a great deal of effort to complete an application package.
  • Prepare the necessary documents to submit. Each institution requires different types of documents as part of the application process. Failing to submit a document on time will result in an incomplete application.
  • If applicable, take the required tests a few months before starting your application. Before being considered for the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program, every applicant must first meet the admissions requirements of the university. For some partners, tests like the SAT and/or TOEFL or IELTS are part of the standard requirements for all international students. Other university partners do not require these to be completed.
  • Ask for references. Most universities will require recommendation letters. Before you apply, ask someone who knows you well, such as your teacher, mentor, or community leader, to support you with this step. Some universities will require the recommendation to be submitted online. In this case, it is the applicant’s responsibility to follow up with his/her referees about the online submission.

Mastercard’s Application Process

When applying for the university of your choice, please keep in mind the following:

  • Follow the application instructions on the university program. Some partners only accept online applications; some others require paper-based applications.
  • Take note of the deadline and avoid waiting until the last day to submit your application. Check your application package to make sure that you have submitted all the required documents. A late or incomplete application will not be considered for the Scholars Program.

Admission fees are required by many of our implementing partners as part of the application process. North American universities require TOEFL and/or SAT scores as part of their application process for international students.

Understandably, these costs can be a barrier for many potential Scholars. Although Mastercard Foundation is unable to change these admission requirements, they have found the following options to be helpful to some applicants.

  • In some cases, the university to which you are applying may be able to assist with the completion of tests. If you are confident that you can fulfill the requirements of the SAT and TOEFL, ask your counsellor or principal to provide you with a letter of support or similar documentation that expresses their confidence in your academic achievements. Share your story and your letters of support with the admissions office of the university to which you are applying.
  • Some students have also had success by working through Education USA. Their advisors may be able to help you find support to cover the costs of the SAT or TOEFL.
  • The foundation has partnered with Africa-based universities that offer undergraduate or graduate programs and do not require SAT or TOEFL scores.

For more information, queries, and concerns, please visit the official Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program webpage. You may also contact them to personally ask for guidance through the application journey.


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