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Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program

The Mastercard Foundation works to provide access to inclusive and quality education to young people in Sub-Saharan Africa, and to enable as many of them as possible to secure dignified and fulfilling employment.

As part of an ambitious new strategy (Young Africa Works), the Foundation aims to enable 30 million young people in Africa to enter employment and entrepreneurship by 2030. The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program, of which Sciences Po is a partner, is to play a central role in this strategy through university partnerships that give young people in Africa access to a top education. Since 2012 the Scholars Program has supported nearly 40,000 young transformative leaders. By 2030 the program will more than double its impact by adding 60,000 scholarships.

The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program is designed for students who demonstrate academic excellence and strong leadership potential, but who face difficulties or do not have the funds to access higher education. They are particularly aimed at students who aspire to make a real and lasting impact in tackling some of the foremost issues facing the continent, particularly in the fields of public policy and major political, environmental and societal transitions.

The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program has three major strategic objectives: providing specialised support for students, developing their soft skills outside of the student experience and, lastly, building a strong alumni network.

Since 2017, Sciences Po is part of the four European universities (with the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge and Edinburgh) in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program. Since then, the partnership has enabled 140 students from Sub-Saharan Africa to enroll in a degree programme in the social sciences at Sciences Po, with the aim of training a new generation of change-makers in their home countries.

A ten-year programme

Over the next ten years, the programme will support 1,450 young Africans through different opportunities:

  • Scholars from Anglophone and Francophone African countries at Sciences Po will obtain master’s degrees from the full academic offering of our seven graduate schools, ensuring that young people and professionals from marginalized communities have access to high-quality, transformative educational opportunities.
  • The Mastercard Foundation Alumni Network working in public service and governance will attend Executive Masters: Politiques et Management du développement potentiel Afrique.
  • With career events dedicated to careers in Africa hosted online or on the continent, the Scholars Program at Sciences Po will help students be aware of the relevant career and networking opportunities on the continent.
  • Sciences Po will expand its academic horizons, providing transformative leadership training and networking opportunities to other Scholars from the Mastercard Foundation’s partner network by inviting them to attend the Sciences Po Summer School University Programme. Through tailor-made short programmes co-designed with partner universities from the Mastercard Foundation’s partner network to provide academic expansion and reinforcement opportunities (online or on partner institution campuses), the transition of undergraduate Mastercard Foundation Scholars to further education will be improved.
  • A new offer of foundational programmes will be developed to provide customized reinforcement opportunities to undergraduates who are refugees, displaced youth, and youth with disabilities to help them acquire the skills to pursue graduate education at Sciences Po or other high-level universities.

Financial aid & specialised support

Financial aid

Scholarships cover the full cost of tuition and living expenses in France throughout the period of study at Sciences Po.

Specialised support

In addition to funding Scholars’ studies, Sciences Po provides a range of specialised resources to support them during the process, and to facilitate their transition into the working world. In particular, scholarship students have access to:

  • Support in the run-up to their departure, specialist support on arrival and an official welcome programme.
  • Housing in Paris reserved for scholarship holders.
  • Personalised support throughout their studies, ensuring that every student has the best possible experience at Sciences Po.
  • Careers support: guidance to help students identify their professional aspirations; a careers fair focusing on employment and internship opportunities in Africa; access to the university’s business incubator (FR) and its network of employers and alumni working in Africa; careers support workshops; participation in conferences, etc.
  • A mentoring programme co-run with the Africa Division of Sciences Po Alumni.
  • Access to the wide range of general resources that Sciences Po provides to guide students through every step of their studies.

How to apply?

About the Mastercard Foundation

The Mastercard Foundation works with over 130 forward-looking organizations in Africa, America and Europe to provide greater access to education, training and financial services for economically disadvantaged people to Africa’s youth.

The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program aims at ensuring that all young people, whatever their background, have the same opportunities to get a quality education and fulfill their potential. Since launching in 2012, it has supported nearly 40,000 young people in Africa to pursue their secondary or tertiary education. 

The program’s partners are committed to improving access to inclusive education, but also strives to create the conditions that will enable young people to attain inclusive and relevant education, transition smoothly into dignified and fulfilling work, and lead transformative lives. By 2030, the Foundation sets out an ambitious goal and action plan (Young Africa Works Strategy), to enable through its work, 30 million young people in Africa to secure employment they see as dignified and fulfilling.

Sciences Po is the first university in continental Europe to join the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program

Contact us

For further information on the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at Sciences Po, you can contact our team by email.