The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at UC Berkeley

The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program

The University of California, Berkeley has partnered with The Mastercard Foundation in a collaborative, global network of education institutions and non-profit organizations that believe education is a catalyst for social and economic advancement. The Scholars Program aims to develop a cohort of ethical, entrepreneurial, and energetic young leaders who will drive and lead socio-economic transformation in Africa. The Scholars Program is a growing commitment, and, to date, the Program has committed over USD $1.2 billion to supporting the education and leadership development of more than 40,000 young people.

The future of Africa will be shaped by its young people, including those talented, yet economically disadvantaged students who face significant barriers to accessing quality education. The Mastercard Foundation's strategy, Young Africa Works, aims to enable 30 million young people, particularly young women, to secure dignified and fulfilling work by 2030. To harness the potential impact of this generation, The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program provides next-generation leaders who are committed to the social and economic transformation of their continent with access to quality education by delivering comprehensive financial, social, and academic support throughout their secondary and university education and supports their transition to further study or to the workforce.

The Program at UC Berkeley

At UC Berkeley, the Program has provided support to over 120 students from 2012 to 2020, both undergraduate and master’s degree students. Students seeking doctoral degrees are not eligible for this Program. Going forward through 2030, the Program at UC Berkeley will provide support to 108 master's degree students. To be considered for the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program, master's degree seekers must first apply to the university through the regular admissions process. After students apply for admission to a degree program, the Program will invite them to apply for the Scholarship, if they meet eligibility requirements. Please refer to the Apply page for more information on the application process.

Aligned with the Foundation’s Young Africa Works strategy and with Berkeley’s commitment to excellence for positive global contributions, the UC Berkeley Program seeks to enhance connections between the innovative and entrepreneurial ecosystems at Berkeley and those on the African continent. In addition to receiving high-quality education, Scholars will receive specialized training in leadership and entrepreneurship, and participate in program connecting them to the innovative ecosystems of the San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley.

Collaboration with African universities is an important aspect of the Scholars Program. We anticipate working with at least three different African partners over the course of the grant to create opportunities to share Berkeley’s core competencies of innovation, entrepreneurship and research with partner institutions in the Scholars Program network.

Through the grant, the Center for African Studies will offer catalytic seed grants to Berkeley faculty to encourage research collaborations with scholars at African institutions on projects that tackle critical needs and issues relevant to the Young Africa Works strategy. These funded projects will also offer MCF Scholars with career-enhancing research opportunities. The initiative will include a local Advisory Board to assist with creating and enhancing links between the Bay Area and African innovation hubs. Another element is an Alumni Impact Fund that will leverage the creativity within our own MCF Scholars community.