Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program

The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program prepares young people, particularly from Africa, to lead change.

MCF logo

The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program is a $700 million global initiative to educate and develop next-generation leaders who will contribute to social and economic progress. The Program enables young people to complete quality secondary and tertiary education, and make successful transitions to further education or the workforce in their home regions. Over the next 10 years, the Program will select 15,000 Scholars, primarily from Africa, who will be unified by a common philosophy of change and ethical leadership.

In recent years, Africa has experienced an economic and political resurgence. Many countries have become electoral democracies. Seven of the world’s 10 fastest-growing economies are African. The region has become an investment destination. New industries in manufacturing, telecommunications, banking, agriculture, and services are developing. The education of youth is becoming increasingly important since, at present, 70% of Africa’s population is under the age of 30. Those who will be entering the labor force include young people with academic talent and a commitment to giving back to their countries, yet who are economically disadvantaged and face significant barriers to accessing quality education. To seize this opportunity, the Mastercard Foundation and a collaborative, global network of education institutions and nonprofit organizations have created The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program. Together the partners firmly believe that education is a catalyst for social change and economic betterment. 

At Wellesley College, known worldwide for its academic excellence, we bring a special expertise to this Program: We educate women who will make a difference in the world. The Mastercard Foundation is providing funding for a total of 23 Mastercard Foundation Scholars at Wellesley College from the Class of 2017 through the class of 2023. 

Please note, the last Mastercard Foundation Scholars at Wellesley College were admitted in Fall 2019. 

The global network of partner institutions

Wellesley College is among a global network of educational institutions and nonprofit organizations to partner in The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program. Partner institutions are carefully selected for their shared values, academic excellence, nurturing environments, and programs relevant to growth sectors in Africa. Each believes that education is a catalyst for social and economic betterment. The network will expand as the Foundation adds more secondary and university partnerships in Africa. These institutions include:

Secondary Education

  • Camfed International
  • Equity Group Foundation

Undergraduate Studies

  • African Leadership Academy (The partnership with the African Leadership Academy will enable development of an African-based careers network for Scholars to access internships and jobs across the continent)
  • American University of Beirut
  • Ashesi University College
  • Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST)
  • Sciences Po
  • University of Abomey-Calavi
  • University of Cape Town
  • University of Edinburgh
  • University of Gondar
  • University of Pretoria
  • Wellesley College

Master's Studies

  • African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS)
  • American University of Beirut
  • Arizona State University
  • Carnegie Mellon University Africa
  • McGill University
  • Sciences Po
  • University of British Columbia
  • University of Cape Town
  • University of Edinburgh
  • University of Gondar
  • University of Pretoria