Mastercard scholarship: How African students can get a tuition-free education

study for free
The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Programme opens up vast opportunities for talented African students to contribute to their local communities. Source: Badru Katumba/AFP

Are you an African school leaver or graduate who is passionate about contributing to your community? You can transform your ideas into action and study for free with the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Programme.

The Mastercard Foundation works with visionary organisations to enable young people in Africa and in Indigenous communities in Canada to access dignified and fulfilling work.

The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Programme is the largest scholarship initiative of its kind in Africa. Its helps talented and diverse young people, particularly young women, to lead, pursue their aspirations, and enrich their communities.

The programme has helped many students, including Nigerian Solace Ojotule, who is currently studying in the UK. She used her life experiences as inspiration to fight gender inequality by creating a non-profit organisation called She Rise Africa. 

Ojotule, along with her co-founders, spearheaded programmes such as a sensitisation programme where they handed out sanitary pads to girls in school and taught them about menstrual hygiene and the transition into adulthood.

Her commitment to serving her community eventually won the heart of Mastercard who awarded her with the coveted scholarship to study at the University of Edinburgh. 

If you’re interested in applying, here’s what you should know about the Mastercard programme:

study for free

“I told Mastercard Foundation Scholarship about my voluntary services, and that was how I was able to get the scholarship,” said scholarship recipient Solace Ojotule. Source: Solace Ojotule

How you can study for free with Mastercard

Scholarship coverage

Students can study for free with the programme.

Financial support under the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Programme includes, but is not limited to tuition fees, accommodation, books, mentoring, counselling, leadership development and a return air ticket to their country of origin, if necessary. 

Take note that the amount you will be awarded varies according to each partner institution. Visit the Scholars Programme section of the Mastercard Foundation website for a list of partners.

Eligibility requirements

Applicants for undergraduate programmes must be 29-years-old or under when applying while graduate degree applicants must be 35-years-old or under.

Students must be academically strong and have demonstrated a commitment to making a difference in the lives of others.

For more information on eligibility requirements, click here.

How can you apply?

The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Programme is implemented through Mastercard’s partner universities and non-governmental organisations.

Each partner institution sets its own eligibility requirements, so review the application requirements of the institution you are interested in applying to learn the specific details about eligibility criteria, requirements, deadlines and other application instructions.

You can find more tips on the Mastercard Foundation website.

Application deadline

The application deadline varies, according to the terms set by individual Mastercard Foundation partners.