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Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at MSU

The mission of The MasterCard Foundation is to advance education and financial inclusion to catalyze prosperity in developing countries.  The Scholars Program is a 10-year, US $500 million initiative that will enable 15,000 academically talented students from economically disadvantaged communities (mostly in sub-Saharan Africa) to attend secondary school and/or university.

What Sets the Scholars Program Apart
Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program differs from other scholarship initiatives in several key ways.

Community-minded students with the potential to create change: Scholars are academically strong students who come from economically disadvantaged communities and demonstrate strong leadership and a commitment to improving their communities.

Holistic support: The scholarship is comprehensive, covering school fees/tuition, uniforms, textbooks, computers and other learning materials. The Program provides financial support for transportation, living expenses and stipends, and also have access to mentors and counsellors.

A focus on leadership skills and socioeconomic change: Scholars receive leadership training and develop skills and experience they need to initiate change in their home communities.

A practical employment orientation: Scholars are provided with career guidance, internship opportunities and training in skills critical to employment success.

Four Cornerstones
The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program at Michigan State University is built upon four cornerstones; leadership, professional development, entrepreneurship, and service.

Leadership in education is important for scholars to effect change in their communities after graduation. The Leadership Academy for African Development (LAAD) is the flagship leadership-training model designed by Dr. Isaac Kalumbu at MSU’s MasterCard Foundation Scholar Program. The two year curriculum will produce Scholars who – through the application of effective leadership, professional, and personal skills – will achieve demonstrably transformative results in their respective communities and nations in Africa.

Professional Development
Internships on the continent are an integral component of a Scholar’s professional development. They help students build a professional networks before graduation, they help fine-tune and focus a student’s field of study to match market needs, and they teach soft skills necessary to stand out in a competitive labor market. One of the distinguishing marks of MSU’s program is 100% placement for summer internships on the continent of Africa.

Labor demand in Sub-Saharan Africa is lagging far behind its population growth. As the continent with the youngest population in the world, African youth are not able to transition to the workforce fast enough. Entrepreneurship and small and medium enterprises can drive economic growth, create jobs, and address unmet needs in innovative ways. At MSU, we foster entrepreneurship in a variety of ways:

MasterCard Foundation Scholars are expected to demonstrate a tradition of service in their home communities as a pre-requisite to their application. During their required internships, Scholars must also dedicate time to community service. That spirit of service is promoted on MSU’s campus in congruence with the values of the larger student body, and it continues with a commitment to return to the African continent and serve their home country after graduation.

How to Apply
Interested and qualified applicants can apply here.

Application Deadline
February 1, 2018.

For more Scholarships, go to