The MasterCard Foundation Scholarship

You’ve always dreamed of studying at a world-class university in North America. Now, that dream is within your reach. The MasterCard Foundation Scholarship at the University of California offers you a fully funded opportunity to pursue undergraduate studies in the U.S. and develop your leadership potential.

Established in 2024, the MasterCard Foundation Scholarship provides comprehensive support for students from Sub-Saharan Africa with financial need and a desire to give back to their communities. As a MasterCard Foundation Scholar, you will receive funding for tuition, housing, books, and living expenses for your entire degree program at UC. You will also benefit from mentorship, internship opportunities, and a network of like-minded scholars from across the continent.

Upon graduation, MasterCard Foundation Scholars return home equipped with the knowledge, skills, and experiences necessary to become leaders in their fields and contribute to the social and economic transformation of their countries. If you are a high-achieving student motivated to bring positive change to your community, the MasterCard Foundation Scholarship at UC could be the opportunity of a lifetime. The application deadline for the 2024/2025 academic year is December 1, 2023.

An Overview of the MasterCard Foundation Scholarship at University of California

The MasterCard Foundation Scholarship at University of California provides full scholarships to outstanding yet economically disadvantaged students from Africa to pursue undergraduate studies at the University of California. Selected scholars receive comprehensive support for the duration of their studies to earn a bachelor’s degree.

The scholarship funds tuition, housing, books, and living expenses for scholars for up to 4 years of study on any of the 10 UC campuses. Scholars also receive mentorship, academic counseling, and leadership development opportunities. Upon graduation, scholars join a growing network of young African leaders and gain access to career opportunities.

To be eligible for the scholarship, applicants must be residents and citizens of a Sub-Saharan African country, have achieved academic excellence under difficult circumstances, and be passionate about giving back to their communities. The application process is highly competitive, with an acceptance rate of under 2% for the 2020 cohort.

The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program at UC aims to educate and transform the lives of 1,500 young Africans over 10 years. Scholars will return home with new perspectives and skills to become transformative leaders and contribute to the economic and social progress of their countries. By partnering with UC, the Program seeks to strengthen the connection between the University and the African continent.

This prestigious and life-changing scholarship provides a pathway to success for brilliant young Africans with a vision for change. Scholars gain world-class education, leadership experience, mentoring, and a lifelong connection to the UC community. The Program is an investment in Africa’s future made possible through the generosity of The MasterCard Foundation.

Eligibility Requirements and Application Process

To be eligible for The MasterCard Foundation Scholarship, you must meet the following requirements:

Citizenship and Residency

You must be a citizen and legal resident of a Sub-Saharan African country.

Academic Achievement

You must have achieved academic excellence in your secondary school studies, attaining high grades in the core curriculum subjects. Your official academic transcripts will be required as part of the application.

Financial Need

You must demonstrate financial need. The scholarship aims to support academically gifted youth who lack the financial means to attend university.

Leadership Potential

You must show strong leadership potential through your community involvement or extracurricular activities. Examples include volunteering, sports, clubs, or entrepreneurship.

Clear Study Plan

You must have a clear study plan to attend an accredited four-year bachelor’s degree program at the University of California in 2024 or 2025. Conditional admission to UC is required before the scholarship can be activated.

The application process includes an online application form, submission of academic transcripts and test scores, a personal essay, and letters of reference. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to video interviews. Successful applicants will receive the full cost of attendance for four years of undergraduate study.

This prestigious scholarship presents an unparalleled opportunity to gain a world-class education at a leading university. Apply now and embark on this life-changing journey to achieve your full potential and dreams.

Tips for Crafting a Strong Application

The MasterCard Foundation Scholarship at the University of California offers an incredible opportunity, but the application process is competitive. Here are some tips to help your application stand out:

Focus on Your Story

In your personal statement, share details about your journey that make you a strong candidate for this scholarship. Discuss challenges you have overcome and your future goals. Explain how this scholarship will help you achieve your dreams and give back to your community.

Highlight Your Achievements

Include honors, awards and leadership roles in your application. Discuss any community service projects or extracurricular activities that have shaped you. Mention skills and talents that will contribute to your success at university.

Submit Strong References

Ask teachers, counselors, or community leaders who know you well to write your letters of reference. Meet with them to discuss your goals and the scholarship. Provide them details about the program so they can speak directly to your fit and potential.

Follow All Instructions Carefully

Review the application checklist and materials thoroughly. Meet all deadlines and requirements to avoid having your application rejected due to missing information. Ask someone else to review your application to check for any errors before submitting.

Prepare for the Interview

If selected for an interview, be ready to expand on the information in your application. Review your personal story and goals, and prepare questions to ask your interviewer. Make eye contact, smile, and convey your passion for this opportunity.

With diligent preparation and a strong application demonstrating your achievements, story, and future potential, you have an excellent chance of becoming a MasterCard Foundation Scholar.


The opportunity to study at one of the top universities in the world is a dream come true for many students around the globe. Through the MasterCard Foundation Scholarship program, this dream can become a reality. Over the next two academic years, you have the chance to immerse yourself in a world-class learning environment, expand your mind, and develop skills that will serve you for life. Take full advantage of all the University of California has to offer. Challenge yourself in the classroom and through extracurricular activities. Forge meaningful connections with people from diverse backgrounds. And remember, this opportunity is a privilege – use your education to make a positive impact on your community and the world. The future is yours to shape. Make the most of this transformative experience.

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