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Building on more than 50 years of engagement in Africa, Michigan State University will partner with The MasterCard Foundation on The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program, a $500 million education initiative that will provide talented, yet financially disadvantaged youth—especially those from Africa—with access to high-quality education.

MSU is the only institution in Michigan—and the Midwest—to join the Program. The university is receiving $45 million in funding from the Foundation to support 185 Scholars throughout the nine-year Program, which includes 100 four-year undergraduates and 85 master’s-degree students. MSU will host the most Scholars among the six U.S. partner institutions and welcomed the first cohort of scholars this fall with four graduate students and two undergraduates.


“Michigan State and The MasterCard Foundation both recognize that Africa is approaching an important inflection point,” says MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon. “Africa now hosts seven of the world’s ten fastest-growing national economies and is the world’s youngest continent demographically. That offers remarkable potential for innovation, and the Scholars Program will add leverage by building Africa’s educational capacity.” 


The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program offers a comprehensive package to students, which includes financial, academic, and social support, as well as access to networks to make successful transitions to further education or the workforce in Africa, says Reeta Roy, president and CEO of The MasterCard Foundation. Scholars at MSU will build experiences, values, and competencies that are critical to success in the global economy, enabling them to give back to their communities and home countries.

Learn more about The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program at MSU

How to apply

Read the news release

MasterCard and MSU

Above: Barbara Kotei, a freshman from Ghana, is studying biochemistry.

Mohamadou Diatta

Mohamadou Diatta, a freshman from Senegal, is studying computer engineering.

Rebecca Nassimbwa

Rebecca Nassimbwa, a graduate student from Uganda, is studying rehabilitation counseling in the College of Education. Mavis Dome, a graduate student from Ghana, is studying public policy in the College of Social Science.

MSU and Africa: partners in education

With 2,500 African alumni and involvement in projects in at least 32 African nations throughout the last 50 years, MSU will provide strong support to The MasterCard Foundation Scholars and all African students, says MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon. As a partner institution of the The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program, MSU will employ a network coordinator who will organize annual conferences for Scholars. In addition, MSU will support the creation of The MasterCard Foundation Scholars and Alumni network, which will connect students across the Program and build a community of next-generation leaders who are committed to service.

MSU’s more than half-century history of engagement in Africa includes 24 formal partnerships with organizations and institutions throughout the continent. In 1960, MSU established an African Studies Center, which now provides instruction in more than a dozen African languages. MSU offers 29 study abroad programs in Africa, more than any other U.S. university.

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