Student news

Record intake for African scholars’ scheme

An initiative that supports outstanding African scholars with few educational opportunities has increased its intake for the second year running.

Some 54 students who are committed to improving the lives of others have joined the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program – an increase for 20 students on the previous year.

A total of 73 Scholars will study a range of undergraduate and postgraduate degrees throughout the next year. Seven of the new entrants will study for online Master’s degrees.

Real change

This year’s group includes students from Ethiopia, The Gambia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Zambia.

Aisha Janki Akinola, from Nigeria, is one of the new undergraduates. She has just started studying Architecture.

Getting this scholarship means that I am the first of my ten siblings to study at a university outside of Nigeria. I’m looking forward to improving my leadership skills, learning new things and, above all, developing my career path so I can make a real change in the African continent.

Aisha Janki Akinola

Hundreds benefit

The $27 million scholarship program will benefit some 200 African students over seven years. Full scholarships will be offered to 80 undergraduate and 120 postgraduate students.

Manisha Umrit, from Mauritius, was part of the 2017/18 intake of Mastercard Foundation scholars. She has just begun the second year of her Accounting and Finance degree.

I quickly fell in love with everything Edinburgh had to offer. We are benefiting from a world class education and surrounded by a dedicated network of people who are always there to support and lend a helping hand. I hope to use the knowledge and experience acquired during my time here to contribute to the development of my country and help combat financial exclusion and illiteracy.

Manisha Umrit

Students receive comprehensive support to assist in removing any barriers to study.

They benefit from extra-curricular course elements, including summer schools and internships in the UK and their home regions.

Next generation

Africa is experiencing huge youth population boom as economic and employment growth stagnates. The University hopes to educate a new generation of African leaders who will create opportunities for others.

So far, the wider Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program has committed more than $700 million to support the education and leadership development of more than 30,000 young people. Edinburgh is the first university in Europe to collaborate with the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program.

The Program will soon start recruiting for its fourth year. Applications open in October and close at the end of November.

African links

The University of Edinburg is committed to expanding access for students from around the world. Edinburgh was home to more than 850 students from 34 African countries last year.

The University’s largest cohorts in 2017/18 included 163 students from South Africa, 113 from Nigeria and 95 from Kenya.

It is engaged in multi-disciplinary research linked to Africa through its four Global Academies – Development, Health, Justice, and Environment and Society.

Edinburgh’s Centre of African Studies is a world leader of research on Africa and the largest research hub of its kind in Europe.

We are delighted and proud to see the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program going from strength to strength. Sixteen of our scholars have graduated from the programme to date and this is our biggest year yet.

Professor James SmithThe University of Edinburgh’s Vice-Principal International

Related links

Apply to the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program

Centre of African Studies