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28 July 2023
The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program Expands to University of the Western Cape

The Mastercard Foundation and the University of the Western Cape will collaborate to provide 500 talented and service-oriented young scholars from South Africa and other parts of the African continent with fully-funded higher learning and leadership development opportunities over the next seven years.

The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program is expanding to the University of the Western Cape (UWC). Launched in 2012, the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program is an initiative designed to enable highly talented, service-oriented young people, primarily young Africans, to pursue their higher education and grow as transformative leaders. The Program is specifically targeted toward young people whose access to higher education is impeded by economic and social barriers. The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program places particular emphasis on reaching young women, forcibly displaced youth, and young people with disabilities.

“We are happy to welcome the University of the Western Cape to the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program partner network, where they will join a movement of more than 40 institutions working to make higher education more inclusive and accessible, while preparing young people for lives of achievement and service. We are especially excited to see what Mastercard Foundation Scholars at the University of the Western Cape will achieve during their time on campus and beyond as they build on a decade of incredible youth-led impact,” said Pauline Gangla, Head of the East & Southern Africa Partner Network of the Scholars Program.

The program comprises a grant to support a total cohort of 500 Scholars – 250 for undergraduate studies and 250 for master's degree studies – over a 7-year grant cycle.

At present the University is in the process of selecting its 1st cohort of master’s scholars. Calls for applications for the January 2024 intake of the 1st cohort of undergraduate scholars and the 2nd cohort of master’s scholars will be released thereafter.

“The launch of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at the University of the Western Cape marks a landmark for the university, which celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2020.  It provides UWC with a unique opportunity to build on its longstanding commitment to inclusive education. UWC looks forward to welcoming more students from the rest of Africa, including refugees and displaced persons, as well as students with disabilities, all of whom will enrich the diversity of our student body and, in turn, the learning and teaching experience of all our students. Through the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program we look forward to strengthening our role in contributing to the development of the next generation of transformative leaders for the African continent,” said Professor Tyrone Pretorius, UWC Rector and Vice-Chancellor.

To date, the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program has supported the learning and leadership journey of over 45,000 young people, more than half of whom have graduated from the Program.


The Mastercard Foundation is a Canadian Foundation and one of the world’s largest foundations, with a mission to advance education and financial inclusion. It works with visionary organizations to enable young people in Africa and in Indigenous communities in Canada to access dignified and fulfilling work. The Foundation was established in 2006 through the generosity of Mastercard when it became a public company. The Foundation is an independent organization and separate from the company. Its policies, operations and programs are determined by the Foundation’s Board of Directors and leadership.


The University of the Western Cape (UWC) was founded in 1960 and occupies a unique space in the South African higher education landscape. It is a dynamic institution committed to excellence in learning, teaching, research and innovation in a globally competitive environment whilst remaining true to the values and ethos that have shaped its identity as a university rooted in serving the public good.