Mastercard, USIU-Africa partner to expand access to higher education

Monday, August 17th, 2020 12:00 |
Norman Mushiga, a beneficiary of the programme. Photo/PD/Wahinya Henry

Students facing financial, health and social challenges at the Nairobi based United States International University (USIU-Africa) are set to receive support from a leading private foundation.

The MasterCard Foundation sealed a deal with the university to support 1,000 high-performing students to receive quality education and leadership development over the next 10 years.

The deal provides scholarships for high potential students facing financial, gender, displacement, or disability constraints under the MasterCard foundation scholars programme.

At least 70 per cent female students who benefit from the partnership while 25 per cent will be displaced or refugee youth, and at least 10 per cent will be young people living with disabilities.

With this $63.2 million (Sh6.3 billion) partnership, USIU-Africa joins the MasterCard Foundation’s expanding global network of partners committed to developing a generation of African leaders who will use their knowledge and skills to lead change in their communities and contribute to meaningful transformation across the continent.

 The programme is an initiative to develop Africa’s next generation of leaders by giving students, whose talent and promise exceed their financial resources, an opportunity to complete their education. 

The Scholars Programme, which is expected to kick off in the 2020/21 Academic Year is a growing commitment and  to date, it has committed over $1 billion (Sh100 billion) to supporting the education and leadership development of more than 37,000 young people.

Speaking after the signing of the partnership, USIU-Africa’s Vice Chancellor, Prof Paul Zeleza noted that the partnership was a milestone in the University’s history.

“By embracing the Scholars Programme, we will increase the international student population from 15 to 20 per cent, which is in line with the university’s strategy of internationalisation,” he said. 

Also, the programme will enhance socioeconomic diversity of the student population as it will increase the number of students with disability, refugees, young women and displaced youth to address barriers to higher education for these marginalised populations,” he said.

MasterCard Foundation’s chief program officer Peter Materu attributed the university’s excellent academic standing and demonstrated commitment to equity and inclusion.

“Our partnership with USIU-Africa builds on this historic work, which is already serving thousands of young leaders on the continent,” he said.

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