The MasterCard Foundation Scholars specifically targets applicants who are academically talented but economically disadvantaged. The Scholars Program is open to all applicants from Sub-Saharan Africa and is open only to new applicants who have not yet commenced a diploma or degree programme.

The Scholars Program scholarship is not open to African refugees living outside Africa due to the desire for Scholars to return and give back to their home communities. Applicants undertaking their graduate, postgraduate or doctoral study are not eligible for this Scholars Program.