Since the beginning of the program, a total of over 22,700 scholarships have been awarded, including 16,000 scholarships for the first year of studies.
The Bridge Scholarships Program is a joint undertaking of many partners. It is financed by the Polish-American Freedom Foundation, the National Bank of Poland, the Rural Development Foundation, the Orange Foundation, the BGŻ Foundation and a coalition of some 100 local NGOs. The undertaking is implemented with the organizational assistance of the National Support Centre for Agriculture and in cooperation with the Professor Bronisław Geremek Center as well as the Unit for Social Innovation and Research “Shipyard” Foundation. During seventeen editions of the program, the Partners have disbursed over PLN 111 million, with 65 percent of that amount being granted by the Polish-American Freedom Foundation. Since the beginning of the program, a total of over 22,700 scholarships have been awarded, including 16,000 scholarships for the first year of studies.
Since 2006, under the “Diploma of Dreams” campaign intended to encourage additional local NGOs to become involved in scholarship initiatives, 150 organizations have extended assistance to 4,300 scholarship holders.
The program is a scholarship system whose offer goes far beyond support for the first year of studies. Scholarship holders who do extremely well in their academic pursuits have a chance for assistance in successive years of study – for the second year they may enter the “Top Student” competition. They may also try for corporate scholarships for their third and fourth years, a “Study Abroad” initiative and doctoral scholarships. The program’s offer also includes language scholarships and workshops preparing scholarship holders for entering the job market.
Also available under the program are summer internships in the United States (“the Polish-American Internship Initiative”), organized in cooperation with the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw. In the years 2011-2018, 100 students have worked as interns in 10 companies: Archer Daniels Midland Company, Boeing,
Chevron North America, Citigroup, General Electric Hitachi, MoneyGram, Pittsburgh Glass Works LLC, Raytheon BBN Technologies, Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation and Westinghouse Electric Company. Additionally, thanks to cooperation with Transatlantic Future Leaders Forum, 4 students did their internships at the United States Congress.
One segment of the program offered scholarships addressed to high-performing students of economics from small towns and rural areas, enrolled in non-state institutions and private business schools. Between 2001-2014, nearly 7,000 of these scholarships were awarded.
A survey conducted among scholarship holders revealed that 94 percent of the program alumni believe the scholarship had significantly improved their financial situation when they were students, 90 percent of graduates had grade averages of “good” or better, 70 percent completed their courses without any delays, and only 4 percent dropped out.
Through its Bridge Scholarships Program, the PAFF also lends support to the scholarship initiatives and volunteer activities conducted by the Good Network Foundation. These include the www.mojestypendium.pl portal, Poland’s largest Internet service dedicated to scholarships, as well as the “Good Scholarships” competition promoting the best scholarship programs carried out by local governments, schools of higher education, companies and non-governmental organizations.
The program’s media partners are “Rzeczpospolita” daily as well as “Forum Akademickie” (the Academic Forum) and “Perspektywy” (Perspectives) monthly.
The Foundation has disbursed $23,085,581, including $781,707 for the current edition of the program.