The meeting was attended by representatives of the Partners in the Program coalition and this-year’s scholarship holders.
The Bridge Scholarships Program is an extensive scholarship system offering financial support to apt young people coming from low-income families and living in villages and small towns from all over Poland for their 1st and subsequent years of university studies. The Program was initiated by the Polish-American Freedom Foundation in 2002. Today it is one of the biggest non-governmental scholarship initiatives in Poland.
“Speaking on behalf of seventeen thousand scholarship holders, and in my own name, I would like to thank you for the idea to create the Bridge Scholarships Program. Our great thank you words go to a group of firms and institutions that are the Partners in the Program, support it financially and without which the program couldn’t exist. The support we receive is complex – it’s not only the monthly-paid scholarship without which many of us wouldn’t be able to pay accommodation rent or buy textbooks, but it is also the feeling that we are important, have a potential and should make good of it. This support is a stimuli to follow our plans and ambitions. The program is a fantastic confirmation of the thesis that good can be multiplied by division,” Ewelina Piech-Możejko, the Program alumnus said during the celebration.
The bridge scholarships are awarded to ambitious and apt high school leavers who performed well at school, start their full-time studies at the public universities, and meet one of the following four criteria: come from the family of former collective farm worker; or are finalists of one of the high school Olympiads; or come from a large family, a foster family or a children’s home; or have recommendation of a local NGO. The Bridge Scholarship for the 1st year of study amounts to PLN 5,000 and is paid in 10 monthly installments of PLN 500 each. Those scholarship holders who perform well can get scholarships for the 2nd, 3rd and 4th year of studies, as well as scholarships for learning a foreign language, studying at a university abroad, studying at PhD courses, or doing internships.
The opening lecture at the ceremony was given by Dr. Katarzyna Śledziewska, DELab UW Managing Director, who spoke about competences for the future in digital transformation era and how important new technologies are in modern education ecosystem.
Dr. Zofia Sapijaszka, the President of the Educational Enterprise Foundation which manages the Bridge Scholarships Program wished students success and conveyed a message regarding social activity “I wish all scholarship holders courage in setting bold goals and determination in reaching them. Use opportunities and chances offered, follow your dreams, build social capital. Reaching for your success don’t forget the world around you, the world that expects you to engage your knowledge, skills, experience, eagerness to change it, to make it a better place,” Zofia Sapijaszka said.
The Bridge Scholarships Program is one of the biggest non-governmental scholarship initiatives in Poland. To date, a total of almost 24,000 various scholarships have been awarded for the first and the following years of studies, including almost 17,000 for the first year of university course.
The Strategic Partners in the Program are: the Polish-American Freedom Foundation and the National Bank of Poland, the Main Partners are: the Rural Development Foundation, and the BGŻ BNP Paribas Foundation, and the Partners are: Cotton House and a coalition of some 90 local NGOs. For eighteen rounds of the program the Partners have disbursed PLN 117 million.
The Program is managed by the Educational Enterprise Foundation.
The Program is implemented with the organizational assistance of the National Center of Support for Agriculture, Professor Bronisław Geremek’s Center, as well as the Unit for Social Innovation and Research “Shipyard”.
The media patrons of the program are: Rzeczpospolita daily, Forum Akademickie and Perspektywy.