Since the beginning of the program, a total of nearly 25,000 scholarships have been awarded, including over 17,000 scholarships for the first year of studies.
From its beginnings, the Bridge Scholarships Program has been a joint undertaking of many partners. At present it is financed by Polish-American Freedom Foundation, the National Bank of Poland, Rural Development Foundation, and the BNP Paribas Foundation. Its partner is also a coalition of almost 90 local NGOs. The initiative is implemented with the organizational assistance of the National Support Centre for Agriculture (former Agricultural Property Agency) and in cooperation with the Professor Bronisław Geremek Center as well as the Shipyard Foundation. For implementation of the program, the Partners have so far disbursed over PLN 123 million; a total of almost 25,000 scholarships have been awarded, including over 17,000 scholarships for the first year of studies.
Under the Diploma of Dreams campaign intended to encourage additional local NGOs to involve in scholarship initiatives, since 2006 as many as 153 such organizations have extended assistance to over 6,500 scholarship holders.
Over the years, the program has transformed into a more and more extensive scholarship system whose offer goes far beyond support for the first year of studies. Today the scholarship holders who do 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 apply for corporate scholarships for their third and fourth years, or a scholarship under the Study Abroad initiative, and doctoral scholarships. The program’s offer includes also language scholarships, workshops preparing scholarship holders for entering the job market or challenges related to digitalization, as well as Academic Start conferences.
Moreover, the program offers summer internships in the United States organized in cooperation with the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw (Polish-American Internship Initiative). In the years 2011-2020, 111 students worked as interns in thirteen companies:
Archer Daniels Midland Company, Boeing, Chevron North America, Citigroup, GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy, MoneyGram, Pittsburgh Glass Works LLC, Raytheon BBN Technologies, Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, Westinghouse Electric Company, Discovery Inc., Planting Arboretum Fields, Broadmoor Resort. Additionally, thanks to cooperation with Transatlantic Future Leaders Forum, 46 students did their internships at the United States Congress.
In the past, one of the program segments offered scholarships addressed to the best performing students coming from villages and small towns who studied economics in non-state universities and private business schools. Between 2001-2014, nearly 7,000 of them were awarded scholarships.
As a survey conducted among scholarship holders shows, 98 percent of the program alumni believe the scholarship significantly improved their financial situation when they were studying; 90 percent of scholarship holders performed well or very well at universities; 70 percent of them completed their diplomas on time; and only 4 percent dropped out.
Through its Bridge Scholarships Program, PAFF also lends support to the scholarship initiatives and volunteer activities carried out by Good Network Foundation, including the Moje Stypendium portal, Poland’s largest Internet service dedicated to scholarships.
The program’s media partners are Rzeczpospolita daily, Forum Akademickie (the Academic Forum), Perspektywy (Perspectives) monthly and the dlaStudenta.pl portal.
The Foundation has disbursed $26,543,023, including $474,651 for the current edition of the program.