Over 1,000 students receive scholarships under the Bridge Scholarships Program this academic year, including over 600 students at the 1st year of academic courses, as the Educational Enterprise Foundation, the Program Manager, informs. Over 19 years of the program already 17,000 young people got financial support for their university studies.
“Bridge Scholarships” is an extensive national program which offers scholarships for the 1st and the following years of university studies to apt young people from low-income families living in small towns and villages. The program started by Polish-American Freedom Foundation in 2002 is now one of the biggest non-governmental scholarship initiatives in Poland.
“Bridge Scholarships offer a huge support to young and ambitious people who want to develop themselves and continue their education at universities in Poland. It is not only financial support but also substantive, social and training one,” Martyna Kieliszek, a scholarship holder, a student of Warsaw University of Technology says. ‘Thanks to scholarship programs I became an independent person, improved my English, studied abroad and expanded my horizons. Training sessions and workshops for bridge scholarship holders introduced me into the job market and helped me to become a part of it. Thanks to ‘Bridge Scholarships’ I got motivation to set and achieve my goals, work on self-improvement and trust in my abilities,’ the scholarship holder says.
Bridge scholarships are awarded to ambitious and apt this-year’s secondary school leavers from villages and small towns, who did well at school, come from low-income families, are starting a full-time course at a public university. and meet at least one of the following four conditions: come from a family of a former state-owned farm worker; are finalists of a subject Olympiad at the secondary school level; come from a big family or a foster family or a state children’s home; or are recommended by a local NGO.
A bridge scholarship for the 1st year course is PLN 5,000 paid in 10 monthly installments of PLN 500 each. Those scholarship holders who have completed their first year and done well at their course may apply for scholarships for the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th year of their studying, foreign language scholarships, scholarships for studying abroad, and Ph.D. courses. The program participants can also take part in workshops, training sessions and conferences developing their soft skills and skills needed to follow their future professional careers.
“Our partners are a group of socially responsible institutions devoted to the idea of supporting young, able people. The coalition of partners comprises also small local NGOs that participate in financing scholarships for students coming from their regions,” President of the Educational Enterprise Foundation Dr. Zofia Sapijaszka says. “Thanks to our partners we were able to award over 1,000 scholarships for students of all years of university courses in 2020/21 academic year, including over 600 for students of the 1st year courses. Our scholarship holders are studying at universities all over Poland, at various fields of study.”
The Bridge Scholarships Program is one of the biggest non-governmental scholarship initiatives in Poland. To date, under this program a total of over 25,000 various scholarships have been awarded, including over 17,000 for the first year of university course. The Strategic Partners in the Program are Polish-American Freedom Foundation and the National Bank of Poland. The Main Partners are: Rural Development Foundation, and BNP Paribas Foundation; and the Partner is the coalition of almost 90 local NGOs. For nineteen rounds of the program the Partners have disbursed a total of over PLN 123 million.
The program is implemented in cooperation with the National Center of Support for Agriculture, Professor Bronisław Geremek’s Center, as well as the “Shipyard” Foundation.
The Program is managed by the Educational Enterprise Foundation.