Scholarships For Nigerian Students To Study AbroadDr Shafiq
Higher study abroad can be a life-changing event for Nigerian students, and the right scholarship will work as a building block to this unique experience. Many Nigerian students cannot go abroad because of the cost of higher study, but a scholarship can make it an affordable option. Let’s dive deeper and learn more about scholarships for Nigerian students to study abroad.
Overview of the Nigerian Education System
With its 213.4 million population, Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country, and its literacy rate reached 77.6% in 2021. Nigeria’s education system comprises three levels: compulsory primary education for 9 years, senior secondary education for 3 years, and tertiary education for 4 to 6 years.
However, the education system in Nigeria faces numerous challenges, making it difficult for students to pursue higher education. Here are some challenges Nigerian students face in higher education:
- Social and Economic Factors: A lot of social and economic factors make it difficult for Nigerian students to pursue higher studies. Factors such as poverty, family responsibilities, and discrimination make higher studies unattainable for them.
- Corruption: Nigerian higher education system faces a high degree of corruption, which affects students in various ways. Because of the corruption, many students are denied admission to public universities, required to pay high tuition fees, or even forced to bribe to get passed.
- Lack of Security: Many parts of Nigeria face severe security challenges, making it difficult for students to attend classes. There are life-threatening security concerns due to kidnapping, robbery, and violence. As a result, many students are reluctant to attend universities or colleges.
Apart from the challenges Nigerian students face, the local education system also has many limitations. These include:
- Underfunding: Underfunding is the most pressing challenge for the higher education system in Nigeria. The government cannot provide enough funding to the education sector, resulting in poor infrastructure, inadequate teaching materials, and student learning opportunities. As a result, most public universities are deteriorating, and the number of teachers and class halls simply does not match the demand.
- Inadequate Quality Teacher: The Nigerian government does not provide adequate training to teachers at the university level. As a result, the quality of teachers has not increased. On top of that, teachers are not provided with good salaries and other benefits. Thus, there’s a shortage of quality teachers in Nigeria’s higher study level.
- Poor Infrastructure: Most public universities and colleges in Nigeria have poor physical conditions. Dilapidated buildings, fewer classrooms, and a shortage of other benefits make it difficult for students to study and learn in a safe and comfortable environment.
Because of all these reasons, many Nigerian students go abroad every year for higher studies. A university degree abroad will provide them with high-quality education, opportunity to choose their favorite course, excellent career prospect, and scope for personal development.
Types of Scholarships Available for Nigerian Students
Several types of scholarships are available for Nigerian students studying abroad. They are given out based on the merit and needs of the students. Here are some common types of scholarships available for Nigerian students abroad.
There are two types of government available scholarships to study abroad for Nigerian students. They are either funded by the Nigerian or foreign governments through bilateral agreements.
- Bilateral Agreements between Nigeria and Foreign Governments: The Nigerian government has bilateral agreements with foreign governments to offer scholarships for students studying abroad. The host country funds these scholarships to help Nigerian students cover their tuition fees and living expenses. Some of the most popular scholarships are The Commonwealth Scholarships and Fellowship Plan and BEA with several countries.
- Scholarship programs by Nigerian government agencies: Nigerian government also funds various scholarship schemes through various agencies. The purpose of these scholarships is to fund higher education for Nigerian students. Some popular government scholarships include The Federal Scholarship Board Scholarship, The Petroleum Technology Development Fund Scholarship, and The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Scholarship.
Apart from scholarships from government agencies and bilateral agreements, many non-governmental organizations and corporations provide scholarships to Nigerian students. Here are the types of non-governmental scholarships available for Nigerian students studying abroad.
- International organizations offering scholarships: Many international organizations provide scholarships for Nigerian students while studying abroad. Students have to apply for these scholarships in their host countries. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Scholarships, Mandela Washington Fellowship for Yung African Leaders, etc., are very popular among Nigerian students.
- Private foundations and corporate-sponsored scholarships: Corporation and private foundations provide attractive scholarships to Nigerian students to support their higher studies abroad. Among the most popular scholarships for Nigerian students are The Ford Foundation Scholarship and The MasterCard Foundation Scholarship.
- Scholarships from universities and colleges abroad: Most universities and colleges from around the world offer scholarships to international students. They are awarded based on academic excellence, leadership skills, and financial needs. Many universities and colleges have specific scholarship schemes for Nigerian students.
Popular Study Destinations For Nigerian Students
The United States of America is one of the most popular destinations for Nigerian students because of its highly reputed universities, excellent career prospect, and diverse society. Around 14,438 Nigerian students are currently studying in the USA.
Scholarships Opportunities and Programs
Plenty of scholarship opportunities for Nigerian students to study abroad are available in the USA. They can apply for international student scholarships and those solely available for Nigerian or African students. Fulbright Foreign Student Program, the Gates Cambridge Scholarships, and the Schwarzman Scholarship programs are some of the most popular scholarship options for Nigerian students.
Application Process and Requirements
Different universities or colleges in the USA have different requirements. Some standard requirements include having a high school diploma for an undergraduate degree, an undergraduate certificate for a postgraduate degree, a valid passport, an offer letter from a university, bank statements, letters of recommendation, personal statements, etc.
Nigerian students can apply to US universities through the university website. Students have to fill out the application form, submit supporting documents, and pay application fees to complete the process. All the information and documents must be correct and updated.
Benefits of Studying in the United States
Here are the benefits of studying in the United States:
- The USA has a number of the best universities in the world.
- US universities allow students to learn from world-renowned professors and faculty members.
- Excellent career opportunities for students.
- Part-time work opportunities
- A diverse society.
According to Daily Mail, around 65,900 Nigerian students are currently studying in the UK, making Nigeria the third largest student group in the United Kingdom.
Scholarships Available for Nigerian Students
UK government and universities offer scholarships to Nigerian students who want to study in the United Kingdom. These scholarships help students cover their tuition fees and living expenses. Some of these scholarships are very prestigious and awarded based on merit. Others are need-based scholarships. For example, Chevening Scholarship, the Marshall Scholarship, and the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan.
Application Procedures and Eligibility Criteria
Application procedures in UK universities and colleges are a straightforward process. Nigerian students have to apply through the university website. Students must fill out and submit an application form and provide supporting documents.
Different UK universities have different eligibility criteria. The most common ones include having all the academic transcripts, letters of recommendation, personal statements, bank statements, and a valid passport.
Advantages of Studying in the United Kingdom
- Teaching standard in the UK is excellent and respected worldwide.
- The United Kingdom has a multicultural environment in the society.
- Students have the opportunity to work part-time and support their living.
- UK universities have strong links with the industries.
Canada is now another great higher-study destination for Nigerian students. There are about 13,745 currently studying in Canadian universities.
Scholarship Options for Nigerian Students
Canada offers many scholarships for Nigerian students studying in a university or college in Canada. Among the most popular scholarship are the Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation scholarships, Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships, and the Schulich Leader Scholarships.
Application Guidelines and Selection Process
Students must fill out an application form to apply to a Canadian University. This form is available at the university’s address. Students must fill out the application form and submit it with all the necessary documents.
Like others, the universities in Canada have a set of requirements for admission. While different universities have different requirements, the most common ones include having all the academic transcripts, letters of recommendation, statements of purpose, and a valid passport.
Advantages of Studying in Canada
- Universities in Canada are well-recognized all over the world.
- The education system in Canada and the qualification is accepted worldwide.
- Canada is a multicultural and safe country with welcoming people.
- Excellent career prospect after completing higher studies.
Australia is also a great higher-study destination for Nigerian students who want to study abroad. The number of Nigerian students is still small, but the country has everything a Nigerian student wants.
Scholarship Options for Nigerian Students
Australia offers quite a few scholarship options for Nigerian students. Some of the most prestigious Australian scholarships for Nigerian students include the Endeavour Scholarships, the Australian Government Awards, and the New Colombo Plan Scholarships.
Application Guidelines and Selection Process
Applying to an Australian university seems a daunting task. But the process is fairly straightforward. Students have to fill out an application form from the university’s website. They must also submit all the required supporting documents with the application form.
Before applying to a university, Nigerian students must ensure they are eligible for it. Universities in Australia generally ask for documents like academic transcripts, English language proficiency proof, statements of purpose, letters of recommendation, and income statements.
Advantages of Studying in Australia
- Australia has many world-renowned universities
- It has a top-notch education system.
- The cost of studying and living in Australia is less than in many Western countries.
- Australia is a safe and multicultural country.
- Students have excellent career prospects after completing their studies.
Application Process and Tips for Nigerian Students
In order to apply to a university or college abroad, there are some processes and steps every Nigerian student must follow. These steps and tips will help students choose the right university.
- Researching available scholarships: Since scholarships are crucial for many Nigerian students, they must look into the available scholarship options. Finally, they should choose a university that offers maximum scholarship. Several websites show scholarship information from various universities.
- Meeting eligibility criteria and requirements: Students must fulfill all the criteria before applying for a scholarship. This can include having an excellent academic track record, submitting letters of recommendation, providing a well-written statement of purpose, etc. Contact the scholarship provider if you are not sure about the eligibility criteria.
- Preparing strong application materials: The application materials are the chance for students to impress the scholarship provider. So, it should be well-written and error-free. Students must highlight their academic excellence, leadership skills, and extracurricular activities.
- Navigating the application timeline: Students must be careful about the application timeline. They must submit the application form within the deadline.
- Seeking guidance and support from mentors: Students should seek guidance and support from mentors in any part of the application process where they do not understand how to proceed. Many organizations provide guidance and mentorship.
Additional Resources and Support for Nigerian Students
Many agencies and online resources provide necessary support and resources to Nigerian students while applying for a scholarship abroad. These include:
- Education agencies and counselors: Many education agencies and counselors are available to help Nigerian students navigate the complex application process. For example, British Council, EducationUSA, WES, etc.
- Online scholarship databases and platforms: Nigerian students can use many websites and online databases to search for available scholarships. These websites provide all the necessary information like eligibility criteria, subjects, country, etc.
- Networking opportunities and student associations: Networking with other scholarship-awardee students and professionals can be another good way to learn about scholarships. They can help students with information and guide them through the entire process.
There are plenty of scholarships for Nigerian students to study abroad. These scholarships can make higher study abroad possible for Nigerian students by covering their tuition fees and living expenses. So, make sure to use all the resources and take help from professional agencies if needed to get the right scholarship and kickstart your career.