The United States Embassy in Abuja says 7,318 Nigerian students are studying in more than 700 universities and colleges in that country.
Mrs Jennifer Onyeukwu, Head, EducationUSA Advising Centre (EAC), said this in Abuja on Friday during the pre-departure ceremony for those leaving for studies in the U.S.
Onyeukwu said no fewer than 150 students were preparing to leave for studies in the U.S by August.
She added that 80 per cent of them were given full or partial scholarships by the schools.
“The total, right now, of Nigerian students studying in the U.S is 7,318 at undergraduate and graduate programmes.
“This fall, which is Aug. 2014, we are sending more than a hundred students to study in the U.S., over 80 per cent had some form of scholarship or financial aid from schools in the U.S.”
The official also said there were 22 scholarships under U.S Achievers’ Programme, “which recognises academically stellar students who come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.
“We give them the opportunity to compete for the few slots available.
“With the USAP programme, we help the students identify U.S colleges and universities that would offer them admission with full funding.
“Fifteen of them have got admission with full funding”, she said.
Onyeukwu added that six students out of those given full scholarship funds had scholarships from the MasterCard Foundation.
“MasterCard Scholarship is a separate kind of scholarship that is given by the MasterCard Foundation in partnership with U.S colleges and some of the universities around the world.
“The six students under the MasterCard Scholarship received 311,140 dollars annually for four years.”
She said the foundation had earmarked 500 million dollars for “economically disadvantaged young people” in sub-Sahara Africa desiring to further their studies.
She said the scholarship was for a 10-year period and targeted students with academic talent, commitment to giving back and leadership potentials.
Onyeukwu also said the EAC, the education advisory arm of the embassy, sought to use its platforms to appropriately advice Nigerian students who desired to study in the U.S.
She added that the embassy and its consulate in Lagos organised free orientation sessions in their communities and outreaches in schools and universities in the country to sensitise students on available study opportunities.
A few students who were granted full scholarships to the U.S spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
Hannatu Sadiq, who participated in the USAP, was one of the beneficiaries of the MasterCard Scholarship.
“The ECA officials came to our school n 2010 and I picked the courage from there to work hard and give them what they required and I got into USAP in 2013.
“I’m on MasterCard Scholarship to Michigan State University to study Chemical Engineering and I’m grateful for this opportunity because now my parents don’t have to pay anything for my tertiary education.”
Also, Moses Onyeabor, another MasterCard Scholarship beneficiary going to study biochemistry, expressed his gratitude in an interview with NAN.
“I got to know about the USAP while I was in the School for the Gifted and I decided to give it a try.
“I applied to seven schools and finally got admission into three universities but Arizona State University gave me a MasterCard Scholarship which covers everything including a living stipend.”
NAN gathered that Nigeria is the largest sender of students to the U.S from sub-Sahara Africa and students in 2013 received 2.9 million dollars’ worth of scholarship funds from top notch institutions. (NAN)