Every year thousands of Nigerian students travel abroad to study for their undergraduate or postgraduate degree. On the average, many foreign universities boast of a relatively higher standard of education when compared to what is available in Nigeria. As a result, many Nigerian students would rather pursue and fulfill their higher education ambition abroad in universities, which boast of some of the best learning and research facilities in the world.
However, despite their impressive academic achievements and performance, many Nigerian students find that they cannot pursue their dreams of studying abroad because of the relatively high cost of education in foreign countries.In this article, we shall be examining a number of scholarship options available for Nigerian students willing to study abroad.
Scholarship Criteria and Eligibility
There are several scholarship options for Nigerian students willing to study abroad. Most scholarships explicitly specify the category of persons that qualify for sponsorship. The criteria may include factors like the course/program of study, academic achievements and qualifications of the student, country of origin, and financial capacity of the student.To qualify for most scholarship programs, prospective beneficiaries may be required to sit for qualifying exams or provide records of academic achievements.
Sponsors of Scholarships
Sponsors of educational scholarships include governments(foreign and local), educational institutions (colleges and universities) individuals (philanthropists) and groups, religious bodies, corporate bodies and non-governmental organizations.
There are quite a handful of study abroad scholarships for Nigerian students which are sponsored by wealthy private individuals, corporate and not-for-profit organizations. Some of those privately sponsored scholarships include the study abroad scholarships sponsored by companies like Total, Shell, and other international oil majors operating in Nigeria.
The federal government of Nigeria through the Ministry of Education has an existing Bilateral Educational Agreement (BEA) program with the governments of Russia, Serbia, Hungary, Turkey, Romania, Ukraine, Macedonia, Turkey, Cuba, China, Japan, South Korea, Morocco, Algeria and Egypt. The partnership provides a study scholarship for Nigerian students to study for undergraduate and postgraduate degrees.
Awardees of the scholarship enjoy free tuition and accommodation for the duration of their studies from the host countries while the Nigerian government provides the students with financial support worth up to $4,000 every year.
However, since most of the BEA members are non-English speaking countries, successful applicants are required to undertake a mandatory one-year class in the official language of communication in the country of study.
A number of federal government agencies like the NNDC, TETfund and the PTDF dedicated to training skilled manpower and building human capacity also have special education intervention programs through which they sponsor Nigerian students to study abroad.
In addition, some state governments in educationally disadvantaged regions of the country provide scholarships to study abroad for citizens of their state.
University Scholarships Available for Students Studying in Europe
There is an estimated 10 billion USD worth of student loan or grants available to students studying Europe. Unfortunately, students from non-EU countries are not eligible for these loans. Nevertheless, Nigerian students can avail themselves of a number of university study scholarships that are open to non-EU students. Below are some of the best study scholarships available in Europe.
Several universities in the UK offer scholarships and grants to international students. For instance, the prestigious King’s College London offers scholarships worth about £24,000 to postgraduate law students. To qualify, students must demonstrate a need for financial assistance and have at least a cumulative GP of 3.5 or its equivalent in their Bachelor’s degree program.
The Leeds School of Geography which offers an International Excellence Scholarship worth £5,000 for its Master’s degree program, while Bournemouth University offers a sports scholarship program for gifted athletes and sports persons.
In addition, three faculties of the University of Strathclyde, Scotland’s third largest university offers undergraduate and postgraduate scholarships worth between £2000 to £3000 to international students.
The department of coastal system of the University of Groningen offers scholarship to PhD students. The scholarship includes other incentives like a vacation allowance, end of year bonus and flexible work conditions.
Leuven University of Belgium in partnership with two other European universities currently offers a Master’s scholarship to students willing to pursue a Master’s in Food Science, Technology and Business (BiFTEC). The full scholarship amounts to about £47,000 for non-EEA citizens and it covers tuition, housing, insurance and traveling costs for the duration of the program.
The IESEG School of Management, an elite University of Business,in France, offers Master’s scholarship in Finance and Business to international students with a first degree in any of Accounting, Economics or Business.
Other universities in Europe which offer scholarships include Cyprus University of West Scotland,the German Academic Exchange Service DAAD,the University of Lausanne Master’s scholarship program in Switzerland, Edge Hill University in the UK, and the Bocconi University Italy which waives tuition for first year students.
University Scholarships Available for Students Studying in The US and Canada
Many universities in the US and Canada provide scholarship opportunities for international students. For instance, every year, the Tennessee Technical University reserves no less than 600 scholarship places for deserving students who perform well in their academics or community service. International and local students are eligible for these study scholarships.
The University of Massachusetts also offers scholarships worth up to $4,000 to international students studying at the university who have a GPA of 3.5 or higher.
Other US universities which offer scholarships to international students include the Dominican University of California (International Merit Scholarship Program), Clarkson University, Elim Bible Institute and College and the University of Miami etc.
Douglas College Canada, one of the largest public colleges in Canada by student population offers undergraduate scholarship worth about $2500 to sophomore year international students from Africa, Europe and the Middle East who performed well in their first year in school. Other Universities in Canada which offer scholarships include York University and the University of Toronto.
University Scholarships Available for Students Studying in Asia and the Middle East
China’s Shaanxi Normal University offers both undergraduate and postgraduate (Master’s and PhD) scholarships in any of the courses offered by the university to international students as part of its San Qin International Student Program. Shandong University also offers fully paid tuition scholarships for non-Chinese students.
Peking University’sGuanghua School of Management also offers an MBA scholarship to international students worth 188,000 RMB in tuition fees.
Korea’s Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology (DGIST) offers full postgraduate scholarships Master’s and PhD) to international students to study for degrees in Accounting, Marketing and Management. Several study scholarships are also available in other Asian countries like Japan,Malaysia and Saudi Arabia.
As we have seen, there are numerous scholarship opportunities for intelligent, gifted but otherwise indigent Nigerian students looking to study abroad. Depending on the chosen course of study and the class of the degree (undergraduate or postgraduate), prospective students can choose from a variety of different scholarship opportunities in various countries. However, prospective students are advised to weigh the merits and demerits of their choice before applying for a particular kind of scholarship.