Nigeria currently has 10,674 nationals in various universities across the U.S for the 2015/16 academic session, according to the 2016 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange.
Nigerian students therefore accounted for 1.02 per cent of the estimated 1.044 million international students in U.S. colleges and universities.
With that figure, the highest of Nigerians studying in the United States since 1986-87, the country ranked 14th globally as a leading source of U.S. international students.
The new Open Doors data report is part of activities to celebrate the International Education Week, a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education to prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from other countries to study, learn, and exchange experiences in the United States.
A breakdown of the figure shows that 50.8 per cent of them are studying at the undergraduate level, while 35.6 are in the U.S for postgraduate programmes. Another 11.5 per cent are undertaking Optional Practical Training; and the remaining two percent, non-degree programmes or short-term studies. “Interestingly, the top five institutions that have received the most Nigerian students are all located in the state of Texas: Houston Community College, the University of Houston, the University of North Texas, Texas Southern University, and the University of Texas at Arlington,” according to a statement by the U.S. Consulate.
Other African countries with over 1,000 students in the U.S. during this period include Ghana, 3,049; Kenya, 3,019; and South Africa, 1,813.
The number of international students in U.S. colleges and universities surpassed one million for the first time during the 2015-2016 academic year – an increase of seven percent from the previous year to the new high.
The Open Doors report is published annually by the Institute of International Education (IIE) in partnership with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the statement added.
The strong growth in the number of international students, the statement added, “confirms that the United States remains the destination of choice in international higher education. In 2015-16, there were nearly 69,000 more international students in U.S. higher education compared to the previous year.
The United States hosts more of the world’s 4.5 million globally mobile college and university students than any other country in the world, more than double the number hosted by the United Kingdom, the second leading host country.
“The Open Doors findings show that international students value the quality, diversity, and strong reputation of U.S. institutions and recognize that these institutions will give them opportunities that can help them not only in their education but also in their careers,” said IIE President Allan Goodman.
“International education helps people develop the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in today’s global economy, and creates networks across borders that improve international understanding and strengthen the national security of the United States,” said Evan Ryan, Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.
Meanwhile, as part of the celebration, EducationUSA Nigeria will host an annual virtual college fair that targets high school and graduate students from all over the country, American officers will visit high schools to talk about their U.S. and international study experience, and EducationUSA advisers will visit several schools within Lagos and Abuja.