The 2016 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange (IEE) reveals there were 10,674 Nigerians studying in the US during the 2015-16 academic year, the highest in 30 years.
This makes Nigeria the leading source of African students and ranked 14th worldwide as a source of international students in the United States.
Students from Nigeria study primarily at the undergraduate level: 50.8% undergraduate; 35.6% graduate; 11.5 % Optional Practical Training; and 2% non-degree programs 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.
Other African countries with over 1,000 students in the US during this period include Ghana with 3,049, Kenya with 3,019, and South Africa with 1,813.
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 Open Doors report also indicates that the number of international students at US 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 a new high of nearly 1,044,000 students.
This strong growth 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 US 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,” Allan Goodman, IIE president said.
The release of the new Open Doors data marks the celebration of International Education Week, a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the US 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.
“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,” Evan Ryan, assistant secretary of state for educational and cultural affairs at the US Department of State, said.
As part of the International Education Week 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 US and international study experience, and EducationUSA advisers will visit several schools within Lagos and Abuja.
Nigerians wishing to pursue studies at any level in the United States can visit the EducationUSA Advising Center at the US Embassy in Abuja.