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Nigerian student tops enrolment in US—Report

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By Abraham Adekunle

Open Doors Report on Int’l Education Exchange shows 22.2% increase.

Nigeria is now the leading source of students from Africa and 7th largest contributor worldwide to the United States, according to the Open Doors Report on International Education Exchange. The newly released 2023 report shows a remarkable 22.2 percent increase in Nigerian student enrolment, totalling 17,640 for the 2022/2023 academic year. In the report, Nigeria jumped from 10th place during the 2021/2022 school year and now sends more students to the U.S. than Japan (8th), Brazil (9th), and Saudi Arabia (10th).

According to a statement from the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria, the substantial increase in Nigerian students choosing to study in the United States underscores the U.S. commitment to providing quality education for Nigerian scholars and plays a pivotal role in fostering stronger connections and cultural exchanges between the two nations. Nearly 55 percent of Nigerian students pursue graduate-level studies, reflecting the nation’s commitment to advanced education. Through this route, many Nigerians have had the opportunity to build a career and a good life for themselves.

Data shows the competitiveness of U.S. higher education.

This data was unveiled by the Institute of International Education (IIE) and the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs in the Open Doors 2023 report. It underscores the continued competitiveness of U.S. higher education and marks the beginning of International Education Week. This joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education aims to foster global awareness and attract future leaders worldwide to experience and learn in the United States.

In the West African country, what is known as the “Japa” syndrome is one of the factors responsible for the emigration of Nigerians to Western countries in search of greener pastures. This has also caused brain drain in the country as young, vibrant Nigerians who are meant to enter into the workforce find their way out of the country as soon as they get the chance. The situation in different sectors of the economy, including education and health, is not also helping matters.

More than one million int’l students hosted in the U.S.

Meanwhile, according to the report, the United States hosted more than one million international students during the 2022-23 academic year, marking a rapid 12 percent increase from the previous year — the highest growth rate in over 40 years. International students now constitute six percent of the total U.S. higher education population, contributing nearly $38 billion to the U.S. economy, as reported by the U.S. Department of Commerce. Enrolment of new international students at U.S. colleges and universities for the 2022-23 academic year reached near-record levels, surpassing pre-pandemic figures.

Experiencing a 14 percent year-over-year boost, the figure surged to 298,523, following an impressive 80 percent upswing from the previous year. The growth was observed across all U.S. states and territories, with 48 states reporting an increase in international student numbers. Allan E. Goodman, CEO of IIE, stated that the presence of over one million international students studying in the U.S. indicates a robust recovery, with the figure nearing pre-pandemic levels. “This reinforces that the U.S. remains the destination of choice for international students wishing to study abroad, as it has been for more than a century,” Goodman said. He also mentioned that the report illustrates the resilience of international education, underscoring its role in fostering global innovation, collaboration, and peace for universities and countries alike.

Report is published annually by IIE and partners.

The report is published annually by the IIE in partnership with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. It is the only long-standing, comprehensive information resource on international students and scholars in the United States and on U.S. students studying abroad for academic credit. The 2023 report provides a wealth of information and data on international students studying in the United States in the 2022/23 academic year, U.S. students studying abroad for academic credit in 2021/22, international scholars conducting research in 2022/23, and intensive English students in the 2022 calendar year.

Related Link

IIE Open Doors: Website

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