With the recent granting of gradual autonomy to federal universities and President Tinubu’s signing of the Student Loan Act, the race to gain admission into an affordable university that provides quality education is a never-ending challenge in the country. As of June 2023, when the student scholarship scheme was signed into law, the status of some universities has started changing based on affordability. This has impacted the view of aspiring undergraduates on pursuing higher education in Nigeria. Higher education in Nigeria is seen as something that everyone regardless of economic status or background can acquire. And this is evident in the more than one million UTME candidates every year.
Besides that, there are other aspiring candidates enrolled in A-level programs every year for the sake of admissions. However, one university that tops the list of affordable schools is the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB). Do not let the name fool you: it is a federal university of technology located in Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria. The school was established as a federal school on January 1, 1988. With 30 undergraduate programs and 31 postgraduate programs, estimated school fees for undergraduate range from N13,000 to N36,000, with engineering and veterinary medicine students paying an additional sum of N10,000.
FUTA and Great Ife follows closely behind FUNAAB.
Federal School of Technology, Akure (FUTA) is a federal school of technology established in 1981 and located in Akure, Ondo State of Nigeria. The school is a technology-based school with great standards and has about 50 departments. In other words, the school is focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), but other programs are also available in the school. FUTA’s estimated school fees range from N13,200 to N24,000, aside from other fees such as acceptance fees and the cost of a FUTA-branded laptop, which is N35,000.
Next on the list is Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU). It is a federal university established in 1962 as the University of Ife and located in Ile-Ife, Osun State, Nigeria. It was renamed after the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo on May 12, 1987. It is traditionally referred to as “Great Ife” and unique in its own rights. With two colleges, 13 faculties and more than 100 departments, the estimated school fees for undergraduates range from N19,000 to N70,000, with medical students paying a higher amount.
Awka, Lagos, Jos, and Zaria feature affordable institutions.
After OAU comes Nnamdi Azikiwe University in Awka, Anambra State. Once part of Anambra State University of Technology (ASUTECH), it underwent several mergers with the state university’s Nnewi campus before becoming a federal university in 1992. Its undergraduate fees are estimated at between N25,000 and N50,000, and N100,000 for freshmen. University of Lagos, colloquially known as “the University of First Choice,” is a federal university established in 1962 and located in Akoka, Yaba, Lagos. With over 100 departments, 120+ postgraduate programs and more than 50,000 students, it is one of the most populated universities in Nigeria. Its fees range from N21,000 to N55,000 for undergraduates depending on course of study.
UNIJOS is a federal university in Jos, Nigeria, which was formerly a campus of the University of Ibadan in 1971. It became a federal university in October 1975 when the British government proclaimed the establishment of new schools. The estimated school fees for undergraduates are N27,000 for returning students and N71,000 for new students, without accommodation. With accommodation, new students pay N84,200 and returning students pay N40,600. And then, there is Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) located in Zaria town, Kaduna. Founded initially in October 4, 1962 as the University of Northern Nigeria, it was later renamed in honor of the late monarch Ahmadu Bello. Its estimated school fees range from N27,000 to N41,000, depending on the course of study and excluding other fees such as acceptance fees and hostel fees.
Unibadan and Bayero University round off the list.
The University of Ibadan is known as the premier higher institution in Nigeria. It is located in Ibadan, Oyo State and founded in 1948. It is known as the first university in Nigeria. It was initially referred to as the College of the University of London until 1962, when it became UI. As of May 2023, the University of Ibadan is ranked number one in Nigeria and number seven in Africa. The school fees range from N34,300 to N37,000 depending on the course of study. Last but not least is Bayero University, Kano. It is located in Kano State, Nigeria. It was once a small college that ran advanced-level training and initially known as Ahmadu Bello College. The estimated school fees for returning and new students at Bayero University range from 35,500 to 49,000 naira, excluding the acceptance fee.