The United States government has given University Scholarship to 30 outstanding Nigerian students to enable them to study in US and other countries.
This is in an effort strengthen the existing relations between Nigeria and the US.
The Acting Deputy Chief of Mission, US Embassy in Abuja, Mr Anton Smith, made this known at the pre-departure orientation for the students in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.
Mr. Smith said that the scholarship is in furtherance of the Education US Opportunity Funds programme aimed at creating opportunities for students to learn more about America and the culture.
“The US is interested in providing opportunities for exceptional students in the world particularly from Nigeria to study and spend time in the US so that they can gain the cultural insight and cultural exchange that helps us draw people together.
“It will also give the high performing students an opportunity to gain from some of the best education in the world across the world, so that the Nigerian students going to study can have the American experience, come back and help Nigeria to succeed, create opportunities for aligning on issues of mutual importance or creating opportunities for growth and prosperity and develop their country.
“All of that helps America when they help Nigeria so it is a win-win situation that is very easy for us to see the return on investments,” he said.
The Deputy Cultural Affairs Officer, US Embassy in Abuja, Ms Malia Heroux, noted that 35 students applied for the 2019 scholarship programme but only 30 of them were selected, with 27 of them going to the US while the remaining three got the prestigious Mastercards to Ghana.
According to Heroux the students were selected across schools in Nigeria based on academic excellence, demonstrated leadership potential, ethos of giving back to community extracurricular achievement and talent.
She explained that, “although the programme was spearheaded by the US Embassy in Nigeria, the scholarship and funds were provided by the institutions it partnered with. The funding comes from the school themselves this is why we like to work with the students to identify not only what programmes they want to study but universities that offer such programmes and also in financial position to provide for scholarships, the Embassy only pays for opportunity students, pay for some of the small fees as well as the standardise testing, airline tickets”.
She added that, “The scholarship is for students who are incredibly high achieving academically but come from backgrounds which are not economically conducive to paying for school fees and the scholarship equally cut across students considered to be leaders in their communities and seeking to make a difference in their communities. We have 30 students who are benefiting from the education US opportunities funds grants programme and we work with many more students throughout the year whose parents can either fund or who are seeking partial scholarship”.
One of the beneficiaries, Abraham Ojodomo, praised the US government for the opportunity and the US Embassy’s Education Advising Centre for providing him with the opportunity to make his dreams come true.
“I am benefiting from a $76,000 full-funded scholarship to study Computer Science at Franklin and Marshal College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania,” Ojodomo explained.
He added that, “I graduated from Government Secondary School, Karu, Abuja, but never expected to further my education since my mother is a petty trader, who sold tiger-nut drink, a local brew. I planned to return to Nigeria after my studies and establish an Information Technology school in a rural community where the less privileged, intelligent students could have the opportunity to study and achieve their dreams”.
Academically, Education US has over 400 advising centres in different countries.