By Busayo Onijala
A total of 19 high-achieving indigent Nigerian students have received full scholarships totaling 2.17 million dollars to study in American universities and colleges for the 2020/2021 academic session.
The U.S Consulate in Lagos said in a statement that the feat was made possible through its Opportunity Funds Programme with support from Coca-Cola Nigeria.
U.S. Consul General in Lagos, Claire Pierangelo, congratulated the scholars on their success and urged them to make the most of the opportunity.
“The U.S. Mission in Nigeria is pleased that our two major EducationUSA centers in Lagos and Abuja help brilliant, deserving and high achieving students defray the cost of applying to study in the U.S.
“You have successfully navigated the daunting U.S. college and university admissions process and we are so excited for your future.
“During your time in the United States, please take full advantage of every opportunity you have not only to learn but to expand your horizon,” she said.
According to Pierangelo, the students have excelled in Nigeria and will undoubtedly continue on that path of academic excellence in the United States.
Izunna Okpala, one of the 2020 Opportunity Fund Program scholars, received full funding for a Ph.D. programme in Information Technology with concentration in Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing at the University of Cincinnati.
Okpala described the EducationUSA Opportunity Funds Programme as a “game changer” in his quest to receive international education.
The 19 students, two undergraduates and 17 graduate students, will be majoring in programmes including Infectious Diseases, Biomedical Sciences, Engineering, Chemistry, Climate Change and Climate Variability, Geology, and Political Science.
Their impressive list of acceptances include the University of Massachusetts, Boston, Purdue University, Duke University, Northwestern University, among others.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Opportunity Funds Program assists talented and determined low-income students, who lack resources, with financial assistance from U.S. colleges and universities to cover the cost of obtaining admission.
According to the latest Institute of International Education Open Doors report, Nigeria retained its top ranking as the number one source of African students studying in the United States.
About 13,762 Nigerians are studying at more than 1,000 U.S. colleges and universities. (NAN)