Nigeria is ranked the leading source of African students and 14th worldwide as a source of international students in the United States.
The 2016 U.S. Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange has shown that about 10,674 Nigerians were studying in the United States during the 2015-16 academic year.
The figure is the highest number of Nigerians studying in the United States since 1986-87 session.
A statement from the United States Embassy in Abuja on Tuesday said 50.8 per cent Nigerian students study primarily at the undergraduate level, graduate (35.6 per cent), Optional Practical Training (11.5 per cent) and non-degree programmes or short-term studies (2 per cent).
The report said the top five institutions that have received the most Nigerian students were all located in the state of Texas.
They include Houston Community College, University of Houston, University of North Texas, Texas Southern University, and University of Texas at Arlington.
Other African countries with over 1,000 students in the U.S. during the period under review include Ghana (3,049 students), Kenya (3,019), and South Africa (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 report also revealed that the number of international students at U.S. colleges and universities surpassed one million for the first time during the 2015-2016 academic year, an increase of about 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,” the statement said.
In 2015-16, it said there were nearly 69,000 more international students in U.S. 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,” IIE President, Allan Goodman, 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 U.S. 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,” said Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, Evan Ryan, explained.
As part of the International Education Week celebration, EducationUSA Nigeria is scheduled to host an annual virtual college fair targeted at high school and graduate students from all over Nigeria.
American officers are expected to visit high schools to talk about their U.S. and international study experience, and EducationUSA advisers would also visit several schools within Lagos and Abuja.
The Embassy urged Nigerians wishing to pursue studies at any level in the United States to visit the EducationUSA Advising Center at the U.S. Embassy in Abuja, or the U.S. Consulate General in Lagos for more information.