It has been revealed that thirty Opportunity Funds Program scholars of the U.S. Consulate General in Lagos have received fully-funded scholarships totaling $4.35 million to attend American universities and colleges for the 2021/2022 academic session.
Following a competitive selection process, the 30 high-achieving, low-income students received financial aid from the U.S. Consulate General that covered expenses involved in the college application process such as payment for standardized tests, application fees, and visa fees in addition to air travel to the United States.
One of the beneficiaries is a 17-year-old boy Ekene Ezeunala who scored the highest score at the 2019 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME).
Ezeunala, who got 347, attended Meiran Community Senior High School, Lagos and received full funding to study Computer Science and Mathematics at Columbia University in the City of New York.
The lucky US-bound students are selected for six undergraduates, three masters and twenty-one doctoral academic programs including Neuroscience, Biomedical Engineering, Bioinformatics, Computer Science and Engineering for the 2021/2022 academic session
According to a statement by Temitayo Famutimi, Information Specialist, Public Affairs Section of the United States Consular General in Victoria Island Lagos, on Thursday, the scholarship programs cover expenses for standardized tests, application fee and visa fees.
The statement reads, “Speaking on Thursday in Lagos during a reception in honor of the U.S. bound students, Consul General Claire Pierangelo urged the scholars to make the most of their opportunity to get a top-notch education while gaining the first-hand experience of American life and culture.
“I congratulate each one of you on your tremendous success. Your success is evidence of your leadership, academic performance, and the great potential young Nigerians hold for the future of this country.
“This is a very important step in your life. I strongly encourage you to maximize this opportunity. This is not just about your education as you have proven yourselves to be academically outstanding students.
"I am also referring to your chance to broaden your horizons and embrace the diversity of people around you and learn, not just about America, but also about other cultures,” Pierangelo told the departing students.
“Ekene Ezeunala, one of the 2021 Opportunity Fund Program scholars, achieved the highest score in Nigeria at the 2019 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination. The 17-year-old alumnus of Meiran Community Senior High School Lagos received full funding to study Computer Science and Mathematics at Columbia University in the City of New York,” Pierangelo said.
While speaking, Ezeunala said the Education USA Opportunity Funds Program is “a truly life-changing experience. EducationUSA opened up a whole new world of opportunities and resources I never knew were available to me.”
Another 2021 OFP scholar, Urinrin Otite, was the first student to earn a first-class degree in the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Port Harcourt.
Otite will be attending Lehigh University in Pennsylvania where she received a fully-funded offer to pursue a doctoral degree in Civil Engineering with a research focus on the resilience and sustainability of structures and infrastructure systems.
“Looking back, the EducationUSA Opportunity Funds Program was the bridge I needed to reach my dream of studying in the U.S., and I would recommend reaching out to EducationUSA as the perfect first step to anyone hoping to study in the US,” Otite said.
Their impressive list of acceptances includes Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Columbia University, Princeton University, Purdue University, University of Pennsylvania, among others.
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 study at more than 1,000 U.S. colleges and universities.