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In 2014, there were approximately 4.5 million international college and university-level students in the world. The number of international students in the U.S. has declined from 28% in 2000 to 22% in 2014. The majority of students coming to the United States are from Asia. Nigeria was the African country with the most students studying in the US in 2014; approximately 9500 Nigerian students studied in the US (this was the 15th largest international student population studying in the U.S., by country of origin). We were interested in knowing the reasons why substantially fewer African students were coming to the U.S. for higher education. For this report’s purposes, higher education refers to degree granting programs at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels. To test whether or not there were financial barriers to higher education for African students, we created a survey using Qualtrics. The survey was then distributed to African students associations and international students organizations at 50+ universities. Given that they are the most populous group of African students in the US, it is unsurprising that Nigerian students were the greatest in number to complete the survey. Through the analysis of our survey responses, we found that for 62% of respondents, the primary source of funding was scholarships. 82% of respondents however felt that it was hard for them to secure a scholarship.. This means that indeed, financial barriers to higher education have deterred students from pursuing degree-granting programs outside of their home countries. Having analyzed the survey responses, as a team we came up with several recommendations regarding steps that we believe 8B should take moving forward. Firstly, we recommend that 8B increase their social media presence and create a website. We found it difficult to explain to people the research we were doing because we were unable to prove 8B’s existence. Without an online presence, it becomes difficult to get people interested in 8B’s mission. Secondly, we recommend that 8B should explore partnerships with the private sector given that a majority of survey respondents stated that they want to go into the private sector following graduation. We also believe it would be in 8B’s interests to work with African embassies to better understand the needs and preferences of students from under-represented countries, and develop partnerships to encourage applications to top universities.
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