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Nigeria also has the highest number of African students in the United States, with 12,860 students enrolled in the 2020/2021 academic year.

Nigerian students abroad

The number of Nigerians studying in the United Kingdom (UK) has risen from 13,020 in the 2019/2020 academic session to 21,305 by the 2020/2021 session.

The figure, which amounts to an almost 64 percent increase within a year, is confirmed by data from the UK’s Higher Education Statistics Agency.

The UK has also witnessed a 13.08 percent increase in international student enrolment at the postgraduate level between 2019/20 and 2020/21.

The country currently houses 605,130 students in the 2020/2021 session, up from 556,625 in the previous academic session.

Alma Miftari, a representative of Erudera, a higher education search platform, believes that the ‘unprecedented’ rise in the number of Nigerian students in the UK is due to the prestigious reputation of UK universities, their history, quality education, and the multicultural environment they offer.


She said: “The UK is the second most popular study destination in the world, counting 605,130 international students by the last academic year, the highest it ever had. The reputation of universities such as Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial College London, and the UK higher education system continues to engross ambitious people who want to make a bigger impact”

Right after the UK, the top other countries Nigerians choose are The United States, Canada, Malaysia, Ukraine, South Africa, and Germany.


However, the United Kingdom remained the world’s second most popular study destination among international students, just after the US, with 605,130 international students during the 2020/2021 academic session.

Although the UK and the United States (US) are destination choices for many Nigerian students, the US witnessed a decrease in enrolment this year as a result of COVID19 vaccination protocols.


Nigerian students in the UK

The number of Nigerian students in the UK has always been on the increase, but the latest increase rate is unprecedented.

For instance, the number rose from 10,685 in the 2017/18 session to 10,810 in 2018/19 and 13,020 in 2019/20 before 21,305 students during the 2020/21 academic sessions.

The data also revealed that Nigeria is the third non-EU country with the most students in the UK with 21,305 students currently enrolled in UK institutions, ahead of the United States with 19,220 students.

China and India with 143,820 and 84,555 students respectively have the highest number of students in the UK.


Right after Nigeria, other African countries with high number of students in the UK by the last academic year are Egypt (3,260), Ghana (2,795), Kenya (2,640), and South Africa (2,060), and Morocco (1,265).

According to the data, over 21,000 Nigerians are settled majorly across England (16,980) Scotland (2,655) Wales (935) Northern Ireland (740).


Right after the UK, the top other countries Nigerian choose are The United States, Canada, Malaysia, Ukraine, South Africa, Germany, etc.

This is despite a 6.6 per cent decrease from 13,762 students in the previous 2019/2020 academic year, resulting from the stringent COVID19 vaccination protocols in the US at the beginning of the year.

Lennox Mall

According to Erudera, the three top subjects of study for international students in the UK were Business and Management, Engineering and Technology, and Social Sciences.

Erudera noted that the largest number of international students in the UK study Business and Management (177,715). Engineering and Technology is the second most chosen subject of study for international students in the UK with 63,375 students.


Social Sciences and Computing rank third and fourth respectively in the number of international students enrolled in such disciplines.

Qosim Suleiman is a reporter at Premium Times in partnership with Report for the World, which matches local newsrooms with talented emerging journalists to report on under-covered issues around the globe.


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