Foreign universities lure Nigerian students with N300/$1 exchange rate

· Others crash tuition fees by 25-30%

Following the resumption of summer academic session, investigations have revealed that foreign universities are scrambling to lure Nigerian students with lower dollar to naira exchange rate.

The naira closed last week at N435 to the United States Dollar. However, as scarcity of the greenback worsens in the country the inability of parents, whose children school abroad to access foreign exchange (forex) is threatening the completion of their wards’ education.

The situation is also turning most of these offshore schools into underwriters for naira–settled futures contract and Bureau De Changes as they assure Nigerian  students of stable exchange rate all through their studies.

Findings also revealed that other universities have written to students from neighbouring African countries indicating that they have slashed their tuition fees by 25 and 30 per cent to lighten the burden of most African students who are finding it difficult to conclude or pursue their dreams of sound education abroad.

Although Mr Godwin Emefiele, the Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, recently revealed that the apex bank spent about $2 billion annually on foreign school fees remittances, the new forex regime appears incapable of meeting such a huge demand any more.

Average weekly dollar turnover on the interbank forex market (spot) has dropped to $600 million presently compared with the $2 billion available as at August last year.

In the course of investigation, Nigerian Tribune stumbled into some letters written by a few United Kingdom, Nitherlands and US-based universities to some Nigerian students studying abroad and a few other aspiring students.

A Netherlands based University, through its United Kingdom affiliate, the University of Roehampton Online, wrote one of such letters to an aspiring Nigerian student.

Titled “Pay for your Masters at N300/USD,” and signed by the Enrolment Manager, Avantika  Deora the letter received on Sunday, September 18, 2016 read in part: “Hello, we are aware of the current economic challenges in Nigeria and how that can affect your ability to start a Master’s programme at this time.

“We at the University of Roehampton hear and feel your pain due to the ‘high’ Naira (NGN) to US Dollar (USD) exchange rate. We understand that you are very motivated to start your studies but this rate is crippling your efforts.

“Our aim is that you no longer have to worry about the Naira depreciating, and can plan for your future and finances.  We have a special offer designed to provide you certainty of your programme Total Cost while the NGN to USD exchange remains uncertain. Your entire programme total tuition will be guaranteed based on a maximum of 300 to $1.”