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Nigerian applicants to UK unis increased by 47%

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Tourists wait to enter Windsor Castle for a tour in Windsor on February 17, 2022. Source: Adrian Dennis/AFP

The number of Nigerians wanting to study in the UK increased from 1,620 in 2021 t0 2,380, recording a 47% increase year-on-year and 68.9% from 2018. It’s been an upward trend since 2018.

Nigeria recorded the most substantial proportional increase this year. It is also the largest overseas market for British universities amongst other African nations. South Africa and Kenya are the second-largest markets, both with 690 applicants wanting to study in the UK respectively.

Clare Marchant, Chief Executive at UCAS, said: “The application is just one part of the discovery journey and the focus must now be on ensuring applicants have the best information and advice to transition into successful students or apprentices – whatever is right for them. The entire education sector will be continuing its high levels of support, particularly as students sit formal exams for the first time in three years.”

study in the UK

People walk with a dog in the snow in Victoria Park, in the West End of Glasgow. Source: Andy Buchanan/AFP

“It will be critical to support students to progress to both full-time undergraduate courses at university and college as well as degree and higher apprenticeship, as we know almost one-fifth of UCAS applicants are pursuing simultaneous applications.”

The number of applicants from South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Kenya, Algeria, Tunisia, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Togo, Cameroon, Malawi and Madagascar wanting to study in the UK increased year-on-year as well.

More Chinese and Indians want to study in the UK

The volume of applications from international applicants stood at just over 111,000, compensating for the drop in EU  applicants. China applicants rose 12.1% to almost 29,000 while India is up by 10.7% with 8,660 applicants — these are the largest overseas markets in Asia.


“We project non-EU applicant numbers will continue their upward trajectory in the coming cycles – increasing by almost two thirds to be a significant factor in reaching a million overall applicants by the middle of the current decade,” wrote Richard O’Kelly, Head of Data and Analysis at UCAS, in Wonkhe.

“They will also be a key element in maintaining the International Education Strategy’s ambition of a sustainable 600,000 total international students (undergraduate and postgraduate) in the UK through to 2030; a target that Myriad by UCAS, our new platform for international postgraduate students that officially launches this week, will support.”

The Myriad by UCAS app allows users to research UK university courses and funding, in the language of their choice. Jobs and accommodation near the campus, town, or city they are looking to move to are listed too.