By Isaac Aregbesola
The U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs has encouraged more Nigerian students to consider attending its over 1000 community colleges for high quality education.
Mathew Washburn, Programme Officer, EducationUSA, U.S. Department of State said this at the Foreign Press Centre International Reporting Tour of the U.S. Community Colleges and Workforce Development programme in Washington D.C.
The tour was organised by the Foreign Press Centre, Bureau of Public Affairs, U.S. Department of State to provide foreign journalists with information on opportunity available to foreign students in community colleges in U.S.
Washburn explained that community colleges were two-year schools that provide affordable post-secondary education and are often a path to a four-year degree.
“It is not well known internationally, it offers amazing opportunity in education and training, it offer helps for course of study.
“Community colleges in the U.S. offer an amazing opportunity to receive a high-quality education and solid hands-on training in a large number of fields.
“Community colleges provide students from Nigeria with a supportive, dynamic environment in which to study, learn more about the United States, and prepare for a future career,” he said.
The EducationUSA programme officer said that articulation agreements between many community colleges and four-year accredited colleges and universities allow community college students to complete a two year Associate’s degree at the community college and then transfer to a four-year institution to earn a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree.
He said that many community colleges had low tuition rates, making it an affordable option for international students and significantly lowering the total cost of earning the B.A. degree if a student transfers to a four-year institution.
He said that EducationUSA had advising centers in Abuja and Lagos and advisers conduct outreach to high schools and colleges throughout the country.
“It is committed to helping students from Nigeria identify schools that are a “best-fit” and to navigate the U.S. admission process.
“EducationUSA also provides support to U.S. institutions that wish to recruit qualified students in the country, both in-person and virtually,” he said.
He said that the United States was committed to expanding job-driven training at community colleges nationwide.
The official of the U.S. Department of State said it was imperative for young Nigerians to take advantage of the many educational development options that community colleges were currently offering.
“EducationUSA is committed to supporting the increasing number of African students who are interested in studying in the United States.
He said that opportunity awaits foreign students including Nigerians to come to study in the accredited educational Colleges that are really waiting to admit them.
Washburn further said that U.S. was equipping the next generation of world leaders with the tools they need to build stable economic, promote democracy and the rule of law, and create positive social change in their communities for a safely, more prosperous world.
He added that U.S. higher institutions were consistently ranked among the top in the world as they provide quality education for student.
According to him, EducationUSA is a U.S. Department of State network of over 425 international students advising centres in more than 175 countries including Nigeria.
The official stated that U.S. would not compromise its visa policy standard and that only students with valid visa would be allowed into U.S. for study.
Rachel Canty, Deputy Assistant Director Student and Exchange Visitor Programme (SEVP) said the programme had been working to unveil new tools to crack down on fraud in the U.S. international education industry.
“SEVP provides integrity to the U.S. immigration system by collecting, maintaining and analyzing information so only legitimate nonimmigrant students or exchange visitors gain entry into the U.S.
“SEVP ensures that the institutions accepting non immigrant students are certified and follow the federal rules and regulations that govern them,” she said
The official said that students must maintain their primary purpose of coming to the U.S. which should be to engage in learning through a full course of study.
She also said that students must maintain their non immigrant status while in the U.S.