By Graphic Online
A total of 4,916 Ghanaian students studied in colleges and universities in the United States of America (USA) during the 2021-2022 academic year.
This represents a 16.2 per cent increase over the previous year.
According to the 2022 USA Open Doors Report, Ghana sent the second-highest number of students (second only to Nigeria) to the USA among the sub-Saharan African countries.
Ghana also ranks 18th in the world for countries sending students to the USA for graduate programmes (with 60 per cent of the total Ghanaian students pursuing graduate programmes).
The Open Doors Report is a comprehensive information resource on international students and scholars studying or teaching at higher education institutions in the USA and USA students studying abroad for academic credit at their home colleges or universities.
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The annual ECA-funded Open Doors Report is a definitive survey on international and USA higher education student mobility.
The Cultural Affairs Attache of the USA Embassy in Accra, Laneice Brooker, told the Daily Graphic that as part of the International Education Week, the increase in Ghanaian students reinforced the fact that the USA was open to foreign students.
Asked why Ghanaians would want to go to the USA and study, she said: “I think it speaks to the historical relationship between the USA and Ghana. I think also it is the result of a lot of wonderful efforts of American universities and colleges coming and recruiting and getting their names out there, it is very appealing as you start to build up those cultural ties and make it affordable for Ghanaians to study in the USA.”
After COVID, she said, there were more opportunities in terms of virtual, online programmes and that the schools recognised the diversity and the benefit of having students from Ghana.
“Ghana has become very appealing for a lot of universities in the USA to attract students from because they recognise the quality of the students and we are very proud of that and we want to promote that.
“We regularly host American universities either virtually or in person here in Ghana to talk about what opportunities are there at all levels,” she said.
With regard to financial support, she said, “We try to match up students with financial aid because we don’t offer direct scholarships from the US government. However, we do try to identify funding sources and then we can sometimes offer support for those who are wonderfully qualified.”
Asked how much it would cost a Ghanaian to study in the USA, she said it would depend on the type of institution they were applying to and the type of degree programme they wanted to undertake.
The Education Outreach Specialist at the Education USA Centre at the Public Affairs Section of the USA Embassy, Bernice Affotey, said the process for application to educational institutions in the USA was holistic and involving.
She said aside from Education Week, the USA offices in Accra and Kumasi offered applicants advice and did a lot of work virtually through Facebook/zoom sessions, telephone calls and WhatsApp.
“If a school wants us to come, we will go there. The interest is big and we have always had good responses,” she said.