Ekene Ezeunala, the 17-year-old boy who got the highest score at the 2019 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) and 29 others have received fully-funded scholarships to attend American universities and colleges for the 2021/2022 academic session.
The 30 beneficiaries who are Opportunity Funds Program scholars, high-achieving, low-income students were selected following a competitive process.
The students received financial aid totaling $4.35 million from the U.S. Consulate General that covered expenses involved in the college application process such as payment for standardized tests, application fees, and visa fees in addition to air travel to the United States.
Ezeunala, who scored 347 at the 2019 UTME, attended Meiran Community Senior High School, Lagos.
He received full funding to study Computer Science and Mathematics at Columbia University in New York City.
The lucky US-bound students will be running six undergraduates, three masters and twenty-one doctoral academic programmes in the areas of Neuroscience, Biomedical Engineering, Bioinformatics, Computer Science and Engineering for the 2021/2022 academic session in USA.
A statement by Temitayo Famutimi, Information Specialist, Public Affairs Section of the United States Consular General in Victoria Island Lagos, on Thursday, said the scholarship programmes cover expenses for standardized tests, application fee and visa fees.
Speaking on Thursday in Lagos during a reception in honor of the U.S. bound students, Consul General Claire Pierangelo urged the scholars to make the most of their opportunity to get a top-notch education while gaining the first-hand experience of American life and culture.
“I congratulate each one of you on your tremendous success. Your success is evidence of your leadership, academic performance, and the great potential young Nigerians hold for the future of this country.
“This is a very important step in your life. I strongly encourage you to maximize this opportunity. This is not just about your education as you have proven yourselves to be academically outstanding students.
“I am also referring to your chance to broaden your horizons and embrace the diversity of people around you and learn, not just about America, but also about other cultures,” Pierangelo told the departing students.
“Ekene Ezeunala, one of the 2021 Opportunity Fund Program scholars, achieved the highest score in Nigeria at the 2019 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination. The 17-year-old alumnus of Meiran Community Senior High School Lagos received full funding to study Computer Science and Mathematics at Columbia University in the City of New York,” Pierangelo said.
On his part, Ezeunala said the EducationUSA Opportunity Funds Program is “a truly life-changing experience. EducationUSA opened up a whole new world of opportunities and resources I never knew were available to me.”