Emmanuel Bonney (left), an editor at the Daily Graphic, interviews Laneice Brooker, the US embassy’s culture officer in Accra. PICTURED: SAMUEL TEI ADANO
A total of 4,916 Ghanaian students studied at colleges and universities in the United States of America (USA) in the 2021-2022 academic year.
This corresponds to an increase of 16.2 percent compared to the previous year.
According to the 2022 USA Open Doors Report, Ghana sent the second highest number of students (after Nigeria) to the United States among sub-Saharan African countries.
Ghana also ranks 18th in the world for countries sending students to the US for graduate programs (with 60 percent of all Ghanaian students pursuing graduate programs).
The Open Doors Report is a comprehensive source of information about international students and scholars studying or teaching at colleges in the United States, and about US students studying abroad at their home colleges or universities.
Funded annually by the ECA, the Open Doors Report is an authoritative survey of international and US student mobility in higher education.
The cultural affairs attache at the US Embassy in Accra, Laneice Brooker, told the Daily Graphic that the surge in Ghanaian students as part of International Education Week reinforced the fact that the US was open to foreign students.
When asked why Ghanaians want to go to the US and study, she said, “I think it speaks to the historical relationship between the US and Ghana. I also think it’s the result of many wonderful efforts by American universities and colleges coming and recruiting and getting their names out there. It’s very appealing when you start to build those cultural ties and make it affordable for Ghanaians to study in the US.”
Post COVID, she said, there were more opportunities in terms of online virtual programs and that schools recognized the diversity and usefulness of Ghanaian students.
“Ghana has become very attractive for many universities in the US to attract students because they recognize the quality of the students and we are very proud of that and we want to encourage that.
“We regularly host American universities either virtually or in person here in Ghana to talk about what opportunities there are at all levels,” she said.
Regarding financial aid, she said, “We try to match students with financial aid because we don’t offer direct grants from the US government. However, we try to identify sources of funding and then we can sometimes offer support to those who are wonderfully qualified.”
When asked how much it would cost a Ghanaian to study in the US, she said it would depend on the type of institution they apply to and the type of degree they want to pursue.
Education Outreach Specialist at the Education USA Center in the US Embassy’s Department of Public Affairs, Bernice Affoty, said the application process for educational institutions in the US is holistic and comprehensive.
She said aside from Education Week, the US offices in Accra and Kumasi have offered counseling to applicants and done a lot of work virtually via Facebook/Zoom sessions, phone calls and WhatsApp.
“If a school wants us to come, we go there. There’s a lot of interest and we’ve always had good feedback,” she said.