Deciding where to attend university is a major decision. For many Nigerian students and families, finances play a crucial role. The good news is that many excellent private universities in the country offer various scholarships and financial assistance.
In this comprehensive guide, you’ll learn about the leading Nigerian private universities that provide scholarships, financial aid and other cost aid opportunities.
Why Consider a Private University in Nigeria?
Historically, public universities were the main options for Nigerian students. But in recent decades, dozens of private universities have been established and gained prestige. Here are some potential benefits of attending a private university:
- Smaller class sizes and more personalized instruction.
- Well-resourced campuses with modern, high-tech facilities.
- Innovative degree programs in emerging fields.
- Partnerships with global universities for exchanges.
- Career development services preparing graduates for jobs.
- Campus culture encouraging extracurricular involvement.
For students who qualify, scholarships make the benefits of private education more accessible by reducing the costs.
What Types of Scholarships Are Available?
Nigeria’s leading private universities provide various forms of scholarships and financial assistance:
- Merit-based – Rewards academic excellence based on exam scores, grades and rankings.
- Needs-based – Grants aid based on family financial circumstances.
- Athletic – Awards participation and ability in sports like football, basketball, track & field.
- Artistic – Grants talent-based aid for music, theatre, dance and other arts.
- STEM – Encourages women pursuing science, tech, engineering & math.
- International – Offers aid specifically for students from other countries.
- New student – Incentivizes prospective freshmen to choose the university.
- Departmental – For students studying specific subjects like business, law or medicine.
- Endowed – Funded by donations from individuals, foundations or corporations.
Learn more about these scholarship categories and how to qualify at each Nigerian university.
Top 10 Nigerian Private Universities for Scholarships
Here are 10 leading private universities in Nigeria recognized for providing scholarships:
1. Covenant University
Covenant University, located in Ota, Ogun State, is ranked Nigeria’s top private university. It offers:
- Merit awards – Half to full tuition scholarships for each college based on WAEC/UTME results.
- Sports scholarships – For student athletes in football, basketball, track & field. Covers 30-100% of tuition.
- Need-based aid – Requires submitting financial documents to verify necessity.
- International awards – For top achieving international applicants.
With a vision to be a leading world-class Christian Mission University, Covenant provides over $2 million in scholarships annually.
2. American University of Nigeria
Founded in 2004 as Nigeria’s first American-style university, AUN is located in Yola, Adamawa State. Scholarships include:
- Merit awards – Offering 20%, 50% or 100% tuition reduction for exceptional students.
- Need-based grants – Requires parent financial info and good academic standing.
- Work-study – Part-time campus jobs to earn tuition credit.
- Athletic scholarships – Awards top talent in basketball, tennis, soccer, volleyball.
AUN is especially recognized for aid supporting women in technology and engineering.
3. Babcock University
Based in Ilishan-Remo, Ogun State, Babcock is one of Nigeria’s largest private Christian universities with over 17,000 students. It provides:
- Academic scholarships – Rewards academic excellence, awarded automatically based on exam scores.
- Sports scholarships – Covers housing and/or tuition for committed student athletes.
- Needs-based aid – Offers subsidized tuition for qualifying families.
- Work-study – Gives students jobs on campus like tour guides, landscapers, call center reps.
Babcock also guarantees 100% on-campus employment to students with financial need.
4. Afe Babalola University
Located in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State, ABUAD ranks as Nigeria’s #1 private university by Webometrics. Scholarships feature:
- Merit awards – Covers full tuition for 50 top-scoring UTME/WAEC students per year.
- Sports scholarships – Full tuition for talented athletes in soccer, track & field and more.
- Needs-based – Subsidized tuition for low-income families who apply.
- Work-study – Student employment on campus in food services, maintenance, etc.
ABUAD also provides laptops, accommodation and textbooks to all undergraduates.
5. Bells University
This Ota, Ogun State institution describes itself as Nigeria’s “foremost IT-driven private university.” It provides:
- Merit-cum-means – Combines financial need and strong academics for tuition aid.
- Departmental scholarships – For top Engineering, Computer Science, Business, Law students.
- Athletic scholarships – Covers 30-100% tuition for student athletes in soccer, basketball and more.
- Work-study – Students work on campus in teaching assistant, library, IT and other roles.
Bells also guarantees laptops for all degree-seeking undergraduates.
6. Benson Idahosa University
Located in Benin City, Edo State, BIU offers the following scholarships:
- Merit-based aid – Awards top academics 50% tuition scholarship, renewed yearly if 3.5+ GPA maintained.
- Financial need – Grants students aid if families cannot afford tuition and submit income docs.
- New student – Offers freshmen fixed tuition rate over 4 years if they maintain 2.5+ GPA.
- Athletic – Recruits top athletes in basketball, volleyball, handball, table tennis.
BIU also provides textbook vouchers, accommodation waivers, and business pitch grants.
7. Bowen University
Based in Iwo, Osun State, Bowen describes itself as “an inclusive faith-based institution.” Scholarship options include:
- Bowen merit awards – Half to full tuition scholarships for high academic achievers.
- Sports scholarships – Covers up to full tuition for committed student athletes.
- Creative arts grants – For gifted students in visual arts, music, dance, drama.
- Subsidized aid – Low-interest student loans to qualifying applicants.
Bowen also offers an early registration discount for incoming students.
8. Caleb University
Located along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Caleb touts itself as an “IT-driven” institution. It provides:
- Merit-based aid – Half and full scholarships for top scorers on SSCE/UTME exams.
- Departmental – Awards students studying Engineering, Sciences, Media & Communication.
- Sports scholarships – Covers housing and tuition costs for athletes.
- Artistic scholarships – Grants for gifted students in creative fields.
- Financial need – Assistance for families who submit income statements and qualify.
Caleb also offers special awards for physically challenged students.
9. Redeemer’s University
Located in Ede, Osun State, RUN was founded by the Redeemed Christian Church of God. It offers:
- Merit scholarships – Awards high academic achievers 25-100% tuition.
- Sports aid – Recruits top student athletes in soccer, basketball and table tennis.
- NUC scholarships – Funded by the National Universities Commission for qualified applicants.
- Needs-based – Provides support to students from low-income families.
RUN also provides laptops to all undergraduates and accommodation subsidies.
10. Pan-Atlantic University
Known for business education, Pan-Atlantic has campuses in Lekki and Ibeju-Lekki. Scholarships include:
- Merit awards – Half to full tuition for outstanding SSCE/UTME scores.
- Financial grants – Need-based aid for families earning less than N5 million annually.
- International scholarships – For exceptional international applicants from Africa.
- NUC awards – Allocated by the National Universities Commission.
By providing scholarships and aid, these private universities enable more Nigerian students to access world-class education and realize their potential.
Tips for Earning Private University Scholarships
If you’re hoping to qualify for scholarships at leading private universities, here are some tips:
- Research each university’s aid criteria and application process in depth. Deadlines and required documents vary.
- Maintain excellent WAEC grades throughout secondary school to establish consistent academic excellence.
- Achieve top scores on UTME/JAMB exams to demonstrate your abilities.
- Pursue extracurricular activities like sports, arts, clubs that align with the university’s awards.
- Start financial planning early with your family to understand costs and options.
- Provide complete details and paperwork when applying for needs-based aid.
- Apply to several universities and cast a wide net for potential scholarship opportunities.
With preparation and a strategic approach, Nigeria’s top private universities can provide world-class education with financial assistance.
The benefits of attending one of Nigeria’s esteemed private universities are immense, but so too can be the costs. Fortunately, through merit-based, need-based, athletic, artistic and other scholarships, many institutions strive to put top-tier education within reach for promising students.
By researching universities thoroughly, achieving academic excellence, and applying for aid, you can access life-changing experiences. Let this guide provide direction and inspiration as you seek scholarships from leading private universities like Covenant, AUN, Babcock, Afe Babalola, Bells, Benson Idahosa, Bowen, Caleb, Redeemer’s, and Pan-Atlantic.
Believe in yourself, pursue your passions, meet deadlines, and tell your unique story. With focus and determination, Nigeria’s top private universities can launch you onward to amazing possibilities through affordable, world-class education and beyond!