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27 states spend N106b on 35 varsities in one year



State universities in the country are growing in number, but the funds to run them only come in trickles. According to the budgets of 27 states examined by The Guardian, the total amount allocated to 32 such universities in 2016 by the owner-state governments was N106 billion. In contrast, the 2016 operating revenue of the New York State University (NYU) financed by the government of the state of New York and estimated at N940 billion ($3.075 billion), was nearly nine times higher, using the official exchange rate of N305 to a dollar.

States such as Ondo, Benue, Kano and Edo operate more than one university with budgets smaller than that of a high school in the United States. For example, the 2016 budget allocated by Ondo State to two of its universities, Adekunle Ajasin University (AAU) and Ondo State University of Science and Technology, was valued at N3.6 billion, about six per cent less than N3.8 billion budget of the Eleanor Roosevelt High School (ERHS) in New York. The total enrolment at AAU is over 20,000 while the student population at ERHS is about 4,000, according to the data published on the websites of the two schools.

In addition, the total amount each state government allocated to colleges of education and polytechnics in 2016, compared to the amount allocated to universities, is much lesser. For example, while the Benue State government allocated N6.7 billion to the Benue State University in 2016, it provided only N1.8 billion to the state polytechnic in Ugbokolo; N504 million to the College of Advanced and Professional Studies, Markurdi; N 2.2 billion to the College of Education in Katsina-Ala; N1.6 billion to the College of Education, Oju and N1.4 billion to Benue State University College of Health Sciences. Therefore, the total budget for all tertiary institutions in the state in 2016 was N14.2 billion, representing less than two per cent budget of the NYU in the same year.

The Guardian, August 23, 2017


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