More African students study in Texas than any other state

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Rhetoric and writing senior Sophia Feleke is the public relations chair for Students of East Africa. Thirteen percent of all African students enrolled in American universities choose to attend schools in Texas.

Photo Credit: Amy Zhang | Daily Texan Staff

Thirteen percent of all African students enrolled in American universities come to study in Texas — more so than in any other state — according to data from the Student and Exchange Visitor Program’s quarterly review.

Although a large percentage of African students come to Texas, only about 2 percent of them end up at UT, according to a fall 2012 report by the Office of Information Management and Analysis, known as IMA. Teri Albrecht, director of International Student and Scholar Services, said the reason for the low number of African students at UT could be that a large number of the students are undergraduates. 

“UT-Austin admits very few undergraduate international students compared to other colleges and universities,” Albrecht said. 

According to a fall 2013 report by IMA, international students account for 9.2 percent of the total student population, with 106 of them originating from Africa.

Wilson Amadi, biology senior and president of the African Students Association, said he believes the large African populations in large metropolitan areas such as Houston and Dallas could play a major role in Africans’ decisions to move to Texas. 

“When you move, you bring your family and people you’re closer to,” Amadi said. “And there’s a following, kind of like a trend of thinking there’s more Africans, and there’s more people that I’m similar to in this city, so I’d rather go to this city and start up there.”

Sophia Feleke, rhetoric and writing senior and public relations chair for Students of East Africa, said she believes UT offers many opportunities for African students to find community on campus.

“For foreign students, overall, there are a wide variety of cultural groups on campus,” Feleke said. “African students have different organizations on campus, like Students of East Africa, African Student Association, African American Culture Committee and many more that give them opportunities to meet other students on campus of similar backgrounds.” 

Feleke said she believes the hard work put in by people’s families to come to America could be a motivating factor for African students to come to UT.

“Something stressed in the African culture is the importance of education,” Feleke said. “No matter which country in Africa we’re from, I believe that’s something many of our families share. You just understand that your family worked hard to come to this country in order to give you all the opportunities they never had. Coming to an outstanding university like UT gives African students that chance.”