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Setting up a private university in Nigeria is big business. You should have the financial resources to pursue this opportunity as this can run into the hundreds of millions or billions as the case may be. However, there are several other requirements to be met before qualifying for obtaining a licence. The National Universities Commission NUC is the federal agency saddled with the responsibility of registering new universities. Hence there are minimum requirements or standards set by the NUC for registration of private universities. Therefore this article will provide the basic information you need on setting up a private university in Nigeria.

SEE ALSO: How to Setup a Private School (15 Steps)

The Need for Private University Education in Nigeria

There is steady population growth in Nigeria. With this growth comes an accompanying need for an adequate number of educational institutions to cater for the educational needs of the population. However, there seems to be a shortage in the number of these institutions of learning especially at the tertiary level. This is coupled with the preference for university education among Nigerians.

The existing federal and state universities in Nigeria do not seem able to handle the sheer number of applications which in most cases seem overwhelming. A third option seems like the saving grace. This third option is private university education. Therefore the sector is open for private investments where individuals and organisations can invest.

Another advantage of private university education in Nigeria is that students have a definite timeline for graduation. Unlike public universities where academic calendars are punctuated by strike actions, private universities are shielded from these problems. Private universities also have an added advantage of quality education.

NUC Standards for Establishing Private Universities

The NUC has set minimum standards for the establishment of private universities in Nigeria. You need to be a citizen of Nigeria before applying for a license. Although there are other requirements too. Applications are made to the minister of education through the National Universities Commission NUC.

Application Process

As stated above, any application for establishment of a private university in Nigeria should go through the office of the Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission to the Minister of Education. The following steps are procedures you must follow if you want to achieve your desired goals.

Step 1: Applying in Writing

You should apply in writing to the executive secretary of the NUC with a clear statement of purpose or intent. Your declaration of intent should include basic things such as the proposed name of the university, the type or nature of the university such as a university of agriculture or university of technology etc. Other details should include the location, mission, and vision of the university.

Step 2: The Interview Process

There is an assessment of your capacity to handle this project

Step 3: Issuance of Application Forms

After applying in writing, the next important step is the consideration of all applications. Representatives must collect 10 copies of application forms. These forms are also accompanied by a guide on how to correctly fill them. An application fee applies.

More Requirements

Step 4: Submission of Duly Completed Forms.

You should try to meet deadlines by submitting all completed forms. Your supporting documents should include a draft physical master plan, a counterpart deed of assignment, a certificate of registration of proprietors, and a certificate of incorporation. Others are draft academic obrief, draft university law, certificate of occupancy, letter of available liquid assets, as well as a 200 million naira funds guarantee from a bank of reputable standing.

Step 5: An Interactive Session

Before visiting the proposed site of the University by a fact-finding team from the NUC, it invites the implementation and planning committee of the proposed university to an interactive session.

An intensive review process follows your application. This happens at departmental level. A team from the NUC visits the proposed site on a fact finding mission. The visiting team will raise salient points. A full compliance should follow. NUC undertakes a second verification visit. This is the final visit.

Security screening follows involving board members. If found to be satisfactory, it gets an approval by  the NUC management. The NUC board also approves as well as a final approval by the Federal Executive Council.

SEE ALSO: How to Setup eCommerce (Online Store) in Nigeria


Without following the above laid guidelines, it is impossible to start a private university in Nigeria. All the above procedures are necessary for starting a private university.

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