A first-of-its-kind partnership between Morgan State University (MSU) and the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TET Fund) will bring more than 100 Nigerian medical students to the HBCU this fall.
The TET Fund is a fiduciary and funding agency of the Federal Government of Nigeria. The fund will bring 70 Nigerian doctoral students and more than 15 Nigerian postdoctoral students to MSU for scholarship and research during the Fall 2021 semester.
MSU officials and TET Fund administrators did not expect to send so many students to the HBCU, but the program received more applications than anyone expected.
“The leadership team of Morgan State University extends its thanks to the Federal Government of Nigeria, Executive Secretary Suleiman Bogoro and the TETFund for this unique and historic opportunity to achieve our common goals in social advancement, economic development and most important the academic exchange and advanced degree attainment within the African continent,” MSU President David Wilson said in a release.
TET Fund administrators visited the campus virtually and in-person last month to discuss the proposed and ongoing research of the Ph.D. students. Fund officials also visited to learn more about the research and development capabilities of MSU, the largest HBCU in the state of Maryland.
Yacob Astatke, D.Eng., assistant vice president for Morgan’s Division of International Affairs, reported more than 600 students applied for the program.
Astatke said in a release that he’s anticipating multiple benefits on both sides from the program.
“Morgan has had great success over the past three years, raising our number of graduating Ph.D. students from 40 to 50 per year to close to 70, and sustaining that number. With the TETFund partnership, we will add close to 70 more doctoral graduates each year for the next five years,” Astatke said. “It is easy to envision MSU rising from the pack to become the nation’s leader in conferring Ph.Ds. to Black students. This will be a significant boost toward our strategic goal of moving Morgan from our current classification as an R2 (‘high research’) institution to an R1 (‘very high research’) institution.”
Wilson added the coronavirus pandemic slowed the implementation of this partnership. Hpowever, it also provided the motivation to move forward with the program, by reminding them just how interconnected the world is today.
The partnership between MSU and the TET Fund is a five-year agreement designed to create a pathway for students to pursue PhDs. and postdoctoral research in disciplines relevant to the developmental needs of Nigeria. The partnership also moves MSU towards fulfillment of its global aspirations.
The agreement provides the doctoral students with scholarships and other grants to fully fund their tuition, fees and living expenses for at least three years. The program also calls for TET Fund’s establishment of Centers of Excellence in Nigeria, institutions designed to increase the research capacity of Nigerian higher education institutions through collaborative research with Morgan.