How to apply for a federal government scholarship in Nigeria

Getting a federal government scholarship can help fund your tertiary education in Nigeria. In this guide, we will discuss the different federal scholarship programs that are available, eligibility criteria, application process, and deadlines. 


The Federal Government of Nigeria offers several scholarship schemes aimed at supporting education and human capital development in the country. These scholarship programs are administered by government agencies and provide tuition funding, book allowance, stipend, and other benefits to eligible Nigerian students.

Some of the major federal scholarship schemes available include the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) Scholarship, Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) Overseas Scholarship, Education Tax Fund (ETF) Scholarship and more. Qualified students can apply for scholarships to pursue undergraduate, masters or PhD programs both within and outside Nigeria.

Getting a federal scholarship is highly competitive. However, with adequate preparation and by meeting all eligibility criteria, your chances of being selected increase substantially. In this post, we will explore the various federal scholarship opportunities in detail and provide a step-by-step guide on how to apply. By the end, you should feel confident about putting together a winning application.

Let’s begin!

Eligibility Criteria for Federal Scholarships in Nigeria

To be considered for most federal scholarships in Nigeria, there are some basic eligibility requirements applicants must meet:

  • Nationality: Applicant must be a citizen of Nigeria by birth.
  • Age: The applicant’s age must be within the cutoff range specified for each scholarship scheme. For example, the TETFund scholarship is open to applicants between the ages of 16-30 years.
  • Academic Qualification: Applicants must have the minimum academic requirement – usually a first degree (for masters programs) or O’Level credits (for undergraduate programs). Tertiary education results also factor in selection.
  • Institutional Affiliation: Scholarships are usually open to applicants seeking admission into accredited Nigerian tertiary institutions only.
  • Medical Requirements: Shortlisted candidates may need to pass a medical examination to prove physical and mental fitness.
  • Marital Status: Some scholarships only accept applications from unmarried individuals below a certain age limit.
  • State of Origin: For scholarships with quotas, priority may be given to applicants from certain states/geopolitical zones in Nigeria.
  • Mode of Study: The program of study must be full-time and in Nigeria for most scholarships. Others fund studies abroad.

Do check the eligibility guidelines of individual scholarship schemes closely to avoid disqualification on technical grounds. Fulfilling basic criteria only makes you eligible to apply – you still need a strong application to be selected.

More opportunities

Major Federal Scholarship Schemes in Nigeria

Now, let’s examine some of the most prominent federal scholarship opportunities available in detail:

1. Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) Scholarships

  • TETFund is an intervention agency working to improve the quality of tertiary education in Nigeria. It offers several academic scholarship schemes annually.
  • Eligible candidates must have a minimum UTME score and be seeking admission into accredited Nigerian universities and polytechnics.
  • Scholarships cover tuition, book allowance, stipend, and project research grants. Duration ranges from 1-4 years, depending on the program of study.
  • Application process is online via the TETFund website. Deadline is usually late June/early July each year. Highly competitive with over 100,000 applications annually.

2. Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) Overseas Scholarship

  • PTDF is a government parastatal promoting science and technology education in the oil and gas sector.
  • Overseas scholarship places Nigerians in the top 100 universities worldwide for master’s and Ph.D. programs related to the petroleum sector.
  • Fully funded packages cover tuition, accommodation, feeding, medical allowance, supplementary grants, and a monthly stipend.
  • Candidates must have a first-class or upper-second-class degree in a relevant field from a Nigerian university. IELTS score also required.
  • The application portal opens in February/March on The deadline is usually the end of April with a selection examination in May.

3. Education Tax Fund (ETF) Scholarships

  • ETF provides intervention funding for education projects using a 2% tax levied on company profits in Nigeria.
  • The scheme sponsors hundreds of Nigerian undergraduates annually to study in local universities. Core subjects like sciences and technology is prioritized.
  • Tuition, books allowance and monthly stipend provided up to graduation. Automatic scholarship renewal is based on maintaining good academic standing.
  • Candidates must have five credit level passes, including English and Mathematics, for the SSCE/GCE O/Level exam. An admission placement exam may be conducted.

4. NNPC/NNPC Foundation Undergraduate Scholarship

  • Scholarship awarded by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and its education support arm, NNPC Foundation.
  • Supports Nigerian undergraduates studying petroleum-related disciplines like engineering and geology full-time at local universities.
  • Tuition, book and project grants are provided throughout the degree program. A monthly stipend also paid to scholars.
  • Candidates must have 5 credits including English and Mathematics in O/Level with minimum cut-off points in JAMB/post-UME exams.

The above gives you an overview of the major scholarship schemes administered by different Federal Government bodies. To recap key details – fields of study supported, eligibility, benefits provided, duration, and application process.

Detailed Application Process for Federal Scholarships

Now that we’ve covered the key scholarship programs let’s examine the step-by-step application process in more detail:

Initiate Early Planning

Months before the deadline, identify suitable programs and check entry requirements. Give any placement exams if required. Prepare all documents like academic transcripts, birth certificates, etc. This planning stage is crucial.

Register for the Scholarship Portal

For online scholarship applications, you need to register and create a profile on the relevant funding agency’s scholarship portal. Portals open 2-3 months before deadline.

Complete Online Application Form

Fill the online form providing all personal and academic details truthfully. Attach required supporting documents like statement of purpose, recommendation letters, etc. as single PDF files.

Take Mandatory Tests

Some scholarships require candidates to take selection/aptitude tests at designated centers. Dates are announced along with the application process. Mark these important exam dates in your calendar.

Monitor Application Status

Check your portal dashboard regularly for updates on application status. Login to access admission exam results or requests for supplementary documents if shortlisted.

Prepare for the Final Selection Stages

Shortlisted candidates may have panel interviews, medical examinations, or physical verification of documents. Keep practice tests ready depending on your scholarship scheme.

Receive Award Selection Letter

Finally, successful candidates will receive award selection letters via email and their portal. Scholarship activation is subject to the admitting institution’s acceptance of the awarded candidate.

That covers the end-to-end process from awareness to receiving a scholarship award. Stay organized, follow up actively, and manage your expectations to maximize your chances of succeeding in the application process.

Key Application Tips for Federal Scholarships

Here are some additional practical tips for putting together a strong federal scholarship application:

  • Ensure your personal statement clearly highlights why you deserve this scholarship award over other candidates.
  • Request recommendation letters from relevant referees like lecturers who can vouch for your character and caliber.
  • Provide complete academic transcripts right from secondary school. Do not leave any gaps which may raise suspicions.
  • Spell-check your documents thoroughly before uploading to avoid silly mistakes. Have others proofread as well.
  • Follow the given formatting guidelines and attach documents in the correct file types/sizes to prevent technical errors.
  • Supply additional relevant certificates and evidence of extracurricular activities/leadership roles held.
  • Check application status regularly and respond to queries swiftly if contacted for clarification or incomplete submissions.
  • You can mention state/local government scholarships won previously to demonstrate your credentials.
  • For interviews, prepare responses to questions about your career goals, fields of interest, and how scholarship will help achieve them.

Keeping these application hacks in mind can elevate your chances against competition from other qualified candidates countrywide. All the best!

Applying to Scholarship Portals and Deadlines

At this point, you must be ready to begin your scholarship applications. Let me wrap up by detailing some important portals and their deadlines:

Deadline usually between June 15 and July 15 annually

Deadline typically end of April for same-year admission

Monitor these official scholarship websites and social media pages for important announcements like portal openings, exam dates, and deadline extensions if any. All the best with your applications!

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