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Planning your finances

Currency in Nigeria

The currency used in Nigeria is the Nigerian Naira. Bank notes are in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1,000 Naira. Coins are multiples of the smallest currency value 'kobo'. These are seldom used for transactions. 


Opening a Nigerian Bank Account

There are several banks in Nigeria, most of which are regional or international banks and offer student accounts. There are several within a short radius from the campus – a 10-20 minute drive from the University. During your Orientation Programme, we will give you further advice on how to open an account. 

When you apply for an account you will need your international passport, your Resident Permit, some passport photographs and in most cases, a letter from the University as proof that you are a student (specific requirements differ among the various banks). 

You will have to wait up to two weeks for your account to become active, so bring sufficient cash with you to buy essential items you may need during those first two weeks 

Once your account is active, you will be given a Naira debit card which can be used to purchase goods in shops or to withdraw cash. You will be sent a PIN number, which you should memorize and never share with anyone. You will need this every time you use your card. Cash dispensing machines, or automated teller machines (ATMs) are available at all banks; and most shopping malls, for you to withdraw cash from your Nigerian bank accounts. 

The exchange rate for foreign currency is generally better at banks than at travel agencies or in the city. Charges are also likely to be lower in banks – always ask. 


Cost of Living in Abuja

Prices are comparable with most sub-Saharan countries but will be considerably higher than Liberia, Sierra Leone, Cameroon and Niger. The cost of eating out can vary considerably, depending on the locality and type of restaurant. So check the menu before you order. Uncooked, fresh and frozen food is expensive, compared with some countries but most supermarkets have ‘deals’ which change from week to week, so shop around and buy intelligently. The most popular supermarkets are Shoprite, Next Stores and Game. 

Travel within the city is relatively cheap, unless you're making use of hired taxis. Care should be taken when making use of public transport – always be aware of your surroundings!


University Scholarships

Everywhere in the world, higher education is becoming increasingly expensive, especially post-graduate level education. It is also common knowledge that education in the Sciences and Engineering, at any level, is particularly expensive. In the case of AUST, a key founding principle of the institution is that no capable student who qualifies for admission should be denied access for lack of funding. To that end, the university is continually engaged in a process of fund-raising and forging partnerships with a variety of organisations and agencies that have the capacity to provide funding for scholarships. However, the pool for such funds is also dwindling. It is therefore important that all applicants understand that admission into the university should not be construed as also automatically guaranteeing funding. Therefore, as much as possible, we encourage all applicants to also explore ways to fund their studies. The university will always do its best to support those who qualify, whenever it can. In that regard, it should be noted that different funders have different conditions and criteria for offering funds for scholarships. In our case, the majority of our funders cover such items as tuition, board and lodging and activities directly related to the study program. Students who receive an offer for a university scholarship should take time to carefully note the items covered in that offer. Of particular importance is to note that, in general, the scholarship does not include a stipend for personal expenses, unless otherwise clearly stated. Incoming students are therefore encouraged to make provisions for small amounts of pocket money to cover personal expenses. In almost all cases, the items covered by the university award cover everything that a student needs to successfully live and study here.

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