National Institute on Aging

Study Examines Whether African Students at Western Universities Return to Africa

african-alumni-project-final-full-report-aug-2016-copyIn 2013, the University of California, Berkeley launched the African Alumni Project in an effort to track what happened to more than 300 scholars from sub-Saharan Africa who graduated from the University of California, Berkeley and five other Western universities in the 1966-to-2014 period. The initiative has now released a report of its findings.

The results showed that 45 percent of the graduates of Western universities returned to Africa within 12 months of completing their degrees. Five percent returned to Africa later and 7 percent spent part of their time in Africa and part of their time outside of Africa. A full 43 percent did not return to Africa. And the return rate of Africa has been declining. In the 1970s, 65 percent of the African scholars who earned degrees at Western universities returned to Africa. Since 2010 the rate is only 40 percent.

Graduate students were more likely to return to Africa than undergraduates. African students who majored in health and agricultural disciplines were the most likely to return to Africa. Those that majored in business, law, or engineering were among the least likely to return. Men were more likely to return to Africa than women.

The full report, Career Choices, Return Paths and Social Contributions: The African Alumni Project, may be downloaded by clicking here.


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