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NUC Requirements for Establishing A Private University in Nigeria

Private Universities in Nigeria in Nigeria is growing at a fast and comfortable rate owing to the Federal government’s policy on the requirements for establishing a private university in Nigeria. There are over 79 private universities in Nigeria owned by individuals, groups, organizations and the likes. You can own a private university in Nigeria should you meet the following requirements which I will be listing by stating the steps required one after the other in the right order of application.

Please note that a private university may be sponsored or owned by a private individual or body, group, NGO or the likes or by any of the following, that is:-

a.  By a Company incorporated in Nigeria: or
b.  By an individual or association of individuals who are citizens of Nigeria, and who satisfy the criteria set out in the Schedule to this Act for establishment of institutions.

Aside stating the NUC requirements for setting up a private university in Nigeria, I will be providing the following information:

  1. The required documents to be presented by the board to the National Universities Commission (NUC) as required.
  2. How to apply for license for establishment of private universities in Nigeria.
  3. The minimum liquid cash amount required for setting up a private university in Nigeria.
  4. All steps which includes physical verification visit to the school’s site to be carried out by the NUC before the license will be approved.
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National University Commission

This post is all encompassing so you will need to take your time to study all requirements as approved by the Federal Ministry of Education through the National Universities Commission.

NUC Requirements for Establishing A Private University in Nigeria

To start the process of you application for establishing your private university, please follow the steps below:

Step 1 – Application, in writing, stating the intent for the establishment of the University

Interested applicants are expected to apply in writing, to the Executive Secretary, NUC, stating the intent for the establishment of the university. The declaration of intent should include, in brief, the name of the proposed University, the location, the mission and vision, the nature of the proposed university and its proposed focal niche in the current Nigerian University System, etc.

Step 2 – Interview of Promoters to Ascertain their Seriousness

Promoters will be interviewed by the NUC to have an indepth knowledge on the level of preparedness by the applying body.

Step 3 – Collection of Application Forms

Following due consideration of the application in writing, individuals or corporate bodies seeking to establish a private university are expected to send a representative to come to the Commission with the prescribed payment to collect a set of ten (10) application forms in person. Upon collection of the forms, copies of guidelines and other requirements are also given for proper guidance. Other clarifications are also sought and given as appropriate.

Step 4 – Submission of Application Forms and Relevant Documents

The completed application forms are forwarded with a non-refundable processing fee in Bank Draft addressed to NUC along with one or more of the following documents, if ready:

  • Draft Academic Brief;
  • Draft Physical Masterplan;
  • Draft University Law;
  • Counterpart Deed of Assignment;
  • Certificate of Incorporation/Registration of Proprietors (accompanied with Articles and Memorandum of Association);
  • Deed of Assignment/Certificate of Occupancy;
  • Letter of Available Liquid Cash; and
  • Bank Guarantee of Funds to the tune of N200 Million from a reputable Bank.

It is usually advised that the last two documents should not be procured by the applicant until processing of the application has reached an advanced stage. Submission should also be at the instance of the Directorate of Establishment of Private Universities (DEPU).

Step 5 – Interactive Meeting of DEPU with the proposed university

Normally, DEPU invites the members of the Planning & Implementation Committee of the proposed university to NUC for an interactive meeting as a prelude to the first verification visit to its campus site. During the meeting, the process of documentation and other matters bordering on university governance are discussed and many grey areas are resolved. The meeting also affords the proposed university the opportunity to interact with the Executive Secretary/Chief Executive of NUC and his Management team for words of advice and encouragement. Also, a seminar presentation is delivered to avail the prospective Proprietors of the basic philosophy of universities and their societal roles.

Step 6 – Completion of Submission of Outstanding relevant documents

The Proprietors of the private Universities who had submitted part of the relevant documents, are expected to make full submissions at this stage. The relevant documents, include the draft Academic Briefs, draft Masterplan and the draft University Law.

Step 7 – Intensive Review/Analysis of Documents by experts in Relevant NUC Departments

Following submission of the completed application forms and relevant documents, the documents are forwarded to the professional Departments for analysis after which their comments and observations on such documents are sent to the Committee for onward transmission to the proposed university. For instance, Academic Brief and Masterplan documents are forwarded to the Department of Academic Standards. The legal documents such as the University Law, Counterpart Deed of Assignment, Certificate of Incorporation/Registration and Deed of Assignment/Certificate of Occupancy are usually forwarded to the Legal Unit of the Office of the Executive Secretary.

Step 8 – First Verification Visit

DEPU undertakes a verification visit to the proposed university to review their documents with them on one-on-one basis and to assess the level of preparedness in terms of documentation. During this visit, inspection of physical facilities is also undertaken to ascertain their adequacy for the proposed Colleges for the first phase. In addition, courtesy calls are paid to the government establishments that provide infrastructural facilities such as electricity, water and telecommunication including the traditional rulers and local government headquarters of where the proposed university is located. These visits are undertaken to solicit support of the host community for the proposed university and also let them know that a university is being proposed in that area.This visit is considered very important as it reveals whether the Proprietor is committed to the project and is a prerequisite to the final verification visit.

Step 9 – Revision of Documentation by Proprietors based on Report by DEPU of NUC

In view of the first visit, the proposed university is expected to revise its documents and undertake the modifications of its facilities to reflect the prescriptions given during the visit. The revised documents are forwarded to NUC for assessment of compliance. If found that progress has been made in that direction, the second (final) verification visit is scheduled to the proposed university.

Step 10 – Second Verification Visit

This is expected to be the final visit to the proposed university, depending on the level of compliance with the given prescriptions. As a result, the documents are reviewed along with the Planning & Implementation Committee with a view to perfecting them as to bring them to an acceptable level. The evidence of available liquid cash documents are inspected and analyzed by the financial expert on the Committee. The Bank Guarantee of Fund to the tune of N200 million will also be sighted along with other legal documents for eventual submission to NUC. Final inspection of physical facilities is also carried out to ascertain whether they are in consonance with the approved NUC norms.

Step 11 – Security Screening of Proprietors and Board of Trustees

The purpose of screening the proprietor (Promoter) and members of Board of Trustees of the proposed universities is to enable the Government to ascertain the credibility of those who are sponsoring the university project and to ensure that they are not persons of questionable character.

Step 12 – Approval By NUC Management

DEPU, on return to NUC from the final verification visit, writes a comprehensive report with scores to the NUC Management for its consideration and further necessary action.

Step 13 – Approval By NUC Board

The NUC Management, upon receipt of DEPU report on the proposed university, considers and makes appropriate recommendation to the University Development Committee (UDC) of the NUC Board for its consideration after which the latter submits it to the Board for ratification. The Board, thereafter, forwards its recommendation to the Federal Government through the Honourable Minister of Education for its consideration and approval.

Lastly, Approval by Federal Executive Council

This is the last and final stage of the approval process. Here, the Federal Executive Council considers the recommendations of the NUC Board and Security report on the proposed university’s Promoters. If approved, a three-year Provisional Licence is granted the Proprietor. Only satisfactory performance during the probationary period will earn the Proprietor a substantive License.

From the above steps, you will see that the stages in approval of granting license for the establishments of private universities in Nigeria requires a rigorous assessment of the applying body. All documents and requirements for establishment of a private university must be duly met else your application will be stalled.

I hope this information has helped in giving you all you need to know about the requirements for establishing a private university in Nigeria inline with the NUC’s approved guidelines. If you have any question as regards the above, please feel free to send your questions through the comment section below below and I will be glad to assist.

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