Education, most especially higher education is a vibrant tool for the economic growth and development of an economy. It is a known fact that an economy with trained and educated citizens has a tremendous impact on the positive growth of a nation (Ahmed 2013). The higher education of any country contributes to teaching, learning and encourages research which increases the knowledge base of such a country (Babalola 1998). In a recent research that was carried out on economic growth, it was realized that adequate financing of higher education plays an active role in the rapid development of an economy (Romer 1986 and Lucas 1988). Thus, the funding of universities cost much and any fund pumped into the system has a long term positive impact on both the students and the country at the long run. Therefore, it is imperative to enhance the policies, programmes and strategies of the higher education system. University graduates contribute immensely to the economy of a nation, as they intently become the workforce of such a nation, thereby returning their income into the economy. Though this is hindered by the fact that some undergraduates may not complete their programmes or the graduates stand the risk of being unemployed on graduation. These graduates are referred to as human capital, they cannot be traded and yet they cannot be used for security loans. This can discourage people to have interest for higher education considering the cost constraints. However, the need for loan by the government comes into play to assist those who desire to go to higher education, though have no funds.

In Nigeria, the government is the primary source of funding for the higher education, even as it has the duty of funding other sectors. Education in Nigeria is hampered by some factors which include inadequate funding, incompetent teachers, poor infrastructure, unstable curriculum, etc. (Ahmed & Adepoju 2013). The higher education funding has a major problem of poor funding by the government; it is evident that in the last decade the number of higher education students increased greatly, while the money allocated to education dropped from about 11.0 percent in 2002 to 9.7 percent of the total government expenditure in 2013 (Ahmed 2013). Considering that the government has the obligation of financing other sectors, managing the scarce resources available; the education sector is allocated little to match with the much that it entails.

In other to avoid these discrepancies, the society must contribute to higher education; it must not be left to be government alone so as to have an average return of graduates to the growth of the society. Though it is pertinent to note that different individuals have different educational risks based on their talent, determination and flexibility; thus it beholds on students to choose their education based on their educational risks.

This study seeks to examine the risk, resources, and education- public versus private financing of higher education in Nigeria.


Over the years in Nigeria, the level of unemployment in Nigeria keeps increasing and this is one of the risks faced by Nigerian graduates. After spending much on the cost of education, Nigerian graduates are left stranded with nothing to make income.

Similarly, the cost of education is one of the challenges Nigerian students have. The government funds different sectors of the economy, of which education is a part of. It is observed that very little revenue is allocated to the education sector and as a result of this, students are tasked to pay more for their tuition; and this has a way of discouraging prospective students from going to the higher institution.

These are some of the problems under study.                          

1.3   OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY                          

        The major objective of this study is risk, resources, and education- public versus private financing of higher education in Nigeria.

                Other specific objectives include:

a)   To determine the significant relationship between financing of higher education and economic growth of Nigeria.

b)   To examine the impact of private financing on higher education in Nigeria.

c)   To identify other sources of financing higher education in Nigeria.

d)   To examine if private financing of higher education is preferable to public financing.


        The following research questions are generated to guide this study:

a)   Is there a significant relationship between financing of higher education and economic growth of Nigeria?

b)   What are the impacts of private financing on higher education in Nigeria?

c)   What are the other sources of financing higher education in Nigeria?

d)   Is private financing of higher education more preferable to public financing?


H0:   There is no significant relationship between financing of higher education and economic growth of Nigeria.

H1:   There is a significant relationship between financing of higher education and economic growth of Nigeria.


This study is meant to inform, educate and sensitize the general public, higher school administrators and the government on the risk, resources and education-public versus private financing of higher education in Nigeria.

This study is meant to inform higher school administrators that there is need to source for other means of funds other than the government as what is allocated to the higher institutions is not sufficient.

To the government, this study is meant to encourage them on the need to step-up on the fund allocated to higher institutions.

This study will be of immense benefit to other researchers who intend to know more on this topic and can also be used by non-researchers to build more on their work. This study contributes to knowledge and could serve as a guide for other work or study.




This study is restricted to the risk, resources and education- public and private financing of higher education in Nigeria.

Limitations of study

  1. 1.        Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
  2. 2.        Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.




  • RISK: This is a situation involving exposure to danger.
  • RESOURCES: This is a stock or supply of money, materials, staff, and other assets that can be drawn on by a person or organization in order to function effectively.
  • PUBLIC FINANCING: Is the study of the role of the government in the economy. It is the branch of economics which assesses the government revenue and government expenditure of the public authorities and the adjustment of one or the other to achieve desirable effects and avoid undesirable ones.
  • PRIVATE FINANCING: Is a method of providing funds for major capital investments where private firms are contracted to complete and manage public projects. Under a private finance initiative, the private company, instead of the government, handles the up-front costs.
  • HIGHER EDUCATION: This is education at universities or similar educational establishments, especially to degree level.



Ahmed, S (2013) Availability of funds and Utilization in Federal Universities of Technology in North-East Zone of Nigeria: Multidisciplinary Journal of Science, Technology and Vocational Education (MJOSTEVE), Vol. 2, No.1, Pp. 80-90.


Babalola, J. B. (1998). Cost and financing university education in Nigeria. Journal of Higher Education.36, 43-66.


Romer, P.M (1986): “Increasing Returns and Long-Run Growth”; Journal of Political Economy, 94, 1002-1037.

Lucas, R.E. (1988): “On the Mechanics of Economic Development”; Journal of Monetary Economics, 22, 3-42.



Ahmed S & Adepoju O A (2013) Meeting the challenges of Funding University Education in Nigeria. P.K Ojedele, M.O Arikewuyo & A.C Njoku (Eds.) Challenges of Educational Development in Nigeria: Pp. 708-724.


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