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Almost 300 African students will enter American colleges and universities next fall, David D. Henry, director of the African Scholarship Program of American Universities, said recently.
Public and private institutions in 41 states and the District of Columbia will provide complete four-year undergraduate scholarships for the Africans.
Last Friday eight American college admissions officers left for countries in Central and East Africa to begin the selection process. The American officials will win African educators and civic leaders in making the final choice.
More than 200 American colleges have joined the ASPAU since it was begun in 1959. In the first year of the program, 24 African students entered American colleges, but last year the number jumped to 238.
Henry, who is also the director of the International Students Office at Harvard, attributes the success of the ASPAU to American educators' "Working in close collaboration with their African counterparts and selecting only well qualified African students to come to the United States."
The original group of African students, Henry noted, "achieved first year marks including 20 A's, 67 B's, 26 C's and only 2 D's." He said that last year's group of students on ASPAU scholarships is also doing well scholastically.
Henry stressed that "adequate provision is made for meeting most of the student's anticipated expenses for a normal four-year American degree course before he leaves Africa." This financial security enables the students to adjust more readily to college life.
ASPAU must continue to expand, Henry said, "because African countries have more qualified university candidates than they can accommodate locally." He emphasized that the program is also vital in America in that it "enables our universities to develop an extended vision of their proper role in today's world."
As a result of ASPAU, Henry said, "American colleges are engaging in more activities abroad and expanding the number of foreign nationals in their student bodies."
Ethiopia, Basutoland, Bechuanaland, and Swaziland will send students to the United States under the program for the first time next year. Only countries in Sub-Sahara Africa participate in the program.
ASPAU, with the cooperation of the African-American Institute, the Council on Student Travel, and the Experiment in International Living, assists in the selection of students and arranges both shipboard orientation courses and a month-long stay in an American home for the successful applicants.
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