Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

PhD Higher Education Leadership, Management, Policy


Education Leadership, Management and Policy


Eunyoung Kim, Ph.D., Mentor

Committee Member

Barbara V. Strobert, Ed.D.,

Committee Member

Joseph Stetar, Ph.D.


education, university, admissions, access, enrollment, carrying capacity, Federal Character, quota system and catchment area, gross enrollment ratio (GER), absorption rate, National Universities Commission (NUC), Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB)


The need for access to university education has recently become vital in Nigeria as a result of an increase in the college-age population and an awareness of the role of university education in the development of the individual as well as the nation. Recent admission policies of Nigerian universities have been dissatisfactory to the Nigerian public as many applicants and parents go through difficulties while seeking admission for limited available spaces in the universities. Universities take the task of admission of students into the academic system seriously, using the guidelines set by the National Universities Commission (NUC) and the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB). The National Universities Commission (NUC), which regulates university education in terms of standards, has set policies based on merit, carrying capacity, catchment areas, and quota for educationally disadvantaged states as criteria for admission into all universities. It has been argued that rather than these policies enhancing access to university education, the criteria restrict access to higher education. Each year, thousands of applicants sit for the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) examinations and less than twenty percent (20%) on the average gain admission into the universities. This study reviews research on the historical overview of the Nigerian higher education system, organizational system of Nigerian universities, and scholarly views on the factors (such as inadequate number of universities/absorption capacity in Nigeria, lack of adequate facilities, and shortage of adequate manpower) and admission policies (such as carrying capacity, catchment areas, and quota for educationally disadvantaged states) that are responsible for the admission crisis in Nigeria and have a direct effect on parents and students regarding admission. The review concludes that the above factors and policies are the actual cause of the admission crisis in Nigeria, leading many parents and youth to face difficult challenges in seeking admission.