African students in the United States, student studies, Brigham Young University


Black African students first began enrolling at Brigham Young University (BYU) in the mid 1960's. Most were from Nigeria and Ghana, having been sent by their governments to receive a higher education. In the late 1970's, students from other Black African countries began enrolling at BYU. But in the 1980's, government support was not as strong. As one former BYU graduate student from Nigeria put it: "When I first came here in 1980 there were at least 30 Nigerian students. There were so many of them because the government was sponsoring them. Now the numbers have decreased because the government has cut [back] on sponsoring the students."

Table 1 shows that Black Africans constitute a small percentage of the international students at BYU. According to the Office of International Students, the number of Black African students enrolled has remained the same over each of the last fifteen years, though the number of African countries represented has grown from four to sixteen. Although there are many races and cultures represented in Africa, this study focuses on Black African students studying at BYU. Therefore, throughout this document, the terms Africans, African students, Black Africans, and Black African students will be used to refer to this group of students.

As the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has expanded to become an international church, the number of international students who come to BYU has expanded as well. As more African countries allow the LDS Church to proselyte and more Black Africans become converted to Mormonism, BYU officials expect an increase in the number of Black Africans who come to BYU.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

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Instructional Psychology and Technology

University Standing at Time of Publication

Graduate Student