Structural barriers

There are much bigger problems for athletes in Africa than just infrastructural ones. To name one of them, at many US universities language tests are mandatory even though English is the official language of Nigeria. Another serious issue are the fees for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), as well as visa costs. In addition to being expensive, with prices ranging from 50 € to 250 €, administering language tests is also quite challenging logistically. While for in-person testing, there are high travel expenses involved, online testing is difficult since only few people have access to laptops and other essential tools.

Another serious issue is the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) fee as international students must pay $ 160 to register. A credit card is necessary in order to pay this online fee. However, applying for a credit card requires having a bank account and a corresponding credit history which, for most people in Africa is impossible to acquire. And even when a U.S. bank account is present, the rules governing money transactions are extremely complicated.

Visa costs are another major obstacle. The fees are divided into the Sevis fee ($350) and visa fee ($185). Even though the Sevis fee is valid for 12 months, waiting times for visa appointments in countries like Nigeria and Kenya can range between 6 and 12 months. As a result, it sometimes happens that the Sevis fee expires before an appointment can be made. Without assistance from organizations such as Scholarbook, approximately two out of every three applicants get visa denials. Applications may be submitted again, but doing so requires scheduling new appointments and paying the visa fee once more.


Visa problems

Obtaining U.S. student visas in poor nations presents another challenge during the application process. Scholarbook makes every effort to fulfil athletes’ dreams of studying in the United States. We therefore spare no effort to secure them a visa. When athletes were denied visas in Kenya or Nigeria, we often pay their tickets to Germany so they can apply at American embassies there. During their stay, we cover costs for food and accommodation. By taking these steps, we frequently succeed where others fail and have assisted these athletes in obtaining their U.S. visa.

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