Nigerian Universities and Their Catchment Areas: Increasing Your Admission Chances

According to Dr. Fabian Benjamin, Head of Information at the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), admission is defined in areas of merit, catchment area and educationally less developed states (ELDS). Merit gets 45%, 35% is for catchment area. Each university is localized within a number of states. Those states get 35% of the admitted candidates. And 20% goes to those from educationally less developed states.

What are University Catchment Areas?

By definition catchment areas are the geographical areas served by an institution. To break it down a little bit, we can also say the geographical areas in which an institution is located.

Every Federal Government universities in Nigeria have their own catchment areas that they primarily serve. This does not mean that the school will not admit students outside the catchment area, but the catchment areas are given special considerations. I hope that makes sense to you?

Assuming you are from Edo State and you want to apply for admission into University of Benin, then you will have advantage over those who are not from the school’s catchment area.

To clarify further, let us use the University of Lagos, UNILAG as an example. There are 6 states in Nigeria that belong to the school’s catchment area: Oyo, Lagos, Osun, Ogun, Ondo and Ekiti.

This states are given special consideration when it comes to admitting students UTME into University of Lagos, in the sense that the cut-off marks assigned to this state are always lower than the merit cut off assigned to every other states.

To understand this much better, check out the photo below.

Looking at the screenshot above, you will notice that the catchment cut-off under each state is lower than the merit cut off.

The merit cut applies to people outside those six states while the catchment cut off applies to people that comes from the six states – that is people who are from the states.

Note that this does not mean that because you are from any of the catchment areas, you are automatically admitted! Gaining admission into any Universities in Nigeria is a tug of war!

The simple truth is that if a candidate from another state outside the catchment area meets the merit cut off for a course, he or she will be admitted and if you are from any of the catchment and you failed to meet the catchment cut-offs you will not be admitted.

Some Nigerian Universities and Their Catchment Areas

This system is a way of recognizing natives of a locality where a school resides. This is one of the reasons why all Nigerian states have at least a University so as to main equality in access to education. Nevertheless, excellence is not sacrifice on the basis of where you come from, catchment sometimes helps and serves as tie-breaker.

Students who have analyzed their strengths knowing well they cannot compete strongly with others are advised to seek admission in Schools where their states of origin is a catchment.

1. Ahmadu Bello University:

Kaduna, Adamawa, Bauchi, Benue, Borno, Jigawa, Kano, Gombe, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Katsina, Niger, Plateau, Sokoto, Nasarawa, Yobe, Zamfara, Taraba

2. ATBU:

Bauchi, Adamawa, Benue, Borno, Gombe, Taraba, Yobe

3. BUK:

Kano, Jigawa, Kaduna, Katsina, Kebbi, Sokoto, Zamfara

4. FUTA:

Ondo, Ekiti, Lagos, Osun, Oyo

5. FUTMinna:

Niger, Benue, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Nasarawa, Plateau, Sokoto, Zamfara

6. FUTO:

Imo, Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu

7. FUTYola:

Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba, Yobe

8. OAU:

Osun, Ekiti, Lagos, Oyo, Ondo


Sokoto, Jigawa, Kwara, Kebbi, Katsina, Kano, Kano, Kaduna, Nasarawa, Niger, Zamfara

10. UNN:

Enugu, Abia, Anambra, Bayelsa, Cross-River, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, Imo, Rivers


Edo, Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross-River, Delta, Rivers


Cross-River, Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta, Edo, Rivers


Plateau, Benue, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Nasarawa, Niger


Lagos, Ekiti, Lagos, Osun, Oyo, Ondo, Ogun


Kwara, Benue, Kebbi, Kogi, Nasarawa, Plateau, Sokoto, Zamfara


Borno, Adamawa, Borno, Bauchi, Gombe, Taraba, Yobe


Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross-River, Delta, Edo, Rivers


Anambra, Abia, Enugu, Ebonyi, Imo


All States of the Federation.

There are also some states which are accepted as educationally less developed states (ELDS) in any federal university and for these states, the merit cut-off mark for admission is reduced. These states include: Adamawa, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue, Borno, Cross-River, Ebonyi, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Nasarawa, Niger, Plateau, Rivers, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe, Zamfara. According to the Federal Government (NUC) Admission Policy, 20% of those offered admission are supposed to be from ELDS.

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