The federal government of Nigeria aims to fully implement the recently passed Student Loan Act by September 2023, according to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education. The Act, introduced by former Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, aims to provide interest-free loans to students to boost the country’s education sector. The loan scheme will offer loans for indigent students studying in public universities, polytechnics, and colleges of education. The government is working on the modalities of the scheme to ensure that all interested Nigerian students can benefit from it without discrimination. A Nigerian Education Bank will also be established to provide education loans.
The federal government is working to ensure the full implementation of the newly passed Student Loan Act in Nigeria by September 2023, as per information obtained by Naijafavourite.
Mr. David Adejo, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education, revealed this during a public hearing conducted by the House of Representatives ad hoc committee on student loans in Abuja on Tuesday.
According to him, preparations have been made for the implementation of the student loans scheme in the 2023/2024 academic calendar.
The Permanent Secretary also clarified that the increase in university charges across the country was not a result of the signing of the Students’ Loan Act. He stated that no federal university is allowed to charge tuition fees in the country.
He said, “what they collect is charges to cover the cost of accommodation, ICT, and power, among others. It is the Governing Councils of the Universities that have the power to approve such charges for them.
“The only university that increased charges after the signing of the student loans act is the University of Lagos.
“They came to the Ministry with a proposal to increase their charges because all Governing Councils were dissolved and we gave them approval.
“Immediately that was done, there was a resolution from the House stopping the increase in fees and the President also gave a directive stopping any increase in fees and that is where it is, even though several others have brought their proposal,” he said, adding that “despite the charges, the universities had not been able to meet up with some of their expenses.”
Teseer Ugbor, the chairman of the House of Representatives Ad-hoc committee on Students Loan, expressed concern over the disbursement process and the possibility of some students not being able to access the loan. He called for dialogue in the process of amending the law to ensure that all Nigerian students interested in the loan benefit from it.
The Student Loan Act, which was introduced by former House of Representatives speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, passed its second reading on May 23, 2023, and was assented to by President Tinubu on June 12, 2023. The act aims to boost the Nigerian education sector by providing interest-free loans to students.
The scheme will provide interest-free loans for indigent students, with beneficiaries only paying back the exact amount they received. It will also offer loans for poor students seeking higher education in public universities, polytechnics, and colleges of education in the country. All indigent students will have equal rights to access the loan without any form of discrimination based on gender, religion, tribe, position, or disability.
However, the loan will only be accessible to indigent students studying within Nigeria and is solely meant for the payment of tuition fees.
The Act states that a Nigerian Education Bank will also be created to offer education-related loans to all Nigerians.