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Students’ Loan provides ‘easy access’ to higher education for indigent Nigerians: Official

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR, Signing the Student Loan Bill into Law in the State House, Abuja, FCT

*Dele Alake, Spokesperson of the Federal Government, announcing the development Monday, said the funds would be domiciled in the Ministry of Education and would only be accessed by indigent students of tertiary institutions in the West African country

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

The Federal Government has said the new student loan bill President Bola Ahmed Tinubu signed into law Monday, June 12, 2023, is meant to offer interest-free loans to indigent Nigerian students.

ConsumerConnect reports President Tinubu signed into law the Student Loan Bill into law in fulfilment of a promise he made during his election campaign.

Cross-sections of Nigerian University students in a lecture hall

Mr. Dele Alake, Spokesperson to the Federal Government, who announced the development Monday, said that the funds would be domiciled in the Ministry of Education and would only be accessed by indigent students of tertiary institutions in the West African country.

Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, ex-Speaker of the House of Representatives, had sponsored the student loan bill, which recently passed the third reading in the 9th House.

The National Assembly (NASS), Abuja, passed the bill into an Act November 2022.

The bill sought to provide interest-free loans to indigent Nigerian students.

According to the authorities, the law is to provide easy access to higher education for indigent Nigerians through interest-free loans from the Nigerian Education Loan Fund.

Steps to accessing students’ loan scheme

Checks indicated the bill now passed and signed into law sought the establishment of the Nigerian Education Bank, which shall have powers to supervise, coordinate, administer, and monitor the management of student loans in Nigeria.

It stated the Board would also receive applications for student loans through higher institutions in Nigeria on behalf of the applicants, screen the applications to ensure that all requirements for the grant of students’ loan under the Act are satisfied.

The bill said: “The bank shall also have the powers to approve and disburse the loan to qualified applicants; control and monitor and coordinate the students’ loan account/fund and ensure compliance in respect of disbursement; monitor academic records of grantees of the loan to obtain information on their year of graduation, national service, employment to ensure that grantees of the loan commence repayment of the loan as at when due, among other functions.

“The Bill provides that notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in other enactments, all students seeking higher education in any public institution of higher learning in Nigeria shall have an equal right to access the loan under this Act without any discrimination arising from gender, religion, tribe, position or disability of any kind.

“The loan referred to in this Act shall be granted to students only for the payment of Tuition fees.

“The grant of the loan to any student under this Act shall be subject to the students/applicant(s) satisfying the requirements and conditions set out under this Act.”

Things to note

The following are things qualified students should know before applying for the loan:

  1. Students applying for loan must apply to the Chairman of Nigerian Education Bank through their respective institutions, and
  2. They must have secured admissions into any of the Nigerian Universities, Polytechnics, Colleges of Education or any vocational school established by the Federal Government or the government of any state of the Federation.

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