FG clarifies delay in student’s loan scheme, fixes March takeoff date

THE Federal Government has clarified the reasons for the delay in the commencement of the student loan scheme as scheduled.

The Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Education Loan Fund (NELFund), Akintunde Sawyerr, who clarified explained that the process is technically driven and that necessary measures must be put in place before implementing the scheme.

Sawyerr disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday, March 7, in Abuja.


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He added that the Federal government has fixed March for the actual opening of the NELFund portal for qualified students.

 He urged eligible students to register to access the fund.

“The takeoff date is this month (March), and the reason for the delay is that we are trying to get it right. This is not a political program where we say we are just going to do it; it doesn’t matter how it works.

“This is something that we want to run adequately, so we have to get it right,” he stated.

Sawyerr restated President Tinubu’s pledge to make sure that no Nigerian student should be forced to drop out of college due to a lack of funds.

He claimed that the program, for which applications will be submitted online, was intended for poor Nigerian students enrolled in postsecondary schools.

He said that everyone who applies will be eligible for the program, regardless of where they are, who they are, or who they know.

The ICIR reported on June 12, 2023, that President Bola Tinubu enacted the Access to Higher Education Bill into law, allowing impoverished students to apply for interest-free loans to attend any postsecondary institution in Nigeria.

The Act provides that loan repayment would commence following a two-year grace after completing the mandatory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) before repayment starts.

It also proposes a two-year jail term, a fine of N500,000, or both for students who default in repayment.

The bill had earlier been passed by the House of Representatives and sent to the Senate, where it also sailed through in November 2022.






     

     

    It attracted criticisms from many Nigerians, including members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), who described it as unnecessary.

    The union also described the bill as an attempt by the government to abandon funding of education in public universities systematically.

    The program was initially scheduled to start in September or October 2023, but the start date was moved to January 2024.

    You can read about the key issues in Nigeria’s Student Loans Act HERE.

     

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