THE House of Representatives has warned public tertiary institutions in Nigeria against using the introduction of the student loan scheme as an excuse to increase tuition fees.
The House issued the warning after the adoption of a motion by Terseer Ugbor (APC-Benue) at plenary on Thursday, July 6.
The President, Bola Tinubu, signed the Student loan bill in June. And since then, there have been concerns about universities, both federal and state-owned, using the student loan scheme provided by the bill as a ploy to hike tuition.
Ugbor, a lawmaker representing Kwande/Ushongo federal constituency of Benue State, stressed that the scheme aims to enable underprivileged students to borrow funds for their education.
He said the introduction of students loans and other educational credit schemes in most countries of the world is justifiable because it guarantees greater access to higher education for less privileged citizens.
“The use of students loans and educational credit schemes in most countries of the world is often justified because it guarantees greater access to higher education for the less privileged citizens
“It is further predicated on the notion that education is an investment in human capital, promoting individual development, economic growth and national productivity.
“After several years of unsuccessful attempts by successive administrations to introduce students loans, scholarships and other educational credit schemes, the 9th National Assembly passed the Students Loans (Access to Higher Education) Bill, 2023, which was recently signed into law by the President to provide the legal and institutional framework for implementation of a Students Loan Scheme in the country.”
The lawmaker noted that while the objectives and intentions of the Students Loans (Access to Higher Education) Act, 2023 are patriotic and would impact positive access to higher education in Nigeria, especially among underprivileged citizens, there are several critical omissions and identifiable bottlenecks that would frustrate the successful implementation of the Act if immediate further legislative action is not taken to ensure its efficient implementation.
“The intendment of the Students Loans (Access to Higher Education) Act, 2023 is highly commendable and its enactment has been well received by a large segment of the general Public, particularly Nigerian youths, the identified and observable lapses have the potential to frustrate its smooth implementation for the overall benefit of Nigerian students,” he added.