Just as President Ahmed Bola Tinubu signed into law, The Student Loan Bill on Monday, one of the critical conditions set for accessing the facility is that applicant income or family income must be less than N500,000 per annum.
This is even as the Committee of Vice Chancellors of Universities in Nigeria, has commended President Tinubu, saying Nigeria is now toeing the path of the developed nations with the introduction of the policy.
According to the new law, applicants must have secured admission 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 to qualify for the loan.
The law also said any student who applied for the loan and has been proven to have defaulted in respect of any previous loan granted by any organisation would be disqualified in the same manner as those found guilty of examination malpractice by any school authority or has been convicted of a felony or any offence involving dishonesty or fraud.
Nigerian Tribune gathered that the bill signed into law by the President has repealed “the Nigerian Education Bank Act Cap. N104, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and enact the Students Loans (Access to Higher Education) Act, 2023 to provide easy access to higher education for indigent Nigerians through interest-free loans from the Nigerian Education Loan Fund established in this Act with a view to providing education for all Nigerians; and for related matters,”.
Meanwhile, the Secretary General of the Committee of Vice Chancellors of Universities in Nigeria, Professor Yakubu Ochefu, while reacting to the assent to the Student Loan Bill by the President, said Nigeria is toeing the path of the developed nations in the introduction of the policy.
He noted that assent to the bill means that the tuition-free regime that has been in place for over 40 years in Federal universities would be jettisoned.
According to him, the new law would provide a financial cushion for families that are unable to pay the fees.
“If it is signed to work as in other parts of the world, it is supposed to provide a funding window to parents and students who may not be able to afford tuition fees in Federal Universities.
“It may also mean that the tuition-free regime that has been in place for over 40 years will be jettisoned. If this were to happen the SLB will provide a financial cushion for families that are unable to pay the fees.“
Ochefu, also noted that the new law on student loans would provide autonomy for universities, stressing this means the deregulation of the fee regime.
The CVC Sec Gen added that University councils would now set appropriate fees for students at different levels and for different programmes.
“It certainly will. It means the deregulation of the fee regime. University councils will now set the appropriate fees for students at different levels and for different programmes. It will mean the cost-sharing variables will be interrogated and actual cost structures will determine the cost of university education.“
Ochefu added that the current cost-sharing regime is about 90 per cent borne by the government and if it is deregulated then the universities would set the appropriate cost as it applies to them.
“As you may be aware, the current cost-sharing regime is about 90% borne by the government. If this is deregulated, then the universities will set the appropriate cost as it applies to them.“
The Immediate past President of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) Sunday Asefon, said the Presidential assent to the Student Loan Bill was a real succour to the difficulties occasioned by inflated school fees and fuel subsidy removal.
“Indeed His Excellency Bola Ahmed Tinubu, President Federal Republic of Nigeria is a man of his word and very conscious of his promises to the entire Nigerian populace as enshrined in his manifesto titled; Renewed Hope,” he said
Asefon, therefore, called on critical stakeholders in the education sector National Universities Commission (NUC), the Ministry of Education Science and Technology and others to as a matter of urgency sees to the review of standards for the qualification of beneficiaries in the utmost interest of downtrodden.
“This should be the first assignment of the designated Minister of Education upon assumption of duty.
“It is important we all put our differences aside in the interest of greater Nigeria, we need to give maximum support to the present government across all levels so as to ensure the delivery of dividends of democracy in a country where all and sundry blossom,” he added.