Student Loan: Students have been complaining about the lengthy wait for the start of the education loans as January comes to a close. By the time this article was filed, the loan portal was still closed and students could not apply, according to their umbrella organization, the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS).
It also demanded that the loans be disbursed before the end of the month, voicing concern over recent tuition increases by several higher education institutions in the face of the implementation delay. However, the federal government has said that the student loan program will officially launch in January and that students will be able to access the credit facility on schedule in less than 30 days.
But in an exclusive interview with LEADERSHIP Friday, Comrade Anzaku Shedrack, the coordinator of NANS Zone C, pleaded with President Bola Tinubu to expedite the student loan’s implementation before the end of January on behalf of the students.
Additionally, he emphasized how important it is to have NANS on the committee overseeing student loan distribution. “As of right now, we don’t even know anything about the student loan bill,” Anzaku stated. All that is known is that there will be a student loan bill, with implementation set for January.
“Since the deadline was announced, we have not received access or any additional information.”We don’t know how it will start, when it will start, or some of the strategies that will be employed to help Nigerian kids.
“All we know is that there is now no path forward and that school costs are only going to get higher. Since most Nigerian students would be returning to school in January, the student loan bill is essential.
We have grassroots structures and representatives in every state and school, therefore it will be beneficial if NANS is admitted as one of the committees overseeing the student loan distribution.
He remarked, “We are not happy that as of January 17th, nothing has been said regarding the student loan scheme.” The student leader pleaded with President Tinubu to fulfill the government’s pledge and see to it that the loan is disbursed before the end of the month.
He expressed gratitude to the president for approving a fresh increment for the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) to be used for school development, but said that the campus monitoring committee of NANS will dedicate time to look into and guarantee the prudent use of the funds.
He also urged Tinubu to keep his word and provide buses for all student bodies.
We are moving forward – FG
In the meantime, the federal government has maintained that the start of the student loan program is scheduled for January. Yusuf Sununu, the minister of state for education, revealed this to State House reporters yesterday following the Federal Executive Council meeting at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, which was chaired by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Additionally, Sununu revealed that everything is now ready for the program to launch, including the completion of the website for the Student Loan Scheme and the culmination of technological plans that would enable the program’s launch. The minister added that money has been set aside in the country’s 2024 and 2023 supplemental budgets for the Student Loan Scheme.
“The Nigerian student loan program will actually start in January, and the website is practically finished now. Beneficiary applications must be submitted online; in order to be admitted, students must be citizens of Nigeria and enrolled in public schools. Applications will be processed promptly, and recipients will have access to their loans within 30 days.
According to the minister, “Funds have been set aside in the supplemental budget for 2023 as well as the 2024 appropriations act.”
Acording to LEADERSHIP Friday, in June 2023, President Bola Tinubu signed a bill into law creating the Students Loan Fund (SLF), which will offer interest-free loans to Nigerians pursuing higher education.
Originally scheduled to start in September or October of 2023, the law was sponsored by Femi Gbajabiamila, the former Speaker of the House of Representatives. President Tinubu declared that the federal government would start disbursing student loans to Nigerians by January 2024 after the October deadline of the previous year was missed.