On June 12, 2023, President Bola Tinubu approved the Student Loan Bill, allowing Nigerian students to access interest-free loans. The bill was proposed by the outgoing speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, and saw its second reading at the lower house on May 23, 2023, as reported by The PUNCH.
The introduction of an education bank has sparked discussions about the potential introduction of tuition fees in federally-owned tertiary institutions. Some of these institutions have already announced fee increases. The move is seen as a way to address the funding gap in higher education.
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Under the bill’s conditions, students looking to apply for these loans must meet specific requirements, such as being enrolled in a public Nigerian University, Polytechnic, College of Education, or any TVET school.
Their income or family income should be less than N500,000 per annum, and they must provide guarantors meeting certain criteria. Additionally, applicants with a history of loan default, exam malpractice, felony, or drug offenses, as well as those with defaulting parents, will not be considered.
Once these conditions are met, loan applications will be channeled through the Students Affairs Office of each institution, accompanied by a cover letter signed by the institution’s Vice-Chancellor, Rector, or head, along with the Student Affairs.
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The repayment terms stipulate that beneficiaries will commence repayment two years after completing the National Youth Service Corps program. Repayment will involve a direct deduction of 10% of the beneficiary’s salary by the employer.
Self-employed individuals will be required to remit 10% of their total profit monthly to the student loan account, with strict consequences for defaulting on these regulations.