Nigerian Government Launches Student Loan Scheme for 1.2 Million Beneficiaries

The Nigerian government launches a student loan scheme to provide financial assistance to 1.2 million tertiary students, aiming to make higher education more accessible and affordable.

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Nigerian Government Launches Student Loan Scheme for 1.2 Million Beneficiaries

Nigerian Government Launches Student Loan Scheme for 1.2 Million Beneficiaries

The Nigerian Education Loan Fund (NELFUND) has launched a student loan scheme aimed at providing financial assistance to about 1.2 million Nigerian students in tertiary institutions and government-recognized skill acquisition centers. The scheme, which is part of the newly revised Student Loans Re-enactment Bill, 2024, signed into law by President Bola Tinubu, will be funded by 1% of the revenue generated by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) annually.

To access the loans, students will need to provide their Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) registration number, National Identification Number (NIN), and Bank Verification Number (BVN). The loans will be disbursed in two segments, with the school fees paid directly to the institutions and a stipend paid directly to the students' accounts. Financially-indigent undergraduates can apply for the loans on a designated website.

Akintunde Sawyerr, the Managing Director of NELFUND, explained that the scheme is a means to redistribute wealth and help the education of the poor. However, the scheme will not include students in private tertiary institutions for now due to socioeconomic factors. Sawyerr stated that if a student attends a private university, they may not be considered poor, and the tuition fees at private universities could cover many students in public universities.

The loan amount will depend on the course of study and tuition fees, with no set benchmark or limit. Beneficiaries will be expected to start servicing the loans once they secure jobs or set up businesses, with repayment starting two years after completing the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) program. The repayment plan is a revolving loan with no set tenor, and defaulters may face legal consequences if they provide false information.

Why this matters: The Nigerian Education Loan Fund aims to ensure that no Nigerian student drops out of public tertiary institutions due to financial challenges. By providing interest-free loans to students, the government is working towards making tertiary education more accessible and affordable for financially-indigent students.

President Bola Tinubu has also approved system-wide policies to overhaul the education sector, including a data repository to track schools, teachers, and students, out-of-school children's education and training, teacher development and support, and a national skills framework to enhance skill diversity and equip students with the required skills for the 21st-century global economy. The students, first loan scheme is a significant step towards ensuring that more Nigerians have access to higher education and the opportunity to improve their socioeconomic status.

Key Takeaways

  • Nigeria launches student loan scheme to assist 1.2M students in tertiary institutions
  • Loans funded by 1% of FIRS revenue, require UTME, NIN, and BVN for access
  • Loans cover tuition fees and student stipends, with repayment after NYSC
  • Scheme excludes private university students due to socioeconomic factors
  • Part of Tinubu's education reforms to improve access and affordability