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FG Announces Commencement Date for Implementation of Student Loan Scheme

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FG Announces Commencement Date for Implementation of Student Loan Scheme

In a significant stride towards ensuring access to higher education for Nigerian citizens, the Federal Ministry of Education has confirmed that the implementation of the Student Loan scheme is set to commence in the upcoming 2023/2024 academic session.

According to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, David Adejo, this decision was revealed during a meeting with the House of Representatives Committee on Students Loans. Adejo dismissed speculations that the signing of the Students Loan Act had prompted various federal universities across the nation to hike their charges.

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President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has directed the completion of essential groundwork for the loan scheme’s implementation, aiming for it to kick off in the following month. To facilitate this, a coordinating committee led by the Chief of Staff and comprising members from institutions such as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Budget Office of the Federation, the Federal Ministry of Education, and the Federal Ministry of Finance has been established.

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Additionally, a technical committee has been formed by the coordinating body to ensure a smooth launch of the scheme and to address any potential obstacles in the associated legislation.

Adejo clarified that the recent fee hikes in federal universities were unfortunate, emphasizing that these institutions are only authorized to collect charges covering accommodation, ICT services, power, and other related expenses. He noted that governing councils of universities possess the authority to approve such charges. The University of Lagos (UNILAG) was an exception to this rule, as their proposal for an increase was granted due to the dissolution of governing councils. However, subsequent resolutions from the House and directives from the President halted the implementation of these increases.

Adejo highlighted that the funds collected by universities were utilized to cover essential services, including electricity bills. He cited instances where financial assistance had to be provided to institutions struggling to meet their electricity expenses.

Kofo Salami Alada, Director of Legal Services at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), representing the acting governor, shared insights into the technological aspect of the student loan scheme. Alada indicated that the scheme is designed to be technology-driven, allowing students to apply for loans from the comfort of their homes while minimizing physical interaction and paperwork.

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While the current law mandates one percent of internally generated revenue (IGR) for the scheme, the CBN is exploring options to source funds from the Federation Account or the Consolidated Revenue Fund.

The House of Representatives Committee Chairman, Teseer Ugbor, underscored that the student loan scheme is part of the Federal Government’s efforts to alleviate the challenges faced by Nigerians and to ensure increased access to higher education.

With these developments, the upcoming academic session is anticipated to mark the beginning of a new era in higher education accessibility, as the Student Loan scheme aims to provide vital financial support to aspiring students across Nigeria.

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