As January comes to a close, students have expressed frustration over the prolonged delay in the commencement of education loans. The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), representing the students’ interests, has raised concerns that the loan portal is yet to be opened for student applications.

    NANS is particularly troubled by recent tuition hikes in some higher institutions, coupled with the delay in implementing the loan program. The association is urging for the prompt disbursement of the loans before the end of the month.

    Despite the students’ concerns, the federal government has assured that the student loan scheme will indeed commence in January, with plans for students to access the credit facility within 30 days.

    FG To Commence Student Loan Implementation In January 2024

    Speaking exclusively to LEADERSHIP Friday on behalf of the students, the coordinator of NANS Zone C, Comrade Anzaku Shedrack, has called on President Bola Tinubu to expedite the implementation of the student loan before the end of January. Shedrack also stressed the importance of including NANS as one of the committees overseeing the disbursement of student loans.

    Anzaku stated, “As of now, we have no information about the student loan bill. All we are aware of is the announcement of a student loan bill set to commence in January.

    “We have not received access or any details since the declaration of that deadline. We are unaware of the commencement date, the process, and the operational methods that will benefit Nigerian students.

    “All we observe is the continuous rise in school fees, and there is no clear direction at the moment. The student loan bill is crucial because Nigerian students genuinely need it, especially with most schools resuming this January.

    “If NANS can be involved as one of the committees overseeing the disbursement of student loans, it would be beneficial. We have a well-established structure reaching down to the grassroots with representatives in each state and school.”

    “So, as of January 17th, there has been no communication regarding the student loan scheme, and we are discontented,” he expressed.

    The student leader called on President Tinubu to fulfill the commitment of his government and ensure the prompt disbursement of the loan before the month concludes.

    While expressing gratitude to the president for the approved increment in the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) for school development, he assured that the campus monitoring committee of NANS would thoroughly investigate and ensure the proper utilization of the funds.

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    We are on course – FG

    Nevertheless, the federal government maintains its stance that January is indeed the set timeframe for the initiation of the student loan scheme.

    He further urged Tinubu to uphold his promise of providing buses to all student bodies.

    The Minister of State for Education, Yusuf Sununu, conveyed this information to State House correspondents after the Federal Executive Council meeting presided over by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

    Sununu emphasized that all preparations are now in place for the scheme to commence, with the completion of the Student Loan Scheme website and the finalization of technical plans to facilitate its rollout.

    The minister also confirmed the availability of funds for the Student Loan Scheme in the nation’s 2024 budget and the Supplementary budget for 2023. He outlined that the application process for beneficiaries would be online, with criteria including Nigerian citizenship and enrollment in a public school. Sununu assured that the application would be processed promptly, allowing students to access their loans within 30 days.

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    Minister Yusuf Sununu added, “Funds have been set aside in the 2024 appropriation act, and also in the supplementary budget for 2023.”

    In June 2023, President Bola Tinubu signed a bill into law to establish a Students Loan Fund (SLF), aiming to provide interest-free loans to Nigerians pursuing higher education. Originally scheduled to commence between September and October 2023, the program faced delays.

    However, President Tinubu later declared that the federal government would initiate the disbursement of student loans to Nigerians starting January 2024. This announcement aligns with the government’s commitment to providing accessible financial support to students pursuing higher education.

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