Connect with us

Education

The House of Representatives on Wednesday passed through third Reading the Student Loan (Access to Higher Education) amendment bill, 2024.

The proposed bill seeks to ensure smooth access to higher education and provide the required assistance in the area of educational advancement through loans needed by Nigerian youths.

According to the report of the Senate and House of Representatives joint Committees on Tertiary Institutions and TetFund, student loans which the House adopted,

The core objective of the bill was to provide a legislative framework to support the establishment of the Nigerian Education Loans Fund to oversee the general administration of the management and disbursement of the loans to beneficiaries.

The approved bill seeks to “provide loans to qualified applicants to pay tuition fees, charges and up keep during their course of study in approved Tertiary Education Institutions and Vocational and Skills Acquisition Institutions in Nigeria”.

The legislative framework also seeks to provide for “Build, operate and maintain a diversified pool of funds to provide loans to qualified applicants and ensure access to Higher Education, Vocational Training and Skills Acquisition.”

The bill also seeks to “ensure the recovery of all debts to the funds from loans granted to applicants except where the Board believes that a Loanee should be exempt from repaying his/her loan because of: death; consideration of hardship or equity; impossibility or undue difficulty or the expenses to be incurred in the recovery of the loan being far more than the amount sought to be recovered.

“The Joint Committee deliberated on the provisions of the Bill and took into account the views expressed by Distinguished Senators and Honourable Members during the debate on the general principles of the Bill at the Second Reading stage.

“In addition, the Joint Committee placed adverts in the media in support of the ‘constituency outreach’ principle in legislation while ensuring that the Bill is publicized and relevant stakeholders engaged to contribute to the content of the Bill.

“Accordingly, the Joint Committee conducted a public hearing on Monday, 18th March, 2024, in order to collate stakeholder’s views on the Bill as inputs to enrich the legislative proposal.”

While presenting the synopsis of the report, Minority Whip, Hon. Usman Kumo expressed optimism that the proposed “Bill contains tremendous benefits for educational advancement of the nation.”

Nigerian Tribune gathered that the Federal Government has taken action to implement the legislation, including providing over N200 billion to the Fund through appropriations and presidential directives.

However, efforts to operationalise the NELFUND and implement the Students Tertiary Education Loan Scheme have been hampered by problems with some provisions of the Act.

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu had in the cover letter titled: ‘Transmission of Student loans (Access to higher education) (Repeal and Re-enactment) bill, 2024’, dated 14th March, 2024 sent to Speaker Tajudeen Abbas, solicited for expedite consideration and passage of thr proposed amendments.

“Pursuant to Section 58(2) of the Constitution of The Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended). I forward, herewith, The Student Loan (Access to Higher Education) (Repeal and Re-Enactment) Bill, 2024 for the kind consideration of the House of Representatives.

According to him, “the Student Loan (Access to Higher Education) (Repeal and Re- Enactment) Bill, 2024 seeks to enhance the implementation of the Higher Education Student Loan Scheme by addressing challenges related to the management structure of the Nigerian Education Loan Fund (NELF), applicant eligibility requirements, loan purpose, funding sources and disbursement and repayment procedures.”

The proposed amendment seeks to “Provide loans to qualified Nigerians for tuition, fees, charges and upkeep during their studies in approved tertiary education institutions and vocational and skills acquisition institutions in Nigeria.”

The bill also defines the resource structure of the Fund by, amongst other things, by establishing the General Reserve Fund into which shall be paid 1% of all taxes, levies and duties collected by the Federal Inland Revenue Service and accruing to the benefit of the Federal Government of Nigeria; and from which the Fund shall pay amounts payable as loans to qualified applicants for tuition, fees, charges, and upkeep, as well as the Fund’s operational expenses and such expenditures necessary to attaining the Fund’s objectives and functions.

Similarly, it proposed certain amendments on eligibility criteria for Applicants, by removing the family income threshold so Nigerian students can apply for these loans and accept responsibility for repayment according to the Fund’s guidelines.

It also removes the guarantor requirement so that students can apply for and receive loans subject to application and identity verification guidelines as provided by the Fund.

According to the proposed bill, intending Student applicants can no longer be disqualified based on their Parent’s loan history.

It further establishes a justice and fairness provision mandating the Board to ensure a minimum national spread of loans approved and disbursed in each financial year, while Applicants to the Fund may apply for loans to cover tuition and other fees payable to the school and maintenance allowance payable to the Student.

On the repayment of loans by beneficiaries, the proposed bill stipulates that beneficiaries of the Fund shall begin as soon as the beneficiary becomes employed in any capacity.

It also provides that the Fund shall not initiate loan recovery efforts until two years after the completion of the National Youth Service programme.

It however provides that a beneficiary may request an extension of enforcement action by the Fund by providing a sworn indicating that he is not employed in any capacity and is not receiving any income.

Accordingly, only a person who provides a false statement to the Fund under this section is guilty of a felony and is liable to imprisonment for three years.

The bill also makes provision for loan forgiveness in the event of death or acts of God causing inability to repay.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Education

2024 UTME notification slip ready for printing – JAMB

The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has directed candidates, who registered for the 2024 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examinations (UTME) to print their notification slips for examination.
The board disclosed this in a statement in Abuja on Thursday by its Spokesperson, Dr Fabian Benjamin.
He said the 2024 UTME notification slip, which showed the date, venue and time of their examination, was ready for printing.
“All candidates, who have registered for the 2024 UTME scheduled to start on Friday, April 19, are urged to print their notification slips before the date.
“This is for them to know the date, venue and time of their respective examinations as well as some other vital information.
“To print the slip, candidates are to visit the JAMB website: www.jamb.gov.ng; click on “2024 UTME Slip Printing”, input their registration number, then click on print.
“The slip can be printed anywhere provided there is an internet-enabled computer,” he said.
He added that to successfully sit the examination, candidates were advised to print on or before Friday, 19th April.
This he explained was to enable them locate the venue of their centre, to prevent lateness on their scheduled examination date.
Recall that the 2024 UTME is scheduled to start on Friday, April 19 and end on Monday, April 29.
Continue Reading

Education

Tinubu appoints management team, education loan fund

President Bola Tinubu has approved the appointment of the three qualified Nigerians to serve on the management team of the Nigerian Education Loan Fund (NELFUND).

A statement issued on Friday by Ajuri Ngelale, Special Adviser to the President (Media & Publicity) said the appointment is in line with the president’s determination to secure Nigeria’s socio-economic future by ensuring sustainable higher education and critical skill development for all Nigerian students and the youth.

Those appointed are;

(1) Mr. Akintunde Sawyerr – Managing Director/CEO

(2) Mr. Frederick Oluwafemi Akinfala – Executive Director, Finance and Administration

(3) Mr. Mustapha Iyal – Executive Director, Operations

With the appointment of the management team, the President expects that the necessary apparatuses are expeditiously put in place for the effective take-off of this pivotal Fund for the immediate and lasting benefit of Nigerian students and families in all parts of the country.

Continue Reading

Education

Ekiti targets zero percent out-of-school children, says Gov Oyebanji at EKSU convocation

Ekiti State Governor, Mr Biodun Oyebanji, has restated the commitment of his administration to ensuring that every child in the state has access to quality and compulsory education, noting that education remains a weapon in ensuring social, political, and economic growth of any society.

Governor Oyebanji made this known on Wednesday at the 28th convocation ceremony of the Ekiti state university, Ado Ekiti just as the newly inducted Chancellor of the University, Dr Tunji Olowolafe, announced a one billion naira agribusiness empowerment fund for products of the institution as a way to boost agriculture and food security.

Governor Oyebanji who attended the EKSU convocation as the first alumnus of the school to become Governor of the state and Visitor to the University, said his government remains committed to ensuring that educational institutions in the state were capable of competing with their peers globally.

Governor Oyebanji said his administration has demonstrated commitment to development of education sector from primary to tertiary institutions which include renovation of more than 200 secondary schools, distribution of laptops to students across the state, disbursement bursary and scholarship to students of Ekiti origin in tertiary institutions of learning including Law School, increment of subvention to all state owned tertiary institutions, among others.

Recalling that Ekiti was recently ranked as the highest in school enrollment in the country, the Governor assured that his government would continue to ensure the state has zero percent out-of-school children across the country.

While appreciating the University’s governing council and management for being a partner in progress, the Governor called for more conscious, creative, ingenious and concerted development of strategies for generating additional funds so as to reduce dependence on government subventions.

Governor Oyebanji also urged the University management to justify the increase in their subvention by showing greater commitment to work, avoid incessant strike actions, and allow for smooth running of the academic calendar so that students were not unduly delayed.

While congratulating the graduands, Oyebanji charged them to always remember to give back to their alma-mata.

“We are gathered here today to celebrate scholarship, success, and the result of hard work. As we all know, education remains a weapon in ensuring social, political, and economic growth in any society.

“This is why we will continue to support the education sector. We are committed to ensuring our educational institutions are of the highest standards that can compete globally.

“A demonstration of this commitment can be seen in our various interventions in the sector from primary to tertiary institutions. It is, therefore, a thing of pride to note that Ekiti is ranked one of the highest in school enrollment in Nigeria and one of the states with the least out-of-school children with 2.5%. We are working hard to ensure we have 0% out-of-school children in our state.

“Just a few months ago, we increased the subventions to all Ekiti State – owned tertiary institutions, including the Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital significantly.

“As much as the government is ready to continue to play its part in the funding of tertiary education of the state, the university must find ways and means of supplementing whatever the government is able to give.

“There must be conscious, creative, ingenious, and concerted development of strategies for generating additional funds so as to reduce dependence on government subventions”. The Governor stated.

Earlier, in his address, the newly inaugurated Chancellor of the University, Dr. Tunji Olowolafe, who appreciated the Governor for the opportunity to serve, pledged his unflinching commitment to the growth and development of the institution.

Dr. Olowolafe, a trained medical doctor turned businessman announced a one billion naira innovation fund to empower agro-technology companies founded by the latest graduands and current students of the institution.

This is in addition to the establishment of an endowment agenda to offer support and subsidies for up to 30 academic staff members so as to facilitate their participation in international conferences, training sessions, and research activities as well as creation of a platform for 100 of the brightest students from EKSU to engage in resourceful and sustainable work for skills acquisition and development.

Dr Olowolafe noted that it has become imperative for graduates and undergraduates in Nigeria to get actively involved in activities geared towards supporting food security , innovation and strategic entrepreneurship in the current circumstance.

He suggested that students take land lease arrangements for agricultural purposes adding that special awards could also be given to outstanding agriculture entrepreneurs in addition to academic honours.

“Mr. Vice Chancellor sir, as we give awards to best academic students, we can also give awards to best agro entrepreneurs on campus. Some can do grains while others do vegetables. Some can do poultry whilst others can do fisheries. Some can even do logistics whilst others do apps.”
He stated.

He urged the graduands and undergraduates to endeavour to take a needs assessment of their environments to see resources that could be tapped into emphasising that youths need to think wider than their narrow fields of study.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Trending