Students Loan: NANS urges FG to extend repayment period

By Innocent Raphael

The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has urged the federal government to extend the repayment period for beneficiaries of the Students loan scheme to five years after completing the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).

This suggestion comes as NANS argued that expecting repayment to begin just two years after NYSC is impractical, given that less than 10 percent of graduates secure employment within that timeframe.

During a public hearing in Abuja on the repeal and re-enactment of the 2024 Students Loans Access to Higher Education Bill, President of NANS, Lucky Emonele, put forward this proposal.

The hearing, organized by the Senate Committee on Education and TETFUND, along with the House of Representatives Committee on Student Loan, Scholarship, and Higher Education Financing, aimed to address concerns surrounding the loan scheme.

Emonele commended President Bola Tinubu for involving NANS leadership as representatives on the loan board and lauded the decision to repeal the Act to tackle potential obstacles to the success of the student loan scheme.

He emphasized the necessity of study grants for Nigerian students and called for measures to prevent arbitrary increases in school fees by tertiary institutions. Emonele urged the National Assembly to adopt a resolution prohibiting public tertiary institutions from raising fees for the next decade to ensure the long-term sustainability of the loan scheme.

“If the Federal Government, through the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, could earmark N683bn for public tertiary institutions in 2024, without requesting for payback from beneficiary institutions, Nigerian students should not be treated any differently,” he said.

Minister of Education, Prof. Tahir Mamman, praised Tinubu’s dedication to education, highlighting the President’s aspiration for universal access to education for all school-age children.

He emphasized that the public hearing presented an avenue to enhance the bill further for the benefit of Nigerian students.

Senator Muntari Dandutse, the committee’s chairman, underscored the significance of providing quality higher education, expressing confidence that initiatives such as the student loan scheme would pave the way for a brighter future for both youths and the nation at large.

He said, “By removing financial barriers, these initiatives will enable more students to pursue higher studies, leading to a larger pool of skilled graduates who contribute to the country’s social and economic development. Increased literacy rates foster economic growth, social progress, and democratic participation.”

Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, represented by Deputy Senate President, Jibrin Barau, expressed confidence earlier that the legislative agenda of the 10th National Assembly would notably enhance the quality of life for Nigerians.

He praised Tinubu for his backing of Nigerian students via the loan scheme, recognizing its capacity to bolster access to education and foster economic development.

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