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President Tinubu signs student loan bill into law

The Student Loan Bill which enables the Tertiary Institutions and TETFund to offer loans to eligible Nigerians for their tuition, fees, charges, and living expenses while studying in approved tertiary institutions and vocational training centres in Nigeria has been signed into law.

 

President Bola Tinubu, on Wednesday, signed the Student Loans (Access to Higher Education) Act (Repeal and Re-Enactment) Bill, 2024, into law.

This development follows individual reviews by both the Senate and the House of Representatives of the report from the Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFund.

The Bill sponsored by Senator representing Ekiti Central Senatorial District of Ekiti State, Bamidele Opeyemi aims to improve the execution of the Higher Education Student Loan Scheme in Nigeria by tackling issues related to the management structure of the Nigerian Education Loan Fund, applicant eligibility criteria, loan purposes, funding sources, and procedures for disbursement and repayment.

Under this Bill, the Nigerian Education Loan Fund (NELFUND) would be established as a legal entity with the authority to litigate and be litigated in its own name, and it would possess the power to acquire, hold, and dispose of both movable and immovable property to fulfil its functions.

In contrast to the previous 2023 Act, which placed the Fund’s administration under a Special Committee chaired by the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, this Bill proposes changes in the management structure.

Furthermore, the Bill eliminates the income-based eligibility criterion set by the existing law, which required an annual income of less than N500,000 for applicants or their families.

The Bill also broadens the scope of eligibility, allowing students from federally or state-established tertiary institutions and government-approved vocational institutions to apply, with specific criteria to be determined by the Fund.

Additionally, unlike the 2023 Act, which limited loan applications solely to tuition fees, the new Bill permits applicants to request loans to cover various institutional charges and maintenance allowances.

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