JUST IN: NANS Tells Senate To Include Grant In Student Loan Bill

NANS Tells Senate To Include Grant In Student Loan Bill

NANS Tells To Include Grant In Loan Bill

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The National Association of Students (NANS) has called for provision of study grants for Nigerian students in the bill seeking to establish the Education Loan Fund (Nelfund) before the Senate.

NANS President, Lucky Emonele made the call in Abuja at a public hearing on the repeal and re- enactment of 2024 Students Loans Access to Higher Education Bill 2024.

The public hearing was organised by the Senate Committee on Education and TETFUND and House of Representatives' Committee on Student Loan, Scholarship and Higher Education Financing.

Emonele commended President Bola Tinubu for responding to the request of NANS, by including its leadership as representatives of the students on the loan board.

He said the students also commended the decision to repeal the Act to address gray areas that could hinder success of the Students' Loan Scheme.

According to him, there is a need to make provision of grants for students, to enable them complete or further their studies.

This, he said, would encourage more students to enroll in school and alleviate the burden that may be placed on the loans.

“If the Federal through the Tertiary Education Fund (TETFund) could earmark N683 billion on public tertiary institutions in 2024, without requesting for payback from beneficiary institutions. Nigerian students should not be treated any different,” the NANS president noted.

He added that the proposed two years post -National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) repayment period for the loan was not realistic, noting that less than 10 percent of Nigerian graduates get absorbed into the labour force upon completion of their NYSC.

The NANS President, therefore proposed a minimum of five years repayment duration, given the challenges of unemployment after .

He also appealed that the provision of loan schemes should not be a further reason for arbitrary increments of school fees by management of tertiary institutions.

He urged the National Assembly to pass a resolution that prohibits public tertiary institutions from increasing school fees in the next .

This, he said, was the only way to sustain the Act when enacted.

Minister of Education, Prof. Tahir Mamman also commended President Tinubu for his passion and commitment toward the education sector.

Mamman said the president does not want any of school age to be out of school, given his passion for the sector. He said the public hearing would provide an opportunity to make further input to improve the Bill for the good of Nigerian students.

The Chairman of the Committee, Senator Muntari Dandutse, described access to quality higher education as a pressing concern for many Nigerian students.

He stressed that the student loan scheme offers hope for addressing issues of students and ultimately improving Nigeria's tertiary education.

Sen Dandutse said the scheme would promote access to education and enable more students to pursue their dreams.

The Committee Chairman further said that successful implementation of the scheme would unlock a brighter future for the youths and the entire nation.

“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 fosters economic growth, social progress, and democratic participation,” Dandutse said.

He urged all stakeholders to make valuable inputs to effect positive change on the Act and drive progress in the nation's tertiary education sector.

Stakeholders at the public hearing included officials of the Central Bank of Nigeria (), Ministry of Education, Federal Ministry of Youth Development, Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS), Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) among others.

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