• News - North Central - FCT
  • Updated: May 21, 2024

1.2m student loan beneficiaries listed as scheme begins Friday

1.2m student loan beneficiaries listed as scheme begins Frid

The student loan programme is set to take off on Friday, with 1.2 million students in federal tertiary institutions across the country listed as beneficiaries.

Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria Education Loan Fund, Akintunde Sawyerr, disclosed this on Monday.

Sawyerr, who spoke at a pre-application sensitisation press conference in Abuja, said 1.2 million students in federal universities, polytechnics, colleges of education, and technical colleges would benefit from the first phase.

 Data obtained from the National Universities Commission website indicated that the nation has 226 federal tertiary institutions comprising 62 universities, 41  polytechnics, 96 monotechnics and 27 colleges of education.

President Bola Tinubu, on April 3, signed the Student Loans (Access to Higher Education) Act (Repeal and Re-Enactment) Bill, 2024, into law.

The assent was sequel to the separate considerations by both the Senate and the House of Representatives of the report of the Committee on Tertiary Institutions and the Tertiary Education Trust Fund.

The executive bill titled, ‘A bill for an Act to repeal the Students Loans (Access to Higher Education) Act, 2023 and Enact the Student Loans (Access to Higher Education) Bill, 2004 to Establish the Nigerian Education Loan Fund as a body corporate to receive, manage and invest funds to provide loans to Nigerians for higher education, vocational training and skills acquisition and related matters,’  was signed in the presence of the leadership of the National Assembly, ministers and major stakeholders of education.

Addressing journalists on Monday, ahead of the opening of Friday’s portal, Sawyerr said, “There are approximately 1.2 million students in federal tertiary institutions owned by the government.

Today, by inference, 1.2m  students maximum at the federal level (will benefit), but there might be an opportunity to increase the capacity in terms of more institutions, and when we begin to bring in state-owned institutions, then the numbers can go up.’’

He explained that only students whose institutions had uploaded their data on the Fund’s dashboard would be eligible to apply.

While calling on students in federal tertiary institutions to visit the website, www.nelf.gov.ng to apply from May 24, the CEO added that students in state universities and vocational skills centres could apply at a later date.

He said the requirements to apply include the admission letter from the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, National Identity Number, and Bank Verification Number as well as completed application forms from its website.

“The loan application process has been streamlined to ensure easy access for all eligible students in federal tertiary institutions. Applicants can access online support to assist with any questions or concerns during the application process.

“We believe that education is a vital investment for the future. We envisage that the student loan initiative of Mr President is a testament to this commitment,” he said.

One of the key features of the programme, he stressed, is the absence of physical contact between the loan applicant and NELFUND.

He encouraged students in federal tertiary institutions to take advantage of the opportunity to secure the required financial assistance for their education, even as he urged the applicants to submit their applications as soon as possible to ensure timely processing.

He revealed that in addition to the interest-free loan, applicants will also receive monthly stipends for upkeep.

He, however, did not state the amount, saying, “That figure will be capped. And we will look very closely at each application and make a decision based on several factors as to what fees will be paid to them.’’

“The fees for the institution are going to be paid not to the students but to the institution. And that will be paid at the maximum of that fee per session. We will only pay for a session at a time because people drop out of institutions, they change institutions,” he clarified.

The NELFUND boss also pointed out that the institutions have vital roles to play in providing the Fund with data on fees payable by students at the departmental, faculty and other levels.

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