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Monday, April 15, 2024

FG set to launch pilot phase of students loan fund

Appointment of Executive Management Team Awaited Following President Tinubu's Signing of Landmark Education Bill

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The Nigerian Education Loan Fund announced on Wednesday its forthcoming pilot phase for the student loan scheme, targeting applicants from public tertiary institutions, including federal and state universities, polytechnics, and colleges of education.

In anticipation of this milestone, President Bola Tinubu is expected to appoint a chairperson, managing director, and two executive directors to the Fund’s executive management team, as stipulated by the Student Loans (Access to Higher Education) Act (Repeal and Re-Enactment) Bill, 2024, which he recently signed into law.

Mr. Nasir Ayitogo, the spokesperson for the Fund, confirmed these developments, highlighting the transformative implications of the new legislation for higher education financing in Nigeria.

The 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,” signifies a significant shift in education funding paradigms, establishing the Nigerian Education Loan Fund as a corporate entity empowered to manage and invest funds to provide loans for higher education, vocational training, and skills acquisition.

Ayitogo emphasized the importance of the President’s appointments to initiate the scheme’s implementation, emphasizing the need for a robust leadership structure to oversee its execution effectively.

While the legislation awaits the operationalization of these key appointments, Ayitogo clarified that the pilot scheme would initially cater to students in public institutions, including federal and state universities, polytechnics, and colleges of education.

He assured prospective applicants that the loan scheme would be accessible to all eligible students, contingent upon meeting the necessary criteria.

Although a specific launch date for the program has not been announced, President Tinubu expressed gratitude to the National Assembly for their swift consideration of the bill, reaffirming his administration’s commitment to enhancing educational access and skill development opportunities for all Nigerians.

Tinubu underscored the transformative potential of education in combating poverty and fostering national development, signaling a renewed focus on inclusive education policies to empower individuals from diverse socio-economic backgrounds.

The impending implementation of the student loan scheme marks a significant step towards democratizing access to higher education and realizing the aspirations of countless Nigerian students aspiring to pursue their educational dreams.

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