BREAKING: President Tinubu Signs Student Loans Bill into Law

BREAKING: President Tinubu Signs Student Loans Bill into Law
Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu


President Bola Tinubu officially signed the Student Loans (Access to Higher Education) Act (Repeal and Re-Enactment) Bill, 2024, into law on Wednesday, marking a significant milestone in education finance reform in Nigeria.

This legislative achievement followed thorough reviews by both the Senate and the House of Representatives, based on the recommendations of the Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFund.

The bill, championed by Senator Bamidele Opeyemi from Ekiti Central Senatorial District, seeks to revitalize the Higher Education Student Loan Scheme in Nigeria. It addresses several critical areas including the governance of the Nigerian Education Loan Fund, criteria for borrower eligibility, loan uses, funding sources, and the mechanics of loan disbursement and repayment.

With the new legislation, the Nigerian Education Loan Fund (NELFUND) is set to be established as an independent legal entity capable of engaging in legal proceedings, owning assets, and undertaking transactions to achieve its objectives.

The essence of this Bill is to provide financial assistance to qualified Nigerian students. It aims to cover tuition, miscellaneous fees, and living expenses for students enrolled in recognized tertiary institutions and vocational training centers across the country.

Diverging from the 2023 Act’s approach, which placed the Fund under the oversight of a Special Committee led by the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Governor, the new Bill introduces a revamped management framework.

The Bill also removes the previous law’s income-based eligibility requirement, which mandated an annual income below N500,000 for applicants or their families. Now, it extends eligibility to students attending federal or state tertiary institutions and officially sanctioned vocational schools, with the Fund setting specific application criteria.

Moreover, the Bill expands the permissible uses of loans beyond just tuition fees, as was the case under the 2023 Act. Students can now apply for funds to cover a wider array of educational expenses, including maintenance allowances.

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