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STUDENT LOAN RREPAYMENT: NANS Proposes Five-Year Post-NYSC

NANS

The National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, has said it is not realistic to expect beneficiaries of the Federal Government loan scheme to begin repayment two years after the completion of the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC.

It argued that less than 10 per cent of graduates get absorbed into the labour market within two years post-NYSC.

It, therefore, proposed that the repayment should begin five years after NYSC.

President of NANS, Lucky Emonele, made the call in Abuja on Monday 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 the 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 added that the students also commended the decision to repeal the Act to address grey areas that could hinder the success of the student loan scheme.

He said the proposed repayment period of two years post-NYSC for the loan was not realistic, saying that less than 10 per cent 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 graduation.

The NANS president also called for the provision of study grants for Nigerian students in the Act seeking to establish the Nigeria Education Loan Fund.

He also appealed that the provision of a loan scheme should not be a further reason for an arbitrary increment of school fees by the 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 10 years.

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

According to him, there is also a need to make provision for grants for students, to enable them to 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 Government, through the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, could earmark N683bn for public tertiary institutions in 2024, without requesting for payback from beneficiary institutions, Nigerian students should not be treated any differently.”

The Minister of Education, Prof. Tahir Mamman, commended President Bola Tinubu for his passion and commitment to the education sector.

According to him, the President does not want any child of school age to be out of school, given his passion for education.

The minister 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, said access to quality higher education was a pressing concern for many Nigerian students.

Dandutse said its successful implementation 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 foster economic growth, social progress, and democratic participation.”

Earlier, the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, said that the legislative agenda of the 10th National Assembly would bring about tremendous improvement in the standard of living of Nigerians.

Represented by the Deputy Senate President, Jibrin Barau, he commended President Tinubu for his foresight and uncommon passion for supporting the students of the country with the loan scheme.