The Students Loan Bill 2023 was passed by the 9th National Assembly and recently assented to by President Bola Tinubu to help students pay for tertiary education.
The House of Representatives, on Thursday, warned public tertiary institutions in Nigeria not to take advantage of the Students Loans and Access to Higher Education in Nigeria Act and increase their tuition fees.
The lawmakers also resolved to convene a Legislative Summit on student loans and access to higher education with the involvement of all stakeholders in the education sector.
These resolutions were sequel to the adoption of a motion moved by Rep. Terseer Ugbor (Benue).
Moving the motion, Ugbor said while financial support from family members and relatives is often considered a traditional source for funding higher education globally, recent trends in the past sixty years indicate that governments in both developed and developing countries have in place various Students Loan and Educational Credit Schemes to enable students to borrow towards the funding of higher education.
“Aware that the use of Students Loans and Educational Credit Schemes in most countries of the world is often justified on the grounds that it guarantees greater access to higher education for the less privileged citizens and is further predicated on the notion that education is an investment in human capital which in turn promote individual development, economic growth and national productivity.
“Also aware that after several years of unsuccessful attempts by successive administrations to introduce students loans, scholarships and other educational credit schemes, the 9th National Assembly passed the Students Loans (Access to Higher Education) Bill, 2023, which was recently signed into law by the President to provide the legal and institutional framework for implementation of a Students Loan Scheme in the country.
“Observes that the while the objectives and intendment of the Students Loans (Access to Higher Education) Act, 2023 are patriotic and would impact positive access to higher education in Nigeria especially, amongst the underprivileged citizens, there are several critical omissions and identifiable bottlenecks that would stultify or frustrate the successful implementation of the Act if immediate further legislative action is not taken to ensure its efficient implementation.
“Concerned that while the intendment of the Students Loans (Access to Higher Education) Act, 2023 is highly commendable and its enactment has been well received by a large segment of the general public, particularly the Nigerian youths, the identified and observable lapses have the potential to frustrate its smooth implementation for the overall benefit of Nigerian students.
“Cognizant of the urgent need to convene a legislative summit with all key stakeholders to develop a strategy to ensure the smooth implementation of the Act for the benefit of the indigent Nigerian Students,” he added.