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NANS President Urges House of Representatives to Revise Student Loans Act for Enhanced Access



Understanding the Student Loan Bill in Nigeria

In a recent development, Usman Barambu, the President of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), has appealed to the House of Representatives to make crucial amendments to the Student Loans Act, with the aim of facilitating improved access to loans for Nigerian students.


During a legislative summit focused on student loans and access to higher education, convened by an ad hoc committee, Barambu emphasized the necessity of revising the stringent criteria outlined in the current act. He articulated that the existing provisions were posing challenges for students seeking financial support and urged for a more inclusive approach.

Of note, Barambu strongly advocated for the inclusion of student representation on the board responsible for overseeing the student loans program. He highlighted the current omission of representation from polytechnics and colleges of education, which he deemed unfair. The current board structure solely features the National University Commission (NUC), excluding significant sectors of higher education.

Furthermore, Barambu pointed out that the current repayment timeframe of two years post-graduation was inadequate for most students. He proposed a revision to extend this period to between four and five years, considering the financial realities graduates face upon entering the workforce.

Barambu voiced concerns about the stringent guarantor requirements, stating that these prerequisites might hinder numerous students from securing loans. He argued that the selection of guarantors should be reviewed to ensure greater accessibility for students from diverse backgrounds.

During the summit, Professor Is-haq Oloyede, the representative of the JAMB registrar, underscored the historical significance of student loans in Nigeria’s higher education landscape. Oloyede urged lawmakers to expand the scope of the loans to cover various expenses beyond tuition, reflecting the increased financial burden on students due to rising costs of accommodation, meals, and transportation.

Oloyede also stressed the importance of adapting the Student Loans Act to account for market fluctuations, inflation, and unforeseen events like pandemics. He recommended incorporating flexible loan amounts and introducing safeguards to preserve the loans’ value over time.

In response, the Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Muhammad Nami, affirmed FIRS’s commitment to collaborating with the parliament on the student loans initiative. Nami proposed a funding mechanism involving contributions from all states, rather than solely relying on a one percent federal government revenue allocation.

The summit’s significance was acknowledged by the Speaker of the House, Hon. Abbas Tajudeen, represented by Deputy Speaker Hon. Benjamin Kalu. Kalu characterized the Student Loans Act as a transformative legislation aimed at equitable access to quality higher education. He emphasized the role of the legislature in safeguarding citizens’ right to education through enacting laws, allocating resources, and ensuring proper implementation.

Kalu acknowledged the Act’s positive intent while recognizing the need for amendments to address concerns about loan accessibility. He stressed the importance of harnessing insights from stakeholders and experts to enhance the Act’s effectiveness, enabling broader access to quality higher education for Nigerian youth.

Bernard Bassey is a graduate of Software Engineering from AfriHUB University, Abuja. He is an expert in field journalism, his interest in socio-politics activities is keen.

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