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Student Loan: Solution to educational gap

University Students. Photo: Archive/ Radio Nigeria.

The House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a Bill for an Act to repeal the Nigerian Education Bank Act and Enact the Students’ Loan (Access to Higher Education) Act.

The Sponsor, Peter Akpatason who moved for the third reading of the Bill during plenary said it would provide easy access to higher education for indigent Nigerians through Interest-Free Loans from the Nigerian Education Loan Fund with a view to Provide Education for all Nigerians.

Before now, the Bill was criticised by the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS). The President of the Association Comrade Usman Barembu in November 2022 had said it would mean student paying more for their education.

What is the current situation

A study in 2020 by the Statistica Research department has shown that, there are more secondary school graduates than they are of tertiary institutions.

Diagram. Statista.com

As at February 2023, Nigeria had a total of 170 universities; 43 were federal universities, 79 private, and state universities were 48. 

Diagram. Statista.com

With these numbers of tertiary institution, Nigeria still has a low turnout of graduates which could be majorly linked to lack of funds for educational pursuit, hence the belief that the Students’ Loan Act would solve this anomaly.

Benefits of student loan

The importance of students’ loan cannot be over emphasised. This method is being utilised in the UK and US as well as other developed climes because of its enormous benefits to national development. The benefits include:

Increased Access to Education: Student loans provide financial support to students who may not have the necessary funds to pay for tuition fees, books, accommodation, and other educational expenses. By offering loans, more students can enroll in universities, colleges, and other higher education institutions.

Equalizing Educational Opportunities: These loans will help to bridge the gap between students from low-income backgrounds and those from more affluent families. They allow deserving students to attend prestigious institutions, regardless of their financial circumstances, promoting social mobility and reducing educational inequalities.

Human Capital Development: By enabling students to pursue higher education, student loans contribute to the development of human capital in Nigeria. Student loans facilitate the creation of a skilled workforce that can drive innovation and contribute to the country’s overall progress.

Addressing Skill Gaps: Nigeria, like many other countries, faces skill gaps in various sectors. Student loans can be targeted towards specific disciplines or fields that are in high demand, such as science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), healthcare, agriculture, and entrepreneurship. By incentivizing students to pursue these areas of study, loans can help address the country’s skills shortage and promote economic diversification.

Repayment and Financial Responsibility: Student loans encourage financial responsibility among borrowers. Upon completion of their studies, borrowers are expected to repay the loans, either through monthly installments or upon securing employment. This promotes a sense of accountability and teaches financial management skills to students, preparing them for future financial obligations.


Student loan bill should be supported because of its benefits. Student loan would play a crucial role in promoting access to education, addressing skill gaps, and fostering economic development in Nigeria. By investing in students’ education, the country can empower its future workforce and enhance its overall competitiveness on both national and global scale.

Although the government needs to address certain factors that might militate against this loan by taking proactive measures, such as increased funding for student loans, implementing a flexible repayment option, improving loan management systems, strengthening financial literacy programs, promoting job creation, and ensuring transparent and unbiased loan disbursement processes.

When these challenges are addressed, student loans in Nigeria can become more effective in expanding access to education and fostering human capital development.

Writing by Chinasa Ossai; Editing by Annabel Nwachukwu