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NANS wants Reps to review access to student loan

NANS President Comrade Usman Barambu observed at the summit that the criteria for access to student loans were too stringent.

The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has called on the House of Representatives to amend the Student Loan Act to allow all Nigerian students access to the scheme.

The association also urged the House to include student representation on the board and capture Polytechnics and Colleges of Education instead of only the National University Commission (NUC), which was earlier captured.

Speaking at a legislative summit on student loans and access to higher education” hosted by the House of Representatives ad-hoc committee in Abuja, the National President of NANS, Comrade Usman Barambu, observed that the criteria for access to the loan were too stringent.

He said the two-year method of payment was too short and should be extended to at least four to five years.

He also said the list of guarantors needed to be looked into, saying most students would not be able to meet the guarantor’s requirements.

Turning point in higher education

The Registrar of the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Professor Ishaq Oloyede, stated that the loan scheme represents a turning point in the history of higher education in Nigeria.

He said there was a need to review the Act to cover the cost of other things beyond school fees, as students now pay more for accommodation, food, and transportation.

The Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Muhammad Nami, said the FIRS was committed to working with the parliament, adding that as soon as the mandate is given, the funding will be made available.

He also expressed concern about the 1% federal government revenue meant for the funding and suggested that the parliament seek amendments that will allow the funding to be drawn from a federation account where all states can contribute.

The aim of the summit

The Speaker, Dr Tajudeen Abbas, stated that the summit was aimed at addressing the issues emanating from the Student Loan Act 2023 to promote more equitable access to quality higher education for children.

The Speaker, who was represented by the Deputy Speaker, Benjamin Kalu, further said ‘the purpose of the scheme was to create seamless access to credit facilities for quality higher education.

He observed that concerns raised about the conditions for accessing the loan as contained in the Act must be reviewed.

Reporting by Ibrahim Shehu, Editing by Omolola Ameen and Annabel Nwachukwu