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Nigerian students abroad Are not part of loan scheme – FG

Nigerian students abroad Are not part of loan scheme – FG

The Nigerian Education Loan Fund (NELFUND) has announced that Nigerian students studying overseas are not eligible for the newly established student loan scheme. This confirmation came from Akintunde Sawyerr, NELFUND’s Managing Director, on Friday.

The Access to Higher Education Act, 2023, signed into law by President Bola Tinubu on June 12, is designed to offer interest-free loans to economically disadvantaged students attending Nigerian higher education institutions. This initiative is part of Tinubu’s campaign commitment to improve funding for education. Dele Alake, a former member of the Presidential Strategy Team, emphasized the importance of this legislation in making education more accessible.

Following a briefing from NELFUND, led by Minister of State for Education, Dr. Yusuf Sununu, on January 22, the President directed the Fund to extend interest-free loans to students enrolled in skill-development programs. Despite initial delays, the scheme has garnered significant interest, with 30,000 students successfully registering and over 60,000 individuals signing up on the NELFUND website.

However, in May, 2024, Report Afrique reported that a group of Nigerian students at Teesside University were expelled from their courses and ordered to leave the United Kingdom because they were unable to pay their complete tuition fees on time. The students attributed their financial difficulties to the devaluation of the naira, which affected their ability to meet visa sponsorship requirements.

Sawyerr clarified that the loan scheme is intended solely for students studying within Nigeria, stating, “Nigerians in the diaspora are not eligible for this student loan. Our focus is on aiding those who are pursuing education within the country. The law does not permit the federal government to provide loans to Nigerians studying abroad.”

Adaramoye Lenin, National Mobilisation Officer for the Education Rights Campaign, criticized the exclusion of Nigerian students in foreign institutions, arguing that this limitation underscores the scheme’s inadequacy in addressing the educational needs of all Nigerian students. He contended that the government is using the loan scheme as a means to evade properly funding public education, thereby shifting the financial burden onto students.

This Article is Fact-Checked. See Policy.

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